HIV-Positive Gay Men Rarely Regret Revealing Their Status to Friends, Family, Study Says
HIV-positive gay men rarely regret revealing their HIV status to their family and friends, according to a study published in the April edition of the journal AIDS Education and Prevention, Reuters Health reports. Julianne Serovich of Ohio State University and colleagues surveyed 76 gay men ages 21 to 61 -- all of whom had contracted the virus through sex and had known of their status for one to 16 years -- who had told at least one relative, friend or acquaintance that they were HIV-positive. The researchers found that 75% of the men said they felt little or no regret at having revealed their status. Researchers also found that 80% of the participants' social networks were aware of their HIV-positive status. Cases of regret over revealing HIV status usually had told members of the immediate family, colleagues or previous or casual sex partners, according to the study. The men were four times as likely to regret revealing their HIV-status to their immediate family, especially their parents, than they were to regret revealing their status to friends. The researchers said this likely was because of the "differential emotional bonds and experiences shared among family versus friends." The study findings could be helpful for HIV-positive people considering disclosing their status, Reuters Health reports. Previous studies indicate that HIV-positive people who disclose their status might experience ostracism, rejection, abandonment and degradation, but disclosure also could result in increased social support, medical attention and access to assistance for HIV-positive people, Reuters Health reports (Huggins, Reuters Health, 5/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.