Sexually Transmitted Diseases

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Sexually Transmitted Diseases:
Original Article

Living With HIV: Experiences and Perspectives of HIV‐Infected Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic Patients After Posttest Counseling

KILMARX, PETER H. MD*,†; HAMERS, FRANÇOISE F. MD, MPH*,†; PETERMAN, THOMAS A. MD, MSc*

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Abstract

Objectives:: To determine whether human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)‐infected STD clinic patients receive needed services and to determine the social consequences of testing HIV‐positive.

Study Design:: Sexually transmitted disease clinic patients in Baltimore, Miami, and Newark who had first been told about a positive HIV test 6 to 24 months previously were recontacted and interviewed.

Results:: Out of 416 persons we attempted to contact, we interviewed 142 who had first learned that they were HIV‐infected 6 to 24 months previously. Most interviewees were male (57%), black (82%), and heterosexual and had a low socioeconomic status. Twenty‐five percent said they had never received medical care for their HIV infection. Most of those not in care said they were never referred, were "in denial," or did not want medical care. Interviewees had disclosed their status selectively; but "because of HIV," 4% had lost a job, 1% had been asked to move by a landlord, and 1% had been assaulted. Seventy‐six percent would recommend that others take an HIV test; 11% would not recommend it.

Conclusions:: Most patients interviewed were getting medical care and, despite some negative consequences, most would recommend HIV testing to others. To identify and address local barriers to needed services, we suggest that clinic staff routinely recontact consenting HIV‐infected patients after posttest counseling.

© Copyright 1998 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association

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