Partner-seeking experiences of single heterosexual people living with HIV in a Western Canadian city.

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Dabravolskaj, Julia
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Health Sciences
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Lethbridge, Alta : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Health Sciences
This narrative research study aimed to answer the question: What is the experience of heterosexual people living with HIV in terms of partner-seeking in a Western Canadian city? Ten participants shared their experiences in semi-structured interviews. Relationship challenges were the major stressor of living with the illness. Feeling desperate about finding a partner and incorporating a new identity as a person living with HIV, some participants turned to celibacy. Other findings included lack of understanding of harm reduction strategies and favoring as partners people who also lived with HIV because of the shared knowledge, the absence of the need to disclose, and perceptions of greater self-stigma in a serodiscordant relationship. Recommendations for AIDS service organizations (e.g., discussions of healthy relationships, sexuality, self-esteem) and health care professionals (e.g., incorporating family planning and harm reduction strategies in discussions with patients) are suggested. Limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.
disclosure , heterosexual HIV people , HIV status , partner-seeking , relationship challenges