It Cannot Happen, Never: A Qualitative Study Exploring Youth Views on Disclosure of HIV Diagnosis to Their Sexual Partners in Southern Malawi

Maggie Zgambo, Diana Arabiat, Deborah Ireson
Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care: JANAC 2021 January 20
With the availability of antiretroviral therapy, more children living with HIV live longer than before and grow into young adulthood. This study examined the concerns of youth about disclosure of an HIV diagnosis to their sexual partners and attempted to gain an understanding of their HIV status disclosure experiences, views, and plans. A focused ethnography was undertaken. Using semi-structured interviews, data were collected from 20 youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years who were attending an HIV clinic. The findings highlight that youth generally struggled to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partners. The most frequent reasons for concealing their HIV status was fear of relationship termination, being unmarried, and fear that their sexual partners may reveal their HIV diagnosis to the community, thereby predisposing them to stigmatization, discrimination, and prejudice. There is a need to develop and strengthen HIV disclosure support groups for youth to help them develop life skills for overcoming HIV-related stigma.

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