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Unique impacts of HIV disclosure in health care and within interpersonal relationships

Unique impacts of HIV disclosure in health care and within interpersonal relationships

Limited research has explored the unique impact of HIV-positive disclosure in healthcare and within interpersonal relationships. This study compared the impact of disclosing an HIV status to family, friends, sexual partners and health care providers on perceived stigma, health and wellbeing among people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Australia.

PLHIV in Australia were targeted via print and online media to take part in a brief online questionnaire. Participants completed measures of perceived HIV-related stigma and treatment-related stigma, social support, resilience, stress, anxiety, depression, health satisfaction and quality of life. Demographic data, including age and education, were also collected.

A total of 697 valid responses were received. As expected, multivariate regression analysis indicated that disclosing to health care providers independently predicted higher health satisfaction. Disclosing to family and friends was associated with lower perceived treatment-related stigma. Additionally disclosing to friends was related to lower perceived general HIV-related stigma. While disclosure to family and to sexual partners predicted higher perceived social support, disclosing to family was also an independent predictor of diminished health satisfaction and quality of life. Outcome measures of resilience, stress and depression were not related to disclosure to any of the groups. Age was additionally unrelated to disclosure to any of the groups, while higher education independently predicted disclosure to family.

The findings from this study indicate that HIV disclosure to different groups of people has differing, albeit not always positive, impacts on the health and wellbeing PLHIV. These results shed light on the choice to selectively disclose an HIV-positive status among PLHIV, along with the health and social consequences of this selective disclosure.

Speakers: Loren Brener
Conference: ASHM 2013
Areas of Interest / Categories: AIDS 2013, HIV, Public Health, Sexual Violence

AIDS 2013

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Reinvigorating evidence for action and capacity in community HIV programs (REACH Project)

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