Depression and Sexual Trauma Among Adolescent Girls and Young Women in HIV-Prevention Research in Tanzania.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Clinical trials are necessary to test HIV-prevention strategies among adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa. Psychosocial risk factors that increase girls' and young women's vulnerability for HIV may also impact their experiences in clinical trials. A better understanding of psychosocial risks among girls and young women enrolled in HIV-prevention research is needed. This analysis explores depression and sexual trauma among adolescent girls and young women enrolled in a mock microbicide trial in Tanzania.


We collected cross-sectional data from 135 HIV-negative adolescent girls and young women between 15 and 21 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania enrolled in a mock microbicide trial. Depression, sexual behavior, and sexual trauma were measured. Sexual trauma and demographic variables were entered into a multivariate binomial logistic regression model predicting depression.


Overall, 27% of participants had moderate-to-severe depression. The most commonly endorsed items were anhedonia (lack of interest/pleasure) and low mood, which were reported by 78% of participants. Thoughts of suicide or self-harm were endorsed by 17% of participants. Coerced/forced first sex was reported by 42% of participants. Participants reporting coerced/forced first sex had 3.16 times the likelihood of moderate-to-severe depression.


Depression and coerced/forced sex were common among participants in an HIV-prevention mock clinical trial in Tanzania. When enrolling adolescent girls and young women in HIV-prevention trials in sub-Saharan Africa, our research suggests the need for a trauma-informed approach, referrals for trauma and depression, and interventions that address the impact of depression and trauma on HIV prevention, clinical trial adherence, and clinical outcomes.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Cherenack, EM; Tolley, EE; Kaaya, S; Headley, J; Baumgartner, JN

Published Date

  • May 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 620 - 629

PubMed ID

  • 31993932

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7772936

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-6628

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1092-7875

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10995-020-02888-5


  • eng