AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 171–179

Personal or Relational? Examining Sexual Health in the Context of HIV Serodiscordant Same-Sex Male Couples

  • Kristi E. Gamarel
  • T. J. Starks
  • S. E. Dilworth
  • T. B. Neilands
  • J. M. Taylor
  • M. O. Johnson
Original Paper


Couples’ ability to adopt a “we” orientation has been associated with optimal health outcomes. This study examined how personal and relational motivations are uniquely associated with unprotected anal intercourse (UAI), protected anal intercourse (PAI), and the absence of sexual activity within HIV-serodiscordant same-sex male couples. HIV-positive men and their HIV-negative partners (N = 116 couples, 232 men) completed questionnaires and HIV-positive men had blood drawn for viral load. Results of a multinomial logistic regression illustrated that sexual satisfaction was positively associated with PAI among HIV-negative partners and negatively associated with PAI among HIV-positive partners. Endorsing a “we” orientation was positively associated with PAI among HIV-positive partners. Findings suggest that HIV-positive partners who espouse a “we” orientation may be willing to forgo their personal interests to protect their HIV-negative partners from HIV transmission. Couples-based interventions are warranted to help strengthen relationship dynamics to enhance the sexual health of serodiscordant couples.


Couples Serodiscordant MSM Sexual health 


La capacidad de las parejas de adoptar una orientación de “nosotros” ha sido asociada con consecuencias óptimas para la salud. Este estudio ha examinado la asociación entre las motivaciones personales y relacionales con el coito anal sin protección (UAI), el coito anal con protección (PAI), y la ausencia de actividad sexual en parejas serodiscordantes de hombres del mismo sexo. Hombres VIH-positivo y sus compañeros VIH-negativo (N = 116 parejas, 232 hombres) completaron cuestionarios, y tomamos muestras de sangre de los hombres VIH-positivo para medir su carga viral. Los resultados de una regresión logística multinomial demostraron que la satisfacción sexual está asociada de forma positiva con PAI entre los compañeros VIH-negativo, y de forma negativa entre los compañeros VIH-positivo. La adopción de una orientación de “nosotros”está asociada de forma positiva con PAI entre los compañeros VIH-positivo. Estos resultados sugieren la posibilidad de que los compañeros VIH-positivo que adoptan una orientación de “nosotros” estén dispuestos a ignorar sus intereses personales para proteger a sus compañeros VIH-negativo de la transmisión del VIH. Se requieren intervenciones basadas en la pareja para ayudar a fortalecer la dinámica de la relación, y mejorar la salud sexual de las parejas serodiscordantes.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristi E. Gamarel
    • 1
    • 2
  • T. J. Starks
    • 3
  • S. E. Dilworth
    • 4
  • T. B. Neilands
    • 4
  • J. M. Taylor
    • 4
  • M. O. Johnson
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe Graduate Center of CUNYNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyHunter College, CUNYNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training (CHEST)New YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of MedicineUniversity of California, San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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