Perceived HIV-related stigma and HIV disclosure to relationship partners after finding out about the seropositive diagnosis

Valerian J. Derlega, Barbara Winstead, Kathryn Greene, Julianne Servoich, William N. Elwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined how perceived HIV-related stigma (how much HIV-infected persons believe that the public stigmatizes someone with HIV) influences both reasons for and against HIV disclosure and self-reports of HIV disclosure to a friend, intimate partner and a parent. The research participants were 145 men and women living with HIV. They were asked to recall when they first learned about their HIV diagnosis. Then they indicated how much specific reasons might have influenced disclosing or not disclosing about the HIV diagnosis to a friend, intimate partner and a parent. Findings, based on the total sample, indicated that perceived HIV-related stigma was associated with the endorsement of various reasons against disclosing to a friend and a parent, including concerns about self-blame, fear of rejection, communication difficulties and a desire to protect the other person. Perceived HIV-related stigma was not associated with the endorsement of any reasons for disclosing to a friend, intimate partner or a parent, including catharsis, test other's reactions, duty to inform/educate, similarity and a close/supportive relationship with the other. In addition, perceived HIV-related stigma predicted self-reports of disclosure to a parent but not to a friend or intimate partner. Specific reasons for and against self-disclosure predicted HIV disclosure based on the type of relationship with the potential disclosure recipient. The data analyses were also stratified by gender; these results were, with some exceptions, consistent with the findings with the total sample. The research introduces scales that quantify individuals' reasons for HIV disclosure and/or nondisclosure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-432
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Health Psychology
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 12 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology

Keywords

  • HIV disclosure
  • Perceived HIV-related stigma
  • Reasons for and against HIV disclosure
  • Significant others

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