Reasons for HIV Disclosure and Non-Disclosure: An Exploratory Study of Rural African American Men

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Disclosure of one's HIV status to others is an important decision. There are benefits and risks to be considered. Also decisions must be made about the recipients of the disclosure. This study explored reasons for disclosure and non-disclosure among rural African American men in the south. Audiotaped interviews were conducted with 40 men. The most common reasons for disclosure were to relieve stress, satisfy the need to tell, help others, and to receive support. The most common reasons for non-disclosure were the fear of negative reaction or stigma, the fear of the disclosure recipient telling others, a belief that there was no need to tell, not being ready to tell, and not wanting to burden others with the disclosure.