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A Qualitative Analysis of Partner Selection, HIV Serostatus Disclosure, and Sexual Behaviors among HIV-Positive Urban Men

Using grounded theory, 18 interviews with HIV-positive urban men were conducted to understand their sexual relationships. Analysis of the verbatim transcripts revealed that regardless of age, sexual orientation or race/ethnicity, the participants were “making choices” related to their sexual relationships. Some men were “avoiding sex” whereas others were engaging in “just sex” or having sex in a relationship that was “going somewhere.” However, dependent upon the type of sexual relationship, these HIV-positive urban men struggled with issues associated with “disclosure” of serostatus, the sexual “behaviors” in which they engaged, and selecting sexual “partners.” Health care providers can facilitate sexual health and well-being among HIV-positive urban men by recognizing that men may be seeking sexual intimacy for different purposes, in different types of relationships, or avoiding it entirely. By exploring these decision-making processes, it is possible to facilitate sexual relationships that prevent new infections as well as manage the dissonance associated with this decision-making associated with disclosure, behaviors and their sexual partners.