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Int J STD AIDS. 2007 Sep;18(9):589-92.

Chronic genital herpes and disclosure.... The influence of stigma.

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HIV/GUM Directorate, St Stephens Centre, Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, 369 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NH, UK.


The objectives of this study were to assess the nature and effect of stigma on disclosure of diagnosis to sexual partners among those with problematic disease. Data from questionnaires and semistructured interviews were collected and analysed. Data regarding anxiety were also collected using a validated tool. Ethical approval was received from the Chelsea and Westminster Healthcare National Health Service (NHS) Trust. Disclosure of diagnosis tended to occur in the context of established relationships. Herpes-related stigma was associated with non-disclosure of diagnosis to sexual partners. The point prevalence of moderate to severe anxiety in this sample was 32%. The use of suppressive medication did not affect anxiety scores. In conclusion, the reaction to a diagnosis of genital herpes is influenced by a socially constructed understanding and the decision to disclose or not is influenced by this. Stigma is a barrier to disclosure of genital herpes diagnosis. Management strategies aimed at encouraging disclosure to partners must address perceived stigma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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