Gender Differences in Disclosure Concerns and HIV-Related Quality of Life

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HIV-related disclosure concerns are associated with higher rates of concealment and poorer well-being, including poorer health related HIV quality of life (HIV-QOL). Little research, however, has examined whether gender differences exist in the links between HIV disclosure concerns and HIV-QOL. We expected that disclosure concerns and gender would be associated with HIV-QOL, such that the relationship between disclosure concerns and poorer HIV-QOL to be stronger in women living with HIV (WLWH) than in men living with HIV (MLWH). One hundred and forty MLWH (n = 102) and WLWH (n = 38) completed an online questionnaire consisting of measures regarding their demographics, disclosure concerns (HIV-stigma scale), and HIV-QOL (HIV-AIDS-Targeted Quality of Life Instrument). Results suggested that more disclosure concerns were associated with poorer HIV-QOL, but in general, men and women did not differ in their levels of HIV-QOL. As expected, interactions emerged between gender and disclosure concerns such that disclosure concerns were associated with increased health worries and poorer sexual functioning for WLWH but not for MLWH. Interventions should acknowledge the differing needs and experiences of WLWH in order to improve HIV-QOL and increase longevity.