HIV Disclosure Among HIV Positive Individuals: A Concept Analysis

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Aim. This paper is a report of an analysis of the concept of HIV disclosure.

Background. There is a growing interest among healthcare providers and researchers in HIV disclosure as an effective HIV prevention and early disease management initiative. However, the concept still remains unclear. Conceptual clarity is important for providing an expanded theoretical definition and understanding of attributes of HIV disclosure. This information is useful in constructing better HIV disclosure measures in HIV/AIDS nursing practice and research.

Data sources. A computer search of the following databases was conducted to capture the meaning and processes of HIV disclosure among HIV‐positive individuals: PubMed, CINAHL and PSYCINFO. Only English language journals were used. Publication dates of the literature review ranged from 1999 to 2009. The following key words were used: HIV disclosure, self‐disclosure, disclosure and serostatus disclosure.

Methods. The Walker and Avant (2005) concept analysis model (Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing, Pearson Prentice Hall, River, NJ, 2005) was used to guide the analysis process, which was completed in 2009.

Results. The concept analysis revealed that HIV disclosure is a complex process characterized by the following attributes: experiencing an event, communicating something, timing, and contextual environment, protecting someone, relationship status and improving something or being therapeutic. In addition, the process of HIV disclosure varies across time.

Conclusion. The proposed HIV disclosure attributes provide nursing scholars and researchers with new directions on how to reframe research questions, develop measurement tools to reflect better the diversity and fluidity of the process of HIV disclosure among HIV‐positive individuals. Policy implications include the need to develop approaches that protect individual and public rights.



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