Sharing their HIV status with friends may help young people diagnosed with behaviorally acquired HIV access social support. Our qualitative study used constructivist grounded theory to explore onward HIV disclosure decisions within friendships of young adults living with behaviorally acquired HIV. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 participants (ages 22–26 years). Three themes were identified: (a) personal factors influencing disclosure decisions; (b) social factors influencing disclosure decisions; and (c) disclosure decision outcomes. The relational context seemed to be particularly important in deciding whether or not to disclose. Participants who had shared their status reported no negative and some positive consequences. Anticipated stigma was influential in situations where participants chose not to disclose; however, friendships were not adversely affected by nondisclosure. Key clinical implications are discussed.
Evelyn McKenzie, BA, MRes, DClinPsy, is a Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom. Michael Evangeli, MA, MSc, ClinPsyD, is a Reader in Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey, United Kingdom.
Corresponding author: Michael Evangeli, e-mail: email@example.com
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