Men and women living heterosexually with HIV: The Straightpoz study, Volume 1

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HIV places heterosexual people in a highly stigmatised position in heterosexual society. Fear of stigma and prejudice is a daily reality for many, and HIV shapes relationships and sexuality in profound ways. In this report, ‘people living heterosexually with HIV’ includes HIV-positive men, HIVpositive women, HIV negative partners, serodiscordant couples and families. The term is used to place emphasis on heterosexuality as a social practice, rather than as an identity. People living heterosexually with HIV develop a range of strategies for building normality within a small, sheltered world of trusted people and within a wider world of indifference to and ignorance about HIV. They often feel like ‘cultural outsiders’ in the HIV sector and are generally disconnected from other positive people and from communal forms of dialogue and support around HIV. The diversity and geographical dispersal of positive heterosexuals in NSW, the deep need to protect privacy and confidentiality, and the difficulties of accessing appropriate resources and support, create particular challenges for building a heterosexual HIVpositive community. For heterosexual people, HIV is life-changing, with valuable insights and qualities fostered by the experience. However, the strictures of secrecy among heterosexuals living with HIV mean that these are not shared with the wider community. and shared their HIV-positivity and developed strategies to ‘pass’ undetected in society.
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Persson, Asha
Barton, David
Richards, Wendy
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