Open Access Research article

Psychological predictors for attendance of post-HIV test counselling and linkage to care: the Umeed cohort study in Goa, India

Rosie Mayston1*, Vikram Patel23, Melanie Abas1, Priya Korgaonkar3, Ramesh Paranjape4, Savio Rodrigues5 and Martin Prince1

Author Affiliations

1 Health Service & Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, London SE5 8AF, UK

2 Department of Nutrition and Public Health Intervention Research, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT, UK

3 Sangath, North Goa: 841/1, Near Electricity Department, Alto Porvorim, Bardez-Goa, India

4 National AIDS Research Institute, 73, 'G'-Block, MIDC, Bhosari Pune 411 026, India

5 Department of Microbiology, Goa Medical College and Hospital, Bambolim, Tiswadi Goa, India

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BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:188  doi:10.1186/1471-244X-14-188

Published: 30 June 2014



Successful linkage to care is increasingly recognised as a potentially important factor in determining the success of Antiretroviral Therapy treatment programmes. However, the role of psychological factors during the early part of the continuum of care has so far been under-investigated. The objective of the Umeed study was to evaluate the impact of Common Mental Disorder (CMD), hazardous alcohol use and low cognitive functioning upon attendance for post-test counselling and linkage to care among people attending for HIV-testing in Goa, India.


The study was a prospective cohort design. Participants were recruited at the time of attending for testing and were asked to complete a baseline interview covering sociodemographic characteristics and mental health exposures. HIV status, post-test counselling (PTC) and Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) Centre data were extracted from clinical records.


Among 1934 participants, CMD predicted non-attendance for PTC (adjusted OR = 0.51, 0.21-0.82). There was tentative evidence of an association between hazardous alcohol use and non-attendance for PTC (adjusted OR = 0.69, 0.45-1.02). There was no evidence of an association between CMD caseness and attendance for ART. However, post-hoc analyses showed an association between increasing symptoms of CMD and non-attendance.


Although participation rates were high (86%), non-participation was a possible source of bias. Cognitive tests had not been previously validated in a young population in Goa. The context in which cognitive testing took place may have contributed to the high prevalence of low scores. Findings suggest the need to move towards a broader conceptualisation of the interrelationship between mental health and HIV. It may be important to consider the impact of symptoms of depression and anxiety at every stage of the continuum of care, including immediately after diagnosis and when initiating contact with treatment services.

Linkage to care; Depression; Anxiety; HIV testing; Cognitive impairment; India