Predictors of HIV-1 serostatus disclosure: a prospective study among HIV-infected pregnant women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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ObjectivesTo examine the socio-demographic and behavioral factors predictive of women's disclosure of an HIV-positive test result in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.DesignFrom April 1995 to May 2000, 1078 HIV-positive pregnant women participated in an ongoing randomized trial on micronutrients and HIV-1 vertical transmission and progression. Disclosure to a partner or to a female relative was assessed 2 months after post-test counseling and at 6 monthly follow-up visits. Socio-demographic, health, behavioral and psychological factors were measured at baseline and during follow-up.MethodsPredictors of time to disclosure of HIV serostatus were determined using Cox proportional hazards regression models.ResultsPrevalence of disclosure to a partner ranged from 22% within 2 months to 40% after nearly 4 years. Women were less likely to disclose to their partners if they were cohabiting, had low wage employment, had previously disclosed to a female relative, or reported ever-use of a modern contraceptive method. Women reporting fewer than six lifetime sexual partners or knowing someone with HIV/AIDS were more likely to disclose to their partners. Disclosure to a female relative was predicted by knowing more than two individuals with HIV/AIDS, full economic dependency on their partner, high levels of social support, and prior attendance at a support group meeting.ConclusionsA substantial proportion of HIV-infected pregnant women never disclosed their result to a partner or a close female relative. Lack of disclosure may have limited their ability to engage in preventive behaviors or to obtain the necessary emotional support for coping with their serostatus or illness.

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