Discussing parenthood with gay men diagnosed with HIV: a qualitative study of patient and healthcare practitioner perspectives.
BACKGROUND: Research on HIV and reproduction has focused largely on women and heterosexual men. This article examines whether it is relevant to address parenthood in HIV care with gay men and what ways of doing so are most appropriate. METHODS: Qualitative interviews were conducted at four London clinics with 25 men living with HIV, aged 20-45, who did not have children, and 16 HIV clinicians. A thematic analysis identified potential reasons why parenthood was rarely discussed with gay men in HIV care. RESULTS: Two sets of ideas contributed to a lack of conversations about parenthood: clinicians' ideas about what matters to gay men and men's ideas about what it means to be HIV-positive. Both sets of ideas largely excluded having children, with patients and practitioners similarly unlikely to raise the topic of parenthood in the clinic. Contrary to what clinician commonly assumed, many men expressed interest in receiving more information, highlighting the importance of reassuring people upon diagnosis that it is possible to become parents while living with HIV. CONCLUSIONS: Parenting desires and intentions were rarely discussed with men in HIV care. Our findings illuminate the potentially beneficial effects of emphasising that having children is a possibility at diagnosis, regardless of patients' gender or sexuality. Conveying this information seems meaningful, not only to men who want to become parents in the future but also to others, as it appears to alleviate fears about mortality and ill health.
Online Publication Date
British HIV Association (BHIVA)
Isaac Newton Trust (18.08(m))
Leverhulme Trust (ECF-2018-146)