Send to

Choose Destination
Cult Health Sex. 2017 Aug;19(8):888-902. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1269366. Epub 2017 Jan 11.

Sero-discovering versus sero-cognisant: initial challenges and needs of HIV-serodiscordant couples in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Author information

a Department of Anthropology , University of South Florida , Tampa , USA.
b Center for AIDS Prevention Studies , University of California-San Francisco , San Francisco , USA.


This paper focuses on challenges faced by heterosexual couples of mixed HIV status in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and argues for more conceptual nuance in our understanding of 'serodiscordance'. Couples' stories, collected over 11 months of qualitative research, demonstrate how profoundly serodiscordance involves both partners and suggest that the timing of relationship formation relative to HIV diagnosis influenced the particular challenges they confronted. In recognition of this variation, we propose the distinction of 'sero-discovering' from 'sero-cognisant' couples. Though Brazilian health policy strives to address the needs of individuals diagnosed with HIV, the needs of seronegative partners in this cohort received relatively little attention. In addition, the transformation of HIV from a death sentence to a chronic condition both facilitated the formation of serodiscordant unions and raised special challenges for such couples. Conceiving of any person receiving an HIV diagnosis as 'potentially partnered' may help address some of these lacunae while promoting primary prevention within mixed-status couples, and HIV testing more generally. More research with this population is needed.


Brazil; HIV; HIV diagnosis; disclosure; serodiscordant couples

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis
Loading ...
Support Center