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HIV-positive individuals are at significantly increased risk of depression. In low- and middle-income countries, depression is frequently under-detected, hampered by a lack of data regarding available screening tools. The 5-item World Health Organization Well-Being Index (WHO-5) is widely used to screen for depression, yet its validity in African adults with HIV has yet to be examined.
In this cross-sectional study, we enrolled HIV-positive adults presenting to an outpatient HIV clinic in Mwanza, Tanzania. Patients were administered the Patient Health Questionnaires (PHQ)-2/9 and WHO-5 questionnaires. The rate of positive screens was calculated. Fisher's exact test and Pearson's correlation coefficients between PHQ-2/9 and WHO-5 scores were calculated.
We enrolled 72 HIV-positive adults: rates of positive depression screen were 62.5%, 77.8%, and 47.2% according to PHQ-2, PHQ-9, and WHO-5, respectively. PHQ and WHO results for depression were significantly associated (Fisher's exact test: PHQ-2 v. WHO-5, p = 0.028; PHQ-9 v. WHO-5, p = 0.002). The level of correlation between PHQ and WHO results for depression was moderate (Pearson's correlation coefficient: PHQ-2 v. WHO-5 −0.3289; PHQ-9 v. WHO-5 −0.4463).Per Mantel–Haenszel analysis, screening results were significantly more concordant among patients in the following strata: men, age >40, Sukuma ethnicity, Christian, unmarried, self-employed, at least primary school education completed, and higher than the median income level.
WHO-5 scores correlated well with those of the PHQ-9, suggesting that the WHO-5 represents a valid screening tool. The concordance of PHQ-9 and WHO-5 results was poorer in marginalized socioeconomic groups. Positive depression screens were exceedingly common among HIV-positive Tanzanian adults according to all three questionnaires.
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