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Love and HIV serodiscordance in gay men's accounts of life with their regular partners

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This paper examines discourse on serodiscordant relationships in interviews with 16 HIV-positive and 3 HIV-negative gay men living in Scotland. Drawing on critiques concerning love, reason and HIV serostatus normativity, this paper supplies a much-needed insight into how gay men in serodiscordant relationships negotiate HIV prevention. Among other matters, some HIV-negative men were said to knowingly request risky sex with their HIV-positive partners as an expression of love. In some situations, the person without HIV claimed a normative serostatus that implied they could ‘invest’ more in the relationship by offering to have sexual intercourse that may expose them to HIV. Such dynamics expressed devotion on the part of the HIV-negative man, but implied obligation for the HIV-positive man. Based on these and other perspectives we argue for closer attention to gay men's subjectivity in the present circumstances of proliferating biomedical forms of HIV prevention; more thoroughly reflexive public health engagements with gay men's sexual cultures; and a research agenda for gay men that challenges HIV-serostatus normativity.
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Keywords: HIV prevention; gay men; serodiscordance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Political and Social Inquiry,Monash University, Melbourne, Australia 2: Department of Psychology,Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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