XIX International AIDS Conference

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WEPE413 - Poster Exhibition


Disclosure decisions: strategies used in disclosing HIV status in interpersonal relationships among urban HIV-positive African American men

A. Buseh1, P. Stevens1, S. Kelber2

1University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, College of Nursiing, Milwaukee, United States, 2University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, College of Nursiing, Center for Nursing Research and Evaluation, Milwaukee, United States

Background: Black men represented almost one-third (31 percent) of all new HIV infections in the U.S. in 2009 and accounted for 70 percent of new HIV infections among Blacks. One widely promoted HIV/AIDS prevention strategy revolves around testing and disclosure. Disclosure is essential in managing HIV treatment adherences and obtaining support including mental health and social services. There is limited understanding on the processes of 'disclosure' among urban HIV-infected Black men. Accounts from urban HIV-infected Black men are essential in designing effective interventions that will facilitate disclosure. The purpose of this study is to explore what necessitates disclosure; strategies or process used in disclosing HIV status; and how stigma affects disclosure decisions among urban HIV-infected Black men.
Methods: Fifty African American men participated in in-depth interviews about their experiences of living with HIV/AIDS including stigma and disclosure patterns. Ages ranged from 24 -57 years; mean age = 43.98, SD = 7.59. Time since HIV diagnosis ranged from 3 months to 26 years; mean time = 12.5 years, SD = 7.2. Approval was obtained from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee IRB Committee prior to conducting the study. Transcribed data were entered into QRS NVivo 9.0 database, coded and analyzed using narrative thematic approach.
Results: Findings suggest that the process of disclosure among the participants involved indecision and ambivalence about telling friends or family members. Those acknowledging their HIV-positive status publicly became active in their communities linking others to important resources. Broad themes emerging were: negotiating and managing disclosure; 'unburdening' of HIV; socio-economic consequences of disclosure; and empowerment and community activism to eliminate societal stigma.
Conclusions: The disclosure of HIV serostatus remains important for individual health and has broader implications for prevention and early treatment efforts. Thus, disclosure processes among HIV-infected urban African American males is an important area to study.

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