Depression associated with risky sexual behavior among truck drivers in Kenya

July 22, 2019

Truck drivers in sub-Saharan Africa are particularly at risk for both mental health disorders, including depression, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, due to the stressful, transient lifestyle associated with their occupation.

In a study published Thursday in the journal PeerJ, CUNY SPH doctoral student Matthew Romo and Associate Professor Elizabeth Kelvin assessed the prevalence of depression and explored its association with sexual risk behavior in a sample of long-distance truck drivers seeking services at two roadside wellness clinics in Kenya.

The researchers used data from an interviewer-administered questionnaire from 284 truck drivers who participated in a randomized controlled trial evaluating whether offering oral HIV self-testing could increase HIV test uptake.

Overall, 24 percent of participants had probable major depressive disorder (MDD) and 58.2 percent reported having one condomless sex partner in the past six months, whereas 27.3 percent reported having had two or more. In a multivariable Poisson regression model adjusted for demographic and other relevant variables, including number of sex partners, MDD was significantly associated with a greater number of condomless sex partners. General self-efficacy, which can be defined as “one’s belief in their ability to influence events that affect their life,” significantly mediated the association between MDD and number of condomless sex partners.

“The high prevalence of depression highlights the need to test mental healthcare interventions for this population, possibly integrated with HIV prevention services,” says Kelvin.

For more information, contact:
Elizabeth Kelvin
Elizabeth.Kelvin@sph.cuny.edu

About the Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health
The CUNY Institute for Implementation Science in Population Health (ISPH) was founded on the notion that substantial improvements in population health can be efficiently achieved through better implementation of existing strategies, policies, and interventions across multiple sectors. We study how to translate and scale-up evidence-based interventions and policies within clinical and community settings in order to improve population health and reduce health disparities. CUNY ISPH. Pursing population health gains through better implementation. www.cunyisph.org. Follow us on Twitter: @CUNYISPH.

About the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy
The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) is committed to teaching, research and service that creates a healthier New York City and helps promote equitable, efficient and evidence-based solutions to pressing health problems facing cities around the world. For more information, visit sph.cuny.edu.

Citation: “Depression and sexual risk behavior among long-distance truck drivers at roadside wellness clinics in Kenya,” Matthew L. Romo, Gavin George, Joanne E. Mantell, Eva Mwai, Eston Nyaga, Michael Strauss, Jacob O. Odhiambo, Kaymarlin Govender, Elizabeth A. Kelvin, July 18, 2019, PeerJ 7:e7253 DOI 10.7717/peerj.7253