Becoming Serodiscordant: The Seroconversion Study Interviews. Steven Philpot, Kirby Institute. 

 

In this study participants were interviewed between 2009-2014, and the aim was to gain knowledge of perspectives of those recently diagnosed with HIV. Topics discussed included: The seroconversion event, sexual practices prior to diagnosis, reactions to and management of diagnosis, post-seroconversion sexual practices, attitudes towards treament for HIV and viral load. Most participants in the study identified as gay, with some bisexual and queer also, with a mixture of ages, ethnicity and various relationship status.

 

Steven presented the analysis of response from 41 participants of which 25 were men in serodiscordant relationship, 6 single men who were previously in relationships but their relationship ended once HIV diagnosis made, and 10 were single who discussed previous serodiscordant relationships in which they were the HIV negative partner. 

 

In these relationships, renegotiating sex with regards to infectiousness, responsibility and intimacy were discussed. Also, reaffirming relationships with regard to love, support and strength. Various narratives were shown and were certainly wide and varied in their individual experiences. Some relationships suffered or ended as a result of thr new HIV diagnosis, some relationships became stronger and provided an opening of communication between partners, though couples within an established relationship when diagnosis made grappled with chages within their intimate relationships.

 

It will be interesting to see what lived experiences will now occur withinin serodiscordant relationships and a new HIV diagnosis in the day of UVL for prevention and the introduction of PrEP, as this study predates these changes.