Association between self-reported sexually transmitted infection treatment and mental health symptoms in conflict-affected eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Abstract

Although poor mental health has been associated with sexual risk behavior, few studies have examined the association between mental health and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in conflict-affected settings. With elevated symptoms of poor mental health in conflict-affected settings, it is important to consider if and how mental health may be a risk factor for STIs in these settings. We used cross-sectional logistic regression to examine the association between symptoms of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with having been treated for an STI in rural South Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Among 753 adults, those with elevated self-reported symptoms of depression and anxiety (adjusted OR = 2.73, 95% CI 1.68, 4.44) and PTSD (adjusted OR = 1.89, 95% CI 1.17, 3.06) had higher odds of reporting ever being treated for an STI than those who were not symptomatic. Our findings suggest that future studies are needed to more rigorously examine the relationship between mental health and STIs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-220
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of STD and AIDS
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

Keywords

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Mental health
  • conflict-affected setting
  • sexually transmitted infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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