, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 363-372

Self-Perceived Responsibility of HIV-Seropositive Men Who Have Sex with Men for Preventing HIV Transmission

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Abstract

Relatively little attention has been paid to unique factors that may motivate HIV-seropositive men who have sex with men (MSM) to prevent HIV transmission. This study examines the beliefs of 250 HIV-seropositive MSM about their responsibility for protecting sex partners from HIV infection. Participants completed an open-ended interview about their sexual practices, substance use, and other HIV-related issues. Seventy percent of participants were men of color. Most participants (72%) spontaneously mentioned issues related to responsibility that were represented by three themes: (1) personal responsibility for protecting sex partners, (2) partners' responsibility for protecting themselves, and (3) mutual responsibility. These beliefs were expressed by 63%, 24%, and 12% of respondents, respectively. Motivations underlying beliefs about personal responsibility included altruism, self-standards, and self-interest. Beliefs about personal responsibility were influenced by participant characteristics, partner characteristics, disclosure of HIV status, and contextual factors. The findings suggest that self-perceived responsibility may be an important factor that affects HIV-seropositive MSM's sexual decision making.