Disclosure of HIV‐positive status is a public health intervention strategy to reduce HIV infections and improve HIV treatment and care. While disclosure occurs for different reasons for different population groups, the focus of studies has been on programmatic concerns such as disclosure to sexual partners to prevent HIV transmission or to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV. However, HIV disclosure occurs within a broad range of social and cultural contexts. Disclosure is facilitated or deterred by relationships at play within the social context beyond just the need for prevention of HIV. This chapter will highlight how the construction of HIV as an incurable, fatal, and contagious disease, stigma and discrimination, cultural and societal norms, secrecy, and the contextual environment influence HIV disclosure across different population groups. The chapter further demonstrated that stigma is the threat that connects the contextual environment and negatively influences disclosure across different population groups. This chapter is based on disclosure studies conducted in South Africa and extensive findings from disclosure research from sub‐Saharan Africa. The data comprise qualitative studies on disclosing HIV to perinatally infected children by caregivers, the parental disclosure of own HIV‐positive status to HIV‐negative children, disclosure to sexual partners, disclosure to parents, and adolescent self‐disclosure to romantic partners and friends.
Part of the book: HIV/AIDS