n Africa Journal of Nursing and Midwifery - Factors influencing disclosure of HIV status to sexual partners in Botswana

Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1682-5055


Disclosure of one's Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) status to a sexual partner has increasingly gained prominence in the management of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Policies are based on the premise that if those infected with HIV disclose their status, it will lead to safer sex and therefore reduced rates of HIV transmission.

A qualitative study, utilising in-depth interviews,was conducted to explore and describe the factors influencing the disclosure of persons' positive HIV status to their sexual partners in Botswana.
The major findings of the study confirmed that disclosure is a multi-staged process. People infected with HIV experienced mainly positive, but also some negative, consequences following disclosure. Such experiences were associated with the disclosers' motivations, personal and cultural beliefs, risk-benefit assessments, individual circumstances (contexts), previous experiences, and perceived degrees of control over private information.
The Communication Privacy Management (CPM) Theory helped to understand the decision to disclose private information. The key factor influencing disclosure within this theory was protecting others.
Recommendations address the privacy rule management criteria to deal with disclosure of sensitive personal information. As disclosure is a process which begins much earlier than the actual moment of telling, taking the first step of having an HIV test, forms part of the sense of responsibility to others.

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