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Biologically confirmed sexually transmitted infection and depressive symptomatology among African-American female adolescents
  1. L F Salazar1,3,
  2. R J DiClemente1,2,3,
  3. G M Wingood1,3,
  4. R A Crosby4,
  5. D L Lang1,3,
  6. K Harrington5
  1. 1Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, GA, USA
  2. 2Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology and Immunology, GA, USA
  3. 3Emory/Atlanta Center for AIDS Research, GA, USA
  4. 4College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, KY, USA
  5. 5School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alabama, Birmingham, AL, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Laura F Salazar
 PhD, Rollins School of Public Health, 1520 Clifton Road, NE, Suite 214, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA; lfsalaz{at}


Objective: To determine prospectively the relation between sexually transmitted infection (STI) diagnosis and depressive symptomatology.

Methods: Secondary data analyses were performed on 175 sexually active African-American female adolescents, who were recruited from high risk neighbourhoods in Birmingham, Alabama, United States.

Results: ANCOVA was used to compare adolescents who tested positive with adolescents who tested negative on three waves of depressive symptom scores, controlling for age. The STI positive group had higher depressive symptom levels at 6 months relative to the STI negative group. This result was moderated by baseline depressive symptom levels: for adolescents above the clinical threshold, the STI negative group experienced a decrease in symptoms at 6 months whereas the STI positive group maintained the same level. For adolescents below the clinical threshold, there were no changes in depressive symptom levels regardless of diagnosis.

Conclusions: Receiving an STI diagnosis may affect depressive symptomatology for those at risk for depression. Screening for depression in settings that provide STI testing and treatment may be warranted for this population.

  • ANCOVA, analysis of covariance
  • CES-D, Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale
  • STI, sexually transmitted infection
  • TANF, temporary assistance for needy families
  • African-Americans
  • adolescents
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • depression

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  • This study was supported by a grant from the Center for Mental Health Research on AIDS, National Institute of Mental Health to the second author (1R01 MH54412).