Disclosure of HIV status: experiences and perceptions of persons living with HIV/AIDS and nurses involved in their care in Africa

Minrie Greeff, Rene Phetlhu, Lucia N Makoae, Priscilla S Dlamini, William L Holzemer, Joanne R Naidoo, Thecla W Kohi, Leana R Uys, Maureen L Chirwa
Qualitative Health Research 2008, 18 (3): 311-24
Most people with HIV have disclosed their status to someone, often with mixed results. Most health literature seems to favor disclosure by persons living with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), but it could be that to disclose is not always a good thing. We used a descriptive, qualitative research design to explore the experience of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS stigma of people living with HIV or AIDS and nurses involved in their care in Africa. Focus group discussions were held with respondents. We asked them to relate incidents that they themselves observed, and those that they themselves experienced in the community and in families. Thirty-nine focus groups were conducted in five countries in both urban and rural settings. This article is limited to a discussion of data related to the theme of disclosure only. The sub-themes of disclosure were experiences before the disclosure, the process of disclosure, and responses during and after disclosure.

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