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Glob Public Health. 2017 Feb;12(2):250-265. Epub 2015 Oct 12.

Syndemics of depression, alcohol use, and victimisation, and their association with HIV-related sexual risk among men who have sex with men and transgender women in India.

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a Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy (C-SHaRP) , Chennai , India.
b The Humsafar Trust , Mumbai , India.
c Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work , University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada.
d Department of Social Work , Madras Christian College , Chennai , India.


We examined the presence and co-occurrence of psychosocial health conditions (depression, frequent alcohol use, and victimisation) among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) women in India, and their cumulative association with sexual risk. A survey questionnaire was administered among a convenience sample of 600 participants (MSM = 300; TG women = 300) recruited through six non-governmental organisations in four states. Prevalences of the number of psychosocial health conditions among MSM were: none = 31.3%, one = 43%, two = 20%, and three = 5.7%; and among TG women: none = 9%; one = 35.33%, two = 38.33%, and three = 17.33%. In bivariate and multivariate models, these conditions were positively and additively related to sexual risk, providing evidence for a syndemic of psychosocial health conditions among MSM and TG women and their synergistic effect on sexual risk. In addition to the number of syndemic conditions, resilient coping and social support were significant predictors of sexual risk among MSM and TG women, respectively. HIV preventive interventions in India should screen for and address co-occurring psychosocial health conditions - experiences of violence, mental health issues, and alcohol use - among MSM and TG women.


HIV/AIDS; India; Syndemics; men who have sex with men; transgender women

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