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January 16, 2008

HIV-positive Women More Likely to Disclose to Female Family Members

A new U.S. study suggests that HIV-positive women are more likely to disclose their HIV status to other female family members than males, reports (, 1/15).

The study of 125 women, published in the December 2007 edition of AIDS Patient Care and STDs, found that within six months of being diagnosed with HIV, 67 percent of mothers and 62 percent of sisters were told, compared with 44 percent of fathers and 50 percent of brothers.

The researchers also found that disclosure to family members tended to happen in the first seven years after the women were diagnosed with HIV, and that the likelihood of disclosure to family members was not significantly affected by HIV disease progression, the proximity of family members, the race of the women studied or the women’s level of satisfaction with their family relationships.

The investigators say “interventions that are specifically targeted to women may need to be developed in order to address the obvious gender differences present in patterns of disclosure to family members.”

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