Oct 1, 1997
In order to demonstrate that people who know they are HIV+ are more responsible once they know their status, there would have to be some sort of large scale study of a group of people, two groups, actually, that followed them and their partners. Otherwise any assertion of better behavior is based on the word of those being asked about responsible behavior. That is, aren't people likely to lie about this, just like they do about any sex behavior related question? In the case of discordant couples, who know one is positive, you have to remember that there are TWO people contributing to the responsible behavior of ONE person--one of whom has more of an interest in staying negative--which can only be done when the couple knows their respective status. And they can know their respective status only if they BOTH get tested AT THE SAME TIME! Only at that moment, and only before they have sexual contact, can they make both a responsible and informed decision about what to do next.
Response from Mr. Shernoff
While you raise good and important issues I m not a researcher, nor am I familiar with the research in this area. Rick Sowadsky is The Body's expert in the area of sexuality who you can ask to address these concerns. The issues involved in stopping the sexual transmission of HIV are crucial if we are ever to stem the tide of new infections, and must be a high priority to all of us who remain sexually active regardless of whether or not we are already infected with HIV.
Michael Shernoff, MSW
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