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Disease prevention and treatment

Can Hiding Your HIV Status Hurt Your Health?

Most studies have shown that people who are afraid or unable to disclose their HIV status are at greater risk of isolation and depression. This, in turn, can make it harder to maintain the necessary levels of drug adherence to keep the virus fully suppressed, particularly if the HIV medications have to be taken in secrecy.

Common sense would dictate, therefore, that persons who fail to disclose their HIV status would be at greater risk of illness and death than those who do.

In recent years, scientists have begun to test that assumption and have come to some surprising conclusions.

Rates of Non-Disclosure

A two-year study, conducted by London-based Antiretrovirals, Sexual Transmission Risk, and Attitudes (ASTRA) cohort, recruited 3,258 HIV-positive men and women.

The participants were each surveyed to determine whether they had disclosed their status to either "nobody," "some," or "most or all" of their social circle. Disclosure to casual sex partners was not included.

Overall, MSM were found to be more likely to disclose their HIV status with only 5% disclosing to no one .at all. By contrast, 16% of heterosexual women and 17% of heterosexual men did not disclose

The disparity was largely attributed to the perception that the "social penalty" for disclosure in the community has was far less than in the other groups.

Content created and supplied by: Buhle16 (via Opera News )

Antiretrovirals HIV London-based


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