Correlates of anxiety and depression among HIV test-seekers at a Voluntary Counseling and Testing facility in Pune, India

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We assessed the extent of anxiety/depression/distress using Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) among a cross-section of HIV test-seekers at a Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) facility in Pune, India.


HADS has 14 items for uniscale with 7 items each for anxiety and depression rated on a four-point Likert scale. Between September 2002 and March 2003, HADS was administered to 150 consecutive HIV tests-seekers attending NARI-Talera VCT facility. Subsequently, HIV testing was done after obtaining informed consent.


HADS showed strong internal consistency (Cronbach-α 0.77). The prevalence of risk behavior (73.3%) and HIV (45.5%) were high. Education levels influenced anxiety (p = 0.033; 0.008), more so in women (p = 0.044). Repeat test-seekers exhibited significant depression (AOR: 2.9; 95% CI: 1.4–6.1; p = 0.004) and distress (AOR: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.2–5.3; p = 0.017). Marital status influenced the uniscale scores. The HIV positive repeat test-seekers were more anxious (p = 0.035) and depressed (0.037).


Existence of emotional distress among HIV test-seekers, particularly among repeat test-seekers, possibly ‘AIDS-anxious’ individuals indicates additional counseling needs specifically by introducing gender and education sensitive interventions. VCT staff can be trained to assess emotional distress among HIV test-seekers to formulate long-term intervention.

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