Opening up the HIV epidemic: A review of HIV seropositive status disclosure among people who inject drugs


HIV status disclosure plays a crucial role in reducing risk behaviors of drug and sexual partners and thereby limiting HIV transmission. As people who inject drugs (PWID) bear a significant HIV burden and disclosure research among PWID is relatively few, we reviewed the literature to highlight what is known about disclosure among HIV-positive PWID. Searches of articles published from 2000 to 2015 yielded 17 studies addressing different aspects of disclosure, and results are presented by major themes. Our results suggest that despite the difficulties, most PWID (64-86%) disclose their HIV-positive status to trusted individuals (family members and intimate sexual partners) and to those who are known to be HIV-positive. Disclosure to non-intimate sexual partners and fellow drug users is relatively lower. Disclosure decision-making is primarily driven by the perceived positive and negative consequences of disclosure. Subsequent risk reduction practices following disclosure are influenced by the feeling of responsibility, as well as partners’ willingness to accept risk. Cultural family values, ethnicity, and different localities were several contextual factors that affect patterns of disclosure and risk behaviors of PWID. Areas for future research are recommended.


Nasarruddin AM, Saifi RA, Othman S, Kamarulzaman A.




  • Determinants of Health
    • Social support
    • Stigma/discrimination
  • Population(s)
    • People who use drugs
    • General HIV+ population
  • Substance Use
    • Nonmedicinal drugs


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