Miami Herald Examines Issues Surrounding HIV Status Disclosure Among MSM
The Miami Herald on Monday examined issues that some HIV-positive men who have sex with men face when determining when to reveal their status to potential partners. According to the Herald, a recent study from the Gay Men's Health Crisis found that half of U.S. residents surveyed said they believe that HIV/AIDS contributes to discrimination against MSM. In addition, discrimination in the MSM community toward HIV-positive MSM is not discussed widely, according to the Herald. This stigma often leads to a fear of disclosure among HIV-positive MSM, which can contribute to high-risk sexual activity and the spread of HIV.
Spencer Lieb, senior epidemiologist at the Florida Department of Health Bureau of HIV/AIDS, said, "Non-disclosure is one of the challenges of HIV prevention." Reports in Florida show a 48% increase in newly recorded HIV cases in Miami-Dade County from 2006 to 2008, as well as a 74% increase in Broward County. Lieb said these figures could point to an enhanced reporting system. However, the Herald reports that the increase in new cases also could be in part because of increased HIV/AIDS complacency. Linda Simon, a psychotherapist with the Miami Beach Community Health Center, said that among some MSM, disclosing their HIV-positive status is a "struggle," because "on the one hand they want to be responsible, but on the other they want to protect themselves from breaching confidentiality and rejection" (Roth, Miami Herald, 4/6).
The Gay Men's Health Crisis study is available online.