[D]oes non-disclosure matter? Is it associated with poorer health outcomes? While a quantitative survey, completed on a single occasion by respondents, has some limitations in terms of the insight it can give into the quality of people’s lives and relationships, these data are reassuring.
Mental health difficulties and adherence problems were quite common among survey respondents. But they weren’t more frequently reported by people who hadn’t disclosed to anyone. After statistical adjustment for other factors that could skew the results, rates of the following were very similar in people who disclosed and people who did not:
- Low social support.
- Symptoms of depression.
- Symptoms of anxiety.
- Problems with adherence to HIV treatment.
- A detectable viral load.
In fact, some of the data suggested that having disclosed to most or all friends and family was actually associated with poorer outcomes in gay men. A more selective disclosure strategy was associated with better outcomes.