An investigation into issues of disclosure of HIV status and social support in black African men and white gay men infected with HIV
The following studye xaminedis sueso f disclosureo f HIV statusa nds ocials upporti n Black African men, using White gay men as a comparison group. The aim was to inform future researchersa nd service providers in order to improve HIV-related support. 20 White gay men and 20 Black African men infected with HIV were included in the quantitative part of the study. Participants were interviewed using structured questionnaires, which were analysed statistically. It was found that White gay participants showed higher rates of disclosure to friends, and showed a trend towards having disclosed to a higher number of people overall in comparison to Black African participants. The latter showed a trend towards having disclosed their HIV status to one partner in particular and to have accessed more voluntary organisations in contrast to the comparison group. No differences were found between the two groups in terms of disclosure to family members or proportion of significant others, and time elapsed since diagnosis and first time disclosure. In terms of social support, White gay interviewees reported significantly more friends as their significant others in comparison to the Black African group. No other differences were found regarding categories of people named as significant others. Furthermore no differences were found on any of the measures of social support functions. 10 of the Black African participants also took part in the qualitative part of the study. Interviews were carried out using a semi-structured questionnaire and were tape-recorded. Transcripts were analysed based on a thematic content analytic approach. The themes that emerged related to who and why interviewees disclosed or not disclosed their HIV status to; the relationship between disclosure, social support and emotional well-being; different types of social support and their perceived helpfulness/unhelpfulness; and differences in disclosure and social support issues between the UK and participants' country of origin.