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AIDS Care. 2006 Apr;18(3):254-61.

Management of HIV-related stigma and adherence to HAART: evidence from a large representative sample of outpatients attending French hospitals (ANRS-EN12-VESPA 2003).

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  • 1Regional Centre for Disease Control of South-Eastern France, Marseilles, France.


This study investigated patterns of HIV disclosure to significant others (parents, siblings, children, other relatives, friends and colleagues) and describe them in terms of socio-demographic background and other characteristics, including experiences of AIDS-related discrimination. It also assessed the relationship between disclosure patterns and adherence to HAART. We used a cross-sectional survey conducted among a national representative sample of 2,932 HIV-infected people recruited in French hospitals. HIV disclosure patterns were both selective and cumulative: disclosure was more frequent for friends and siblings, while concealment prevailed concerning children, other relatives, and colleagues; but patients who disclosed their seropositivity to one significant other were also more likely to disclose it to other significant others. Patients reporting experiences of discrimination from sexual partners were less likely to be highly adherent, and we also found a significant relationship between uncontrolled disclosure and non-adherence. Patients who have opted for concealment probably consider non-adherence and uncontrolled disclosure as competing risks, but among them a significant minority loses on both counts. Counselling provided to HIV-infected people should not separate the adherence and disclosure issues, and adherence interventions should seek to help patients to manage concurrently disclosure/concealment of their seropositivity and its consequences.

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