Depressed Individuals are More Likely to Engage in Risky Sexual Behavior

By Staff Writer

Individuals who struggle with major depressive disorder may be much more likely to engage in risky sexual activity, according to a new study from Canadian researchers. The findings underscore the importance of seeking help from rehab facilities for the condition.

For the study, researchers examined young people in South Africa, as many individuals in this country struggle with depression. Additionally, the AIDS epidemic has hit the area particularly hard, making the consequences of risky sexual behavior that much harsher.

The investigation team followed 1,002 females and 976 males for over a year. They found that females who showed signs of depression were more likely to be in a controlling relationship, have a significantly older sexual partner and have experienced sexual violence. Depressed males were more likely to have multiple sexual partners, pay for sex and commit rape.

The researchers said that improving access to mental health services, such as rehab facilities, could help reduce risky sexual behavior among these individuals. This could help limit both the number of people struggling with depression and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.