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Decision Readiness to Disclose Human Immunodeficiency Virus–positive Status to Family Members

Laschober, Tanja C., PhD*; Serovich, Julianne M., PhD*; Brown-Smith, Monique J., PhD; Kimberly, Judy A., PhD; Lescano, Celia M., PhD§

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: May 2019 - Volume 46 - Issue 5 - p 342–346
doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000966
Original Studies
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Background People living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (PLWH) are faced with the often difficult decision of whether, when, and how to disclose their seropositive status. This study draws on the transtheoretical model of change to examine men and women's decision readiness to disclose their HIV-positive status to family members and to assess predictors (decisional balance and decision self-efficacy) of their decision readiness.

Methods Cross-sectional data were collected from 346 PLWH—191 males and 155 females. Participants self-reported on their disclosure decision readiness, decisional balance, and decision self-efficacy. Data were analyzed using χ2 tests, general linear models, and multinomial logistic regression models.

Results Two thirds of PLWH were in the 3 lower stages of decision readiness, with the majority starting to think about disclosure. One third of PLWH were in the 3 higher stages of decision readiness (close to deciding or have made the decision to disclose). Decisional balance and decision self-efficacy predicted decision readiness. Overall, few gender differences emerged.

Conclusions These findings can help researchers, clinicians, and health care providers to better understand and support PLWH as they move through the decision making process.

This study found that the majority of people living with human immunodeficiency virus started to think about disclosing to family members. Decisional balance and decision self-efficacy predicted disclosure decision readiness.

From the *College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL;

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC;

Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI; and

§Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

Acknowledgment: This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (R01MH097486) awarded to the second author. The authors thank the women and men who participated in this study.

Conflicts of Interest: None declared.

Correspondence: Tanja C. Laschober, PhD, University of South Florida, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, 13301 Bruce B Downs Blvd, MHC 1110, Tampa, FL 33612-3807. E-mail: tlaschober@usf.edu.

Received for publication July 25, 2018, and accepted December 16, 2018.

© Copyright 2019 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association