Age, gender and suicidal ideation following voluntary HIV counseling and testing

Lourens Schlebusch, Romona Devi Govender

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation in patients who were tested for HIV-infection and whether along with their HIV status, age and gender influenced their risk for suicidal ideation. The sample consisted of 189 patients who attended a voluntary HIV counseling and testing clinic (VCT) at a general state hospital in Durban, South Africa. Their mean age at baseline was 34.2 years, with an age range of between 16-79 years. Seropositivity, age and gender were significantly associated with suicidal ideation. The majority of these patients were in the younger age group, and young males had a 1.8 times higher risk for suicidal ideation than females. Although risk factors for seropositive-related suicidal ideation can be complex and multi-factorial, this study identified a young age and male gender as important high risk factors in the sample studied. It is recommended that all, but especially young male HIV-infected patients seen at a VCT clinic be screened for suicidal ideation and that early intervention to prevent subsequent suicides or suicidal attempts be included in pre- and post-test HIV counseling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-530
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Age
  • Gender
  • HIV-test results
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Voluntary counseling and testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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