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Disclosure of HIV Antibody Status: Behavioral and Mental Health Correlates

NCJ Number
AIDS Education and Prevention Volume: 1 Issue: 1 Dated: (Spring 1989) Pages: 1-11
D G Ostrow; J G Joseph; R Kessler; J Soucy; M Tal; M Eller; J Chmiel; J P Phair
Date Published
11 pages
Information from 585 Chicago men who had been tested for the HIV antibody formed the basis of a comparison of the behavioral and psychological characteristics of the 170 men who asked for and obtained their test results and those who did not.
The men were part of an ongoing prospective study that began before the identification of the HIV virus. Retrospective testing for HIV antibodies was begun in late 1985 using stored sera obtained at 6-month intervals since the beginning of the study and collected as part of medical and psychological evaluations. Beginning early in 1986 the participants could request their antibody test results, and those who did, received counseling and evaluation. The analysis suggested that the disclosure of HIV antibody status had no meaningful association with sexual behavior change, but did significantly relate to mental health. Learning of a positive test result had a significant adverse impact, while learning of a negative result had a positive effect. Findings indicated the need for caution in implementing any program of routine HIV testing. Tables and 32 references.


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