Differential gender effects of depression on use of HIV medications among HIV-positive Puerto Rican drug users

Sung Yeon Kang, Sherry Deren, Hector M. Colón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many barriers to the use of HIV medications have been identified. Research findings have also shown a gender disparity in HIV care behaviors. However, interaction effects of gender with the potential barriers to use of HIV medications among HIV-positive minority drug users remain under-studied. This study examined interaction effects of gender with potential moderating factors (i.e., individual and network characteristics) on the use of HIV medications. Analyses were based on 260 HIV-positive Puerto Rican heroin and cocaine users, recruited in New York (N-178) and Puerto Rico (N-82) in 1998-2003. HIV status was assessed using OraSure, and heroin or cocaine use was verified by urinalysis. All participants were tested and interviewed at baseline and six-month follow-up (183 males; 77 females). In predicting use of HIV medications at follow-up (HIVMEDF), use of HIV medications at baseline (HIVMED), individual characteristics (e.g., depression), network characteristics (e.g., having an intravenous drug user [IDU] sex partner), recruitment site, and interaction effects of these variables with gender, were examined in multiple logistic regression analysis. Use of HIV medications was low (29% at baseline; 40% at follow-up). HIVMED, recruitment site, gender, and depression had significant main effects on HIVMEDF. Depression also had a significant interaction effect with gender on HIVMEDF. Unlike men, women with depression were less likely than women without depression to use the medications. The findings indicate that gender-specific issues should be addressed by treatment programs for HIV-positive drug users, with particular efforts needed to enhance use of medications for depressed women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1467-1471
Number of pages5
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Depression
  • Gender
  • Puerto Rican drug users
  • Use of HIV medications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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