Psychological and behavioral correlates of HIV antibody status in gay men
The present study investigated the psychological and behavioral impact of the AIDS epidemic upon both tested and untested gay men. Relationships among HIV status, psychological distress, attributions of responsibility and sexual behaviors were explored. Twenty-five asymptomatic HIV positive men, 55 HIV negative men and 114 men who chose not to take the HIV antibody test, completed anonymous self-report questionnaires. Uniformly high levels of psychological distress were found in all groups. Greater self-attributions of responsibility for current health were associated with lower levels of depression among HIV positive men and lower distress levels for test decliners. Beliefs that health is determined by powerful others were related to distress in seropositive subjects. Significant high risk reduction was observed in all groups. Tested subjects did not report greater risk reduction than untested subjects. Finally, predictors of sexual behavior frequencies were identified and implications for research and treatment were discussed.