Social and demographic factors associated with postnatal depression symptoms among hiv-positive women in primary healthcare facilities, south africa

Kebogile Elizabeth Mokwena*, Nontokozo Lilian Mbatha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Mothers living with HIV are at risk for mental health problems, which may have a negative impact on the management of their HIV condition and care of their children. Although South Africa has a high prevalence of HIV, there is a dearth of studies on sociodemographic predictors of postnatal depression (PND) among HIV-positive women in South Africa, even in KwaZulu Natal, a province with the highest prevalence of HIV in the country. Objective: The objective of the study was to determine sociodemographic factors associated with the prevalence of postnatal depression symptoms among a sample of HIV-positive women attending health services from primary healthcare facilities in Umhlathuze District, KwaZulu Natal. Methods: A quantitative cross-sectional survey was used to collect data from 386 HIV-positive women who had infants aged between 1 and 12 weeks. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPNDS), to which sociodemographic questions were added, was used to collect data. Results: The prevalence of PND symptoms among this sample of 386 HIV-positive women was 42.5%. The age of the mothers ranged from 16 to 42 years, with a mean of 29 years. The majority of the mothers were single or never married (85.5%; n = 330), living in a rural setting (81.9%; n = 316%), with a household income of less than R 2000 (estimated 125 USD) per month (64.9%; n = 120). The government child support grant was the main source of income for most of the mothers (53%; n = 183). PND symptoms were significantly associated with the participant’s partner having other sexual partners (p-value < 0.001), adverse life events (p-value = 0.001), low monthly income (p-value = 0.015), and being financially dependent on others (p-value = 0.023). Conclusion: The prevalence of PND symptoms among the sample is high, with a number of social and demographic factors found to be significantly associated with PND. This requires the consideration of sociodemographic information in the overall management of both HIV and postnatal depression. Addressing the impact of these factors can positively influence the health outcomes of both the mother and the baby.

Original languageEnglish
Article number65
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Demographic factors
  • HIV-positive women
  • Postnatal depression
  • Social factors


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