Lars Jørgen Østergaard

Disclosure Decisions: HIV-Positive Persons Coping With Disease-Related Stressors

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  • The Department of Infectious Diseases
  • Institute of Science in Nursing
The purpose of this grounded theory study was to investigate how Danish HIV-positive persons live with their disease, focusing on HIV-related stressors. Using the Glaserian method, we analyzed textual data from in-depth interviews with 16 HIV-positive persons. Decisions about disclosure appeared to be a major concern and a determining factor for HIV-related stress. Consequently, we developed a substantive theory about disclosure decisions in which three different strategies could be identified: (a) disclosing to everyone (being open); (b) restricting disclosure (being partly open); and (c) disclosing to no one (being closed). Disclosure was a continuum; none of the three strategies automatically relieved HIV-related stress. The theory describes the main determinants and consequences of each strategy. Our study demonstrates the importance of recurrent individual considerations about disclosure choices and plans, and offers a theoretical basis for interventions designed to assist persons living with HIV to make the best possible individual decisions regarding disclosure, and thereby reduce HIV-related stress.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Health Research
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2011

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