HIV disclosure among adults living with HIV

E. Mayfield Arnold, E. Rice, D. Flannery, M. J. Rotheram-Borus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Research on disclosure among heterosexual adult person(s) living with HIV (PLH) was reviewed, omitting disclosure of parental HIV to children. Disclosure has been studied within five additional relational contexts: with partners, family members, friends, healthcare professionals and in work settings. Disclosure is higher among women than men, among Latino and white compared to African-American families, and among younger compared to older HIV-positive adults. Most PLH disclose to their sexual partners and family members, yet there is a significant minority who do not disclose. Similarly, rates of disclosure to employers range from 27-68%, suggesting broad variability in perceived consequences of employment disclosures. Of concern, 40% of PLH do not consistently disclose to their healthcare professionals. Rather than examine HIV disclosures in the context of relationships, it is possible to understand disclosures around personal identity. Disclosure decisions are often made to tell everyone (making HIV status a central attribute of one's identity), no one (requiring strategies for securing social support while remaining anonymous) or some people (requiring strategic decisions based on context). Given that disclosure decisions are central to personal identity, future data on disclosure and interventions designed to increase disclosure or comfort with disclosure must focus on communication strategies adopted by PLH to present a coherent identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)80-92
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'HIV disclosure among adults living with HIV'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this