A model of HIV disclosure: disclosure and types of social relationships

Annette Bairan, Gloria Ann Jones Taylor, Barbara J Blake, Timothy Akers, Richard Sowell, Rick Mendiola
Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 2007, 19 (5): 242-50

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to assess perceptions of HIV positive (+) persons regarding disclosure of their serostatus to others with the goal of developing a model of HIV disclosure that could be used by healthcare providers (HCPs) in HIV prevention.

DATA SOURCES: Data were collected through 13 focus groups from 104 HIV+ participants. The groups were formed based on three HIV risk exposure categories--men who have sex with men, high-risk heterosexuals, and substance users.

CONCLUSIONS: Data analysis revealed three themes: disclosure of one's HIV+ serostatus depends on type of social relationships, fear, and stigma, with social relationships being the major theme. A model of HIV disclosure emerged from the data analysis of social relationships. In the model, social relationships were categorized as sexual and nonsexual, with varying degrees of HIV disclosure-depending on the social relationship with the person to whom one did or did not disclose. Results indicated that HIV is still a fearful and stigmatizing disease, and disclosure of HIV status is a complex phenomenon embedded in various types of social relationships.

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Results of this study provide a "Model of HIV Disclosure" that can be utilized by nurse practitioners and other HCPs in clinical practice when providing treatment, counseling, and prevention education for HIV+ clients and for prevention education for HIV negative clients--especially for family, friends, sexual partners, and employers of HIV+ clients.

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