The 'Fears' of Disclosing HIV Status to Sexual Partners: A Mixed Methods Study in a Counseling Setting in Ghana

AIDS Behav. 2016 Jan;20(1):126-36. doi: 10.1007/s10461-015-1022-1.


Encouraging disclosure within a trusting and supportive environment is imperative in dealing with HIV/AIDS related stigma. However, disclosure rates and the factors that influence it are vaguely understood in African societies. This study aimed at determining the disclosure rate and factors that influence disclosure in Cape Coast, Ghana. In-depth interviews of 15 peer educators and a survey of 510 PLHIV were used in a mixed methods study design. Majority of the study participants (78.6 %) had disclosed their HIV positive status to their sexual partners. Although peer educators in this study portrayed the overall outcome of disclosure to be negative, 84.0 % of disclosers were accepted by their partners without negative consequences after disclosure. This study suggests that the existing support services ill prepares newly diagnosed HIV positive clients and hampers disclosure initiatives. Providing comprehensive support services and re-training peer educators may be crucial in creating a safe disclosure environment in Ghana.

Keywords: Disclosure; Ghana; HIV; Sexual partners.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Counseling
  • Fear*
  • Female
  • Ghana
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Social Stigma*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Truth Disclosure*