To determine the prevalence of depressed mood among people who have traded sex for money in the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR), the adjusted risk factors for depressed mood among this sample, and if depressed mood was associated with decreased self-efficacy for safe sexual practices and injection drug use.
Two-hundred ninety-nine people who have traded sex for money were surveyed with validated instruments for measuring risk behaviours, depressed mood, and self-efficacy for safe sexual practices.
The sample consisted primarily of low-income, poorly educated Aboriginal women, many of whom also indicated using injection drugs. Using the 16-point score cut-off for the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, 84.6% of participants had depressed mood. When the cut-off score was 23 points or higher, 65.9% had depressed mood. After multivariate analysis, covariates that had an independent association with depressed mood included injecting a drug in the past 4 weeks (OR 1.59; 95% CI 1.2 to 1.8), suffering the death or permanent separation from a parent before the age of 18 (OR 2.09; 95% CI 1.05 to 4.15), and physical assault or abuse by a partner in adult life (OR 2.79; 95% CI 1.38 to 5.64). Depressed mood was associated with lower self-efficacy scores for safe sexual behaviours.
Our study suggests that high rates of depressed mood among people who have traded sex for money is associated with injection drug use and low self-efficacy for safe sexual health practices. These findings are important and may help explain the high rates of human immunodeficiency virus within the SHR.