Association between community collectivization and mental depression among men who have sex with men in Andhra Pradesh, India

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Article (peer-reviewed)

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Background: The role of community collectivization with mental health among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) is understudied in developing countries. This study examines the prevalence of mental depression, and its association with community collectivization among MSM in India. Data and methods: The data used for this study are from a cross-sectional, Behavioral Tracking Survey conducted between January and February, 2012 among 1176 MSM from Andhra Pradesh, a southern state of India. Mental depression among MSM was assessed using Patient Health Questionnaire-2 scale. Univariate, bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were used for analysis in this study. Results: The average age of MSM was 28.2 years (SD: ± 6.2 years) and more than one-third of MSM (35%) in the survey reported to have any mental depression in Andhra Pradesh. MSM, who had a high level of collective identity (not ashamed to be MSM) (33% vs. 41%, AOR: 0.54, 95% CI: 0.34-0.85) and collective agency (member of the community group) (34% vs. 38%, AOR: 0.46, 95% CI: 0.26-0.81) were less likely to be depressed as compared to their counterparts. Those who were members of the community group and had not experienced any violence, were less likely to have any depression (31% vs. 37%, AOR: 0.44, p=0.012). Conclusion: This study highlights that community led structural interventions are more successful and effective in HIV prevention along with enhancing positive mental health among the key population. This study demands for more community engagement activities in order to deal with mental health problems. This study recommends for further research and to explore the new community led structural approaches with innovative ideas for integrated mental health counselling services among MSM.