Serostatus Disclosure Among Adults with HIV in the Era of HIV Therapy

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Abstract

Serostatus disclosure is an important component of secondary HIV prevention with potential benefits for both the individual by experiencing increased social support and society by reducing HIV transmission risk behaviors. This cross-sectional study assessed disclosure patterns to sex partners, family members, and friends by sociodemographic and HIV-related factors among an urban, Midwestern U.S. HIV clinic population (n = 809); a majority of whom were African American and male with a mean age of 41 years. Almost three quarters (n = 596) of the sample was currently receiving HIV therapy, with 68% (n = 404) successfully suppressing their HIV viral loads. Among sexually activity individuals, 97% reported disclosing their serostatus to sex partners. This high rate of disclosure to sex partners suggests that social desirability may play a role in this self-reported measure. Approximately half of the sample (n = 359) disclosed to at least one family member and 60% (n = 474) disclosed to at least one friend. Disclosing to family members occurred more often among participants who were unemployed and endorsed depressive disorder symptoms (p < 0.05 for all). Disclosing to friends occurred more frequently among women, Caucasians and those who completed higher levels of education (p < 0.001 for all). HIV disclosure and disease severity were unassociated. Given the chronic nature of HIV care, additional research is needed to develop interventions to facilitate timely disclosure of HIV serostatus.

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