Taking into Account the Quality of the Relationship in HIV Disclosure

Abstract

Despite growing interest in HIV disclosure, most theoretical frameworks and empirical studies focus on individual and social factors affecting the process, leaving the contribution of interpersonal factors relatively unexplored. HIV transmission and disclosure often occur within a couple however, and this is where disclosure has the most scope as a HIV transmission intervention. With this in mind, this study explores whether perceived relationship quality influences HIV disclosure outcomes. Ninety-five UK individuals with HIV participated in a cross-sectional survey. Retrospective data were collected on their perceived relationship quality prior to disclosing their HIV positive status, and on disclosure outcomes. Perceived relationship quality was found to significantly affect disclosure outcomes. Positive qualities in the relationship were associated with positive outcomes, whereas negative qualities were associated with negative outcomes. Results further confirmed that this association was not merely correlational, but demonstrated predictive power. Relationship quality might act as either a risk or a resilience factor in the disclosure process, and thus warrants greater attention in future research.

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Correspondence to Charlotte Smith.

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Smith, C., Cook, R. & Rohleder, P. Taking into Account the Quality of the Relationship in HIV Disclosure. AIDS Behav 21, 106–117 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-016-1323-z

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Keywords

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Disclosure
  • HIV transmission
  • Relationship quality