The Syndemic Effects of Intimate Partner Violence, HIV/AIDS, and Substance Abuse on Depression among Low-Income Urban Women.
ABSTRACT Intimate partner violence (IPV), HIV/AIDS, and substance use are epidemics among low-income urban women that have been described together as the "SAVA syndemic" because of their co-occurring nature. This study examines the synergistic or "syndemic" effect of these three health issues on depression among urban women and evaluates social support as a protective factor that might reduce depressive symptoms associated with the Substance Abuse, Violence, and AIDS (SAVA) syndemic. Data from 445 urban women were collected through in-person interviews. All women were over the age of 18, not pregnant, English speaking, and reported having a main partner in the past year. Twenty-five percent had experienced all three factors of the SAVA syndemic (were HIV-positive, had experienced IPV in the past year, and had used cocaine or heroin in their lifetime). HIV-positive status, hard drug use, IPV, and low levels of social support were all individually associated with greater depressive symptoms. When controlling for demographics and other SAVA factors, IPV and hard drug use in the past 30 days remained associated with depressive symptoms, as did low social support. However, social support did not modify the effect of the SAVA factors on depression. Compared to women who experienced no SAVA factors, women who had experienced all three factors were 6.77 times more likely to have depressive symptoms. These findings confirm that IPV is significantly associated with depressive symptoms and that the syndemic impact of IPV, substance use, and HIV could have even more extreme effects on depression outcomes.
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ABSTRACT: Background Intimate partner violence (IPV), HIV/AIDS, and substance use are described as the SAVA “syndemic” among low-income urban women because of their intersecting and synergistic presence in these women's lives. Depressive symptoms are significantly associated with these SAVA factors and although social support is potentially protective for depression, little is understood about its impact on depression associated with the SAVA syndemic. Methods This paper investigates how women living with SAVA experience and describe depressive symptoms, and examines how the types of social support they access impact their experiences of SAVA and depressive symptoms. Qualitative, in-depth interviews were conducted with 24 HIV-positive, low-income, urban women who experienced IPV and used cocaine or heroin in their lifetime. Interviews were analyzed based on study aims, principles of thematic content analysis, and grounded theory. Results Women identified multiple SAVA factors as catalysts for depression and noted their synergistic effect on depressive symptoms, which were both a trigger for and a result of drug use. Women accessed varying sources of social support to address their SAVA factors and associated symptoms of depression, relying on informal sources for instrumental support related to IPV and formal sources for support related to HIV, drug use, and depression. Conclusions These findings have important implications for health providers who serve SAVA-affected women, and suggest that comprehensively addressing all SAVA factors (and IPV in particular) and improving their access to quality social support at critical times is essential to improve their mental health.Women s Health Issues 10/2014; 24(5):551–557. · 1.61 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract The combined epidemics of substance abuse, violence, and HIV/AIDS, known as the SAVA syndemic, contribute to the disproportionate burden of disease among people of color in the U.S. To examine the association between HIV viral load suppression and SAVA syndemic variables, we used baseline data from 563 HIV+ women of color treated at nine HIV medical and ancillary care sites participating in HRSA's Special Project of National Significance Women of Color (WOC) Initiative. Just under half the women (n=260) were virally suppressed. Five psychosocial factors contributing to the SAVA syndemic were examined in this study: substance abuse, binge drinking, intimate partner violence, poor mental health, and sexual risk taking. Associations among the psychosocial factors were assessed and clustering confirmed. A SAVA score was created by summing the dichotomous (present/absent) psychosocial measures. Using generalized estimating equation (GEE) models to account for site-level clustering and individual-covariates, a higher SAVA score (0 to 5) was associated with reduced viral suppression; OR (adjusted)=0.81, 95% CI: 0.66, 0.99. The syndemic approach represents a viable framework for understanding viral suppression among HIV positive WOC, and suggests the need for comprehensive interventions that address the social/environmental contexts of patients' lives.AIDS PATIENT CARE and STDs 11/2014; 29(S1). · 3.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The concept of psychological distress includes a range of emotional states with symptoms of depression and anxiety and has yet to be reported in HIV-positive women living in Ontario, Canada, who are known to live with contributing factors. This study aimed to determine the prevalence, severity, and correlates of psychological distress among women accessing HIV care participating in the Ontario HIV Treatment Network Cohort Study using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). The K10 is a 10-item, five-level response scale. K10 values range from 10 to 50 with values less than or equal to 19 categorized as not clinically significant, scores between 20 and 24 as moderate levels, 25-29 as high, and 30-50 as very high psychological distress. Correlates of psychological distress were assessed using the Pearson's chi-square test and univariate and multivariate logistic regression analysis. Moderate, high, and very high levels of psychological distress were experienced by 16.9, 10.4, and 15.1% of the 337 women in our cohort, respectively, with 57.6% reporting none. Psychological distress levels greater than 19, correlated with being unemployed (vs. employed/student/retired; AOR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.13-0.83), living in a household without their child/children (AOR = 2.45, 95% CI: 1.33-4.52), CD4 counts < 200 cells/mm(3) (AOR = 2.07, 95% CI: 0.89-4.80), and to a lesser degree an education of some college or less (vs. completed college or higher; AOR=1.71, 95% CI: 0.99-2.95). Age and ethnicity, a priori variables of interest, did not correlate with psychological distress. Findings suggest that socioeconomic factors which shape the demography of women living with HIV in Ontario, low CD4 counts, and losing the opportunity to care for their child/children has a significant relationship with psychological distress. Approaches to manage psychological distress should address and make considerations for the lived experiences of women since they can act as potential barriers to improving psychological well-being.AIDS Care 11/2013; · 1.60 Impact Factor