Online Program

Leveraging Social Networks to Reduce Depression and Improve Treatment Adherence Among HIV-positive Men Who Have Sex With Men

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Ian Holloway, MSW, MPH, PhD, Department of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Diane Tan, MSPH, Department of Health Policy and Management, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Shannon Dunlap, MSW, Department of Social Welfare, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Julie A. Cederbaum, PhD, MSW, MPH, School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Eric Rice, PhD, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Background: Depression among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) is a major barrier to HIV treatment adherence. Understanding the structure and composition of the social networks of HIV-positive MSM may be useful in the development of social network interventions to reduce depression and increase treatment adherence for this population.

Methods: HIV-positive MSM (N=136) were recruited from social service agencies throughout Los Angeles County and invited to participate in a cross-sectional social network interview. Depression was assessed using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (α=0.83). Multivariate associations between treatment adherence (using the 14-item ACTG adherence scale, α=0.89), depression, and social network characteristics were analyzed using generalized linear modeling with Gaussian distribution in SAS 9.4 adjusting for age and race/ethnicity.

Results: Participants had a mean age of 46.2 (SD=9.9) and were predominately Latino (50.7%) or African American (29.4%). Nearly two-thirds experienced significant depressive symptoms (61.5%). Participant’s social networks were comprised of friends (46.9%), family members (21.3%), social service providers (10.7%), medical professionals (5.8%) and primary romantic partners (3.4%). Greater depressive symptoms (b=0.05, p<0.05) and African American race (b=0.82, p<0.05) were associated with lower treatment adherence. Less than one fifth of network alters reminded participants to take their HIV medications (18.7%).

Conclusions: Despite the diversity of HIV-positive MSM’s social networks, few network members provide treatment adherence assistance. Leveraging supportive network members may improve health outcomes. Future research on the feasibility and acceptability of network interventions with this population are needed.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe individual- and social network-level characteristics of HIV-positive MSM. Identify individual- and social network-level correlates of treatment adherence among HIV-positive MSM. Discuss how social networks of HIV-positive MSM may be leveraged for improving health outcomes.

Keyword(s): HIV/AIDS, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have years of experiences conducting research in the realm of HIV. I have been the principal or co-investigator on federally funded grants focusing on HIV and substance abuse prevention and treatment. Among my scientific interests have been the development of interventions to promote health and well-being among men who have sex with men (MSM).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3045.0: HIV/AIDS and Mental Health