AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 363–372 | Cite as

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

  • Richard J. Wolitski
  • Caroline J. Bailey
  • Ann O' Leary
  • Cynthia A. Gómez
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons


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.

Responsibility HIV prevention homosexuality, male HIV seropositivity sex behavior 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard J. Wolitski
    • 1
  • Caroline J. Bailey
    • 1
  • Ann O' Leary
    • 1
  • Cynthia A. Gómez
    • 2
  • Jeffrey T. Parsons
    • 3
  1. 1.Prevention Research Branch, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV, STD, and TB PreventionCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlanta
  2. 2.Center for AIDS Prevention StudiesUniversity of CaliforniaSan Francisco
  3. 3.Hunter College of the City University of New YorkNew York

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