• Depression Causes Risky Sexual Behavior In Black Youth


    A new study from the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and Brown Medical School reveals that African American teens with symptoms of depression are more than four times likely to engage in risky sexual behavior (i.e. not wear condoms).

    This is one of the first studies that looks at African American teens of both genders and from more than one geographic location. It concludes that depressive symptoms (feeling lonely, feeling blue, feelings of worthlessness etc.) can indicate future sexual risk.

    The findings appear in the current online edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

    “This means that clinicians should assess symptoms of depression in African American patients as an indicator of future sexual risk, and HIV intervention programs should be designed as to address depression, especially in this population,” says lead author, Larry K. Brown, MD, a child psychiatrist with the Bradley Hasbro Children’s Research Center and Brown Medical School.

    Four hundred and fifteen African American adolescents and young adults (15-21 years of age) from Atlanta and Providence, who had had unprotected sex within the past ninety days, participated in this study.

    They were asked about the number times they’d had unsafe sex in the past ninety days, and about their particular attitudes concerning condom use (e.g. are they pleasurable/unpleasurable). Participants were also asked to answer questions on their psychological distress. They rated, on a scale of zero to four, whether or not they were lonely, feeling blue, feeling no interest in things, feeling hopeless about the future and feeling worthless.

    The odds that African American adolescents who reported depressive symptoms at baseline would report inconsistent condom use at six-month follow-up was approximately four times greater than that of their peers who did not report depressive symptoms, the study reports.

    Additionally, out of the four hundred and fifteen adolescents, sixty-seven percent were inconsistent condom users (used condoms less than seventy-five percent of the time). Those reporting lower annual household incomes reported a lower proportion of condom use at follow-up, and lower income was related to living in the study site in the Northern United States (Rhode Island).

    “Unsurprisingly, in terms of psychosocial context, those adolescents living with a partner and reporting less pleasurable expectations about condoms reported a lower proportion of condom use at the six-month follow-up,” says Brown.

    The authors conclude that psychosocial context is therefore relevant to all adolescents’ sexual risk and should be incorporated into adolescent HIV risk assessments and prevention interventions. Assessing depressive symptoms and intervening early can help prevent more severe emotional disorders from developing, but also help prevent the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among adolescents.

    Over 3 million new cases of STIs occur among teenagers each year in the United States, with people under the age of 25 accounting for half of all new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. African Americans are at particular risk. In 2003 African Americans represented approximately twelve percent of the U.S. population, but, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), made up fifty percent of HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed. Such prevalence reflects the high rates of HIV risk behaviors among African American teenagers.

    In addition, the authors note that recent survey data suggest that African American high school students are more likely than their Hispanic or Caucasian counterparts to have had sexual intercourse (67% vs. 51% vs. 42%, respectively) and more likely to have had four or more lifetime sex partners (29% vs. 16% vs. 11%, respectively).

    “We also found that older adolescents and females were less likely to use condoms consistently and certain contextual factors, such as less pleasurable expectations about condom use, and living with a partner also heightened the risk of HIV,” says Brown.

    As a result, the authors say that clinicians should assess for depression symptoms in African American adolescent patients as an indicator of future sexual risk.

    “Prevention interventions that address depressed mood could have a significant impact on later HIV/STI sexual risk behaviors. Further research is needed to understand the effect of depressive symptoms on sexual risk among adolescents of other race/ethnicities and to examine the potential cultural forces that affect this relationship,” they note.

    Inquiring about particular partner’s attitudes and the adolescents’ perception of the fit and feel of condoms can help clinicians accurately assess for adolescent HIV risk without adding much burden to clinical screening interviews.

    —————————-
    Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
    —————————-

    This study is part of a large multi-site HIV study that involves participants from Florida, Georgia and Rhode Island (although these particular results were from Rhode Island and Georgia only).

    Trojan Condoms Releases Sexual Health Report Card Ranking Colleges Based On Sexual Health Access
    October 20, 2014 – Condom-maker Trojan ranks 140 major college campuses every year to see which schools are arming students with the information they need to have safe sex. This year, Oregon State University came out on top, usurping Princeton University, last year’s top school for sexual health.
    Black Women Could Lose Access To Contraception Based On Supreme Court Decision
    June 30, 2014 – On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court undermined the intent of the Affordable Care Act with its decision that closely held corporations can use personal religious beliefs as a basis to exclude coverage for contraception in employer-based health insurance.
    U.S. Teens Smoking, Drinking Less But Text While Driving More, Study Shows
    June 13, 2014 – American teens are smoking less, drinking less and fighting less. But they’re texting behind the wheel and spending a lot of time on video games and computers, according to the government’s latest study of worrisome behavior.
    Nearly 70 Percent Of New Yorkers Don’t Use Condoms
    June 5, 2014 – A whopping 68.2 percent of residents polled said they did not wear a condom the last time they had sex, according to some numbers just released by the Department of Health’s Community Health Survey.
    5 Biggest Health Dangers College Freshmen Will Face
    June 4, 2014 – It’s a stark reality about the first year of college: while freshmen account for a quarter of college students, they make up a third of all campus deaths.
    Depression: New Causes, New Treatments
    People who experience depression are usually more focused on treating the condition than finding its cause. But new research is beginning to shed light on both the triggers for depression and how to alleviate it.
    Home Therapy May Help Depressed African American Adults
    Bringing treatment and other help to depressed, middle-aged and older African Americans in their homes was modestly effective in a new study.
    HIV And AIDS Among African American Youth
    African American youth continue to be one of the groups most severely affected by HIV infection in the United States. In fact, black youth represent half of all new HIV infections among young people aged 13 to 29.
    Free Birth Control Leads To Fewer Abortions, Teen Pregnancies, Study Says
    Free birth control leads to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a new study concludes. For teen pregnancy, there were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers, comparing to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010.
    ‘Sexting’ Linked To Risky Sex Among Teens
    One out of every seven Los Angeles high schoolers with a cell phone has sent a sexually explicit text message or photo, according to results of a 2011 survey that also found “sexters” more likely to engage in risky sex behaviors.
    Jesse Jackson Jr. Suffering From ‘Deep, Deep Depression’
    Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is suffering from “serious depression — deep, deep depression,” his longtime friend and former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy told CNN Friday, a day after meeting with Jackson at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
    Jesse Jackson Jr. ‘Debilitated By Depression,’ Wife Says
    Jesse Jackson Jr. is “completely debilitated by depression,” his wife said in an interview published Saturday that shed light on the congressman’s secretive leave of absence.
    Minorities, Medicare Recipients Less Likely To Get Antidepressants
    Hispanics and blacks are less likely to be prescribed antidepressants than whites, and Medicare and Medicaid patients are less likely to receive the drugs than those with private insurance, a new study says.
    Racial Disparities Seem To Persist In Depression Diagnosis
    Researchers found that elderly blacks are less likely to be diagnosed — and therefore treated — than whites or Hispanics.
    African Americans And Depression
    Depression hits every individual or group differently — the symptoms, length of the disease, and types of effective treatment depend on case-by-case circumstances. African-Americans are less likely to deal with a crushing case of major depression than other ethnic groups. However, they are more likely to experience a milder, longer-lasting form of depression called dysthymia.
    Depression – NOT “Just The Blues”
    Life is full of joy and pain, happiness and sorrow. It is normal to feel sad when a loved one dies, or when you are sick, going through a divorce, or having financial problems. But for some people the sadness does not go away, or keeps coming back.
    How To Overcome Depression And Anxiety Naturally
    Anxiety and depression affect how we see the world around us. And although an occasional downer is only human, a consistent down-in-the-dumps view robs you of your ability to enjoy life. Depression is a major cause of failed relationships, finances and health. So instead of steadily singing-the-blues, it’s time to learn how to overcome depression….
    Shocking Surge Of Promiscuity In Pre-Teen Children In Jamaica
    The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) says it is concerned about an increase in cases of underage sex between young children, with over 30 cases reported in a single week.
    U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rates At An All-Time Low Across All Ethnicities
    The rate of teenagers becoming mothers is declining rapidly, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).