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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 42 (2000) 10, 729 - 738

New research

Disclosure of hiv-infection, coming out for homosexual orientation and personality pathology

C.G. Kooiman, F.P. Kroon, Y.R. van Rood

background Some homosexual hiv patients never inform important others about their sexual orientation or their hiv infection.
aims We explored whether personality disorder and a complicated coming out for the sexual orientation are associated with nondisclosure of the hiv infection resulting in less social support and more psychopathology.
method Male patients with an hiv infection attending an outpatient department of Infectious Disorders were interviewed to examine coming out and disclosure. Self-report questionnaires were used to examine personality disorder, social support, and psychiatric symptoms.
results 25 out of 41 patients fulfilled the criteria for one or more personality disorders. Patients with a personality disorder more often had gone through a more complicated coming out process and the sexuality of these patients was more often compromised after the positive hiv test result. Personality disorder nor coming out for the homosexual orientation were predictive for disclosing of the hiv infection. Nondisclosure of the hiv infection was not associated with social support or with psychiatric symptoms.
conclusions The negative results contrast with the literature on this subject and possibly reflect a relative tolerant attitude in the Netherlands concerning sexuality.

keywords coming out, hivinfection, homosexuality, personality disorder