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Title: An exploratory study into the potential effects of a diagnosis of HIV on gay men's ideas about themselves, and ideas of forming new sexual relationships with other men
Author: Coffey, Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2698 8483
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2006
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This study examines the potential impact of a diagnosis of HIV on gay men's ideas about themselves and their experiences of forming new sexual relationships with other men. Particular focus is given to changes in participants' thoughts/ feelings about themselves post diagnosis and how such changes were manifested. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants who all self identified as gay men and who had received a diagnosis of HIV at least twelve months previously. A social constructionist Grounded Theory approach was used to develop a model from the interview transcripts. Analysis revealed that receiving a diagnosis was constructed as being a 'life changing event'. Commonly discussed were feelings of loss attributed to living with the diagnosis, and feelings of self blame regarding circumstances under which transmission of the virus occurred. The emotion of 'feeling different to others' was commonly discussed and felt most intensely when participants were engaged in sexual practices with their HIV negative partner. Feelings of loss were frequently mentioned as participants compared the opportunities available to them pre and post diagnosis. The responses of others to the diagnosis were also discussed as pertinent to the ideas participants had about themselves and their future. Such responses, particularly from sexual partners influenced sexual behaviour prompting them to engage in less sex in order to protect themselves emotionally from further feelings of rejection. The lack of sex post diagnosis for some participants was constructed as a relief and a desire to feel 'asexual'. The findings are discussed with regard to the limited literature, with particular emphasis on understanding the impact of the diagnosis from a social constructionist perspective. Recommendations for further research and various implications for practice are highlighted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psych.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available