Self-disclosure of HIV diagnosis to sexual partners by heterosexual and bisexual men: a challenge for HIV/AIDS care and prevention.

Published: September 1, 2011

Abstract

This study investigated the disclosure of HIV-positive serostatus to sexual partners by heterosexual and bisexual men, selected in centers for HIV/AIDS care. In 250 interviews, we investigated disclosure of serostatus to partners, correlating disclosure to characteristics of relationships. The focus group further explored barriers to maintenance/establishment of partnerships and their association with disclosure and condom use. Fear of rejection led to isolation and distress, thus hindering disclosure to current and new partners. Disclosure requires trust and was more frequent to steady partners, to partners who were HIV-positive themselves, to female partners, and by heterosexuals, occurring less frequently with commercial sex workers. Most interviewees reported consistent condom use. Unprotected sex was more frequent with seropositive partners. Suggestions to enhance comprehensive care for HIV-positive men included stigma management, group activities, and human rights-based approaches involving professional education in care for sexual health, disclosure, and care of "persons living with HIV."

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