New Jersey's HIV Exposure Law and the HIV-Related Attitudes, Beliefs, and Sexual and Seropositive Status Disclosure Behaviors of Persons Living with HIV
American Journal of Public Health, 2012, Forthcoming
6 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2012
Date Written: September 20, 2012
Objectives: We explored associations between awareness of New Jersey's HIV exposure law and the HIV-related attitudes, beliefs, and sexual and seropositive status disclosure behaviors of HIV-positive persons.
Methods: A statewide convenience sample (n=479) completed anonymous written surveys during 2010. We recruited participants through networks of community-based organizations in the state's 9 health sectors. The survey assessed participants' awareness of New Jersey's HIV exposure law, their sexual and serostatus disclosure behavior in the past year, and their HIV-related attitudes and beliefs. We compared responses of participants who were and were not aware of the law through univariate analyses.
Results: Fifty-one percent of participants knew about the HIV exposure law. This awareness was not associated with increased sexual abstinence, condom use with most recent partner, or seropositive status disclosure. Contrary to hypotheses, persons who were unaware of the law experienced greater stigma and were less comfortable with positive serostatus disclosure.
Conclusions: Criminalizing nondisclosure of HIV serostatus does not reduce sexual risk behavior. Although the laws do not appear to increase stigma, they are also not likely to reduce HIV transmission.
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