Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Shanta Dube, PhD, MPH

Second Advisor

David Maggio, MPH


Introduction: Currently there are approximately 1.2 million people in the United States living with HIV and it is estimated that 25.6% of HIV-positive adults suffer from depression. The purpose of this study is to examine the contribution of depression on substance use and medication adherence specifically among HIV-positive adult Georgians receiving medical care for HIV.

Methods: Secondary data with a probability sample of 608 HIV-positive adults who took part in the 2009-2012 Georgia Medical Monitoring Project (MMP) were analyzed. Descriptive analysis and multivariate logistic regression models were conducted to assess relationships between depression with current cigarette smoking, injection drug use, other non-injection drug use, and medication adherence, adjusting for sociodemographic covariates (age, gender, race, and education). All analyses accounted for non-response and complex sampling design and were performed using SAS 9.2 (Cary, NC).

Results: Among HIV-positive adults in Georgia, approximately 9.2% met the criteria for major depression; 15.2% of women and 6.9% of men had major depression. Heterosexual adults also had a higher percentage of major depression (11.9%) compared to adults who identified as bisexual (8.3%) or homosexual (6.1%). Major depression was also highest among young adults (17.1%) and adults with high school diploma or GED (13.0%). Major depression was associated with a greater odds of current cigarette smoking (3.04; 95% CI: 1.48, 6.23); injection drug use (5.62; 95% CI: 0.96, 32.81), and other non-injection drug use (2.17; 95% CI: 1.10, 4.25), after adjusting for sociodemographic variables. Major depression was also associated with a greater odds of ART medication non-adherence, 2.52 (95% CI: 1.20, 5.28), after adjusting for gender.

Conclusion: As previously found in the general population, we found significant associations between depression and smoking and other non-injection drug use among HIV-positive adults. Major depression was also associated with a greater odds of ART medication non-adherence, which is also consistent with the literature. Because HIV-positive adults have ongoing encounters with healthcare providers, screening and treatment for depression and other co-morbid substance use is needed to reduce an additional health burden in this population.