Reasons for HIV Disclosure/Nondisclosure in Close Relationships: Testing a Model for HIV-Disclosure Decision Making

Published: June 23, 2014

Abstract

This research examined the relative importance of reasons for HIV disclosure/nondisclosure with a friend, intimate partner, and parents. Participants were 145 men and women with HIV. Overall, catharsis, a will to duty/educate, and having a close/supportive relationship were endorsed as reasons that influence HIV disclosure. Privacy, self–blame, fear of rejection, and protecting the other were endorsed as reasons that influence nondisclosure. Both men and women endorsed testing the other’s reaction as a reason for disclosing more for an intimate partner, whereas they endorsed privacy more as a reason for not disclosing to a friend. Men (mostly self-identified as homosexuals or bisexuals), but not women (mostly self-identified as heterosexuals), endorsed similarity as a reason for disclosing more to a friend or intimate partner than to a parent. The results are consistent with a Model of HIV-Disclosure Decision Making that indicates how cultural attitudes (about HIV, close relationships, and self-disclosure) and contextual factors (relational, individual, and temporal factors) influence reasons for and against HIV disclosure.

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