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Qual Health Res. 2009 Dec;19(12):1744-54. doi: 10.1177/1049732309353417.

Disclosure outcomes, coping strategies, and life changes among women living with HIV in Uganda.

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Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


An HIV diagnosis is a life-changing event. Disclosure of HIV test results might be related to developing effective coping strategies. We conducted qualitative, in-depth interviews with 30 HIV-infected women in Uganda to explore links between HIV disclosure and coping strategies. Many women experienced an evolution in their ability to cope from initial shame to eventual acceptance. Factors that facilitated adaptive coping included being healthy, feeling responsible for children, support group participation, forming supportive relationships, and low perceived stigma and discrimination. HIV disclosure was often the first step in this coping process. Overall, 80% of the women had disclosed, with most reporting positive outcomes. Development of adaptive coping strategies and HIV serostatus disclosure are closely related, as they allow women to develop support networks and begin coming to terms with their diagnosis. Strategies are needed to safely support women who want to disclose their HIV test results.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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