Accepted by Scopus and Clarivate Analytics to be indexed in Science Citation Index Expanded, JCR, Current Contents and Biological Abstracts

HIV disclosure and stigma among women living with HIV in Denmark

Author List
Maria Wessman
Kristina Thorsteinsson
Merete Storgaard
Frederikke F Rönsholt
Isik S Johansen
Gitte Pedersen
Lars N Nielsen
Nina Wies
Terese L Katzenstein
Anne-Mette Lebech


Objective: To identify disclosure, stigma and predictors of non-disclosure among women living with HIV in Denmark. Methods: A questionnaire study of women living with HIV in Denmark was performed. The enrolment period was from February 2013 to March 2014. Logistic regression was used to estimate predictors of non-disclosure. Results: A total of 234 participants were included. The majority (94%) had disclosed their HIV status to at least one person outside their healthcare environment, although 29% had disclosed to fewer than three people. Confidantes were mostly partners (96%), siblings (63%), friends (63%) and children (41%). The primary reason for non-disclosure was a feeling that it did not concern others (55%), although reactions upon disclosure were mainly positive in 53%. Predictors of non-disclosure were being of black or Asian ethnicity. Following their HIV diagnosis, 40% no longer dared to have sex, 40% felt isolated and 23% felt that others were afraid and kept a physical distance. In contrast, after disclosure 75% felt better at taking decisions about life and 50% were in closer contact with family and friends. Conclusion: Almost one-third of participants disclosed their HIV diagnosis to fewer than three people and black or Asian ethnicity predicted non-disclosure. HIV-related stigma regarding sex and contact with others is still highly prevalent; however, reactions to disclosure were mainly positive and associated with secondary positive gains. We strongly urge healthcare professionals to initiate a dialogue regarding stigma and disclosure with women living with HIV with a view to increasing disclosure and minimising stigmatisation in this vulnerable population.

Article Category

HIV cure research

Article Type

Original research

Posted Date


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