Beth Pomeroy, Ph.D.
Although the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) has devastated the gay community over the past fourteen years, with the advent of protease inhibitors an increasing number of persons diagnosed HIV positive (positive for the human immuneodeficiency syndrome) or with AIDS are remaining in relationships and living longer, more productive lives. According to the Center for Disease Control in 1998, although the number of HIV/AIDS cases among gay men has decreased over the past 15 years, this population continues to constitute the majority of HIV/AIDS cases reported.
At the present time, there is a plethora of psychosocial research that has been conducted on gay men with HIV/AIDS. The existing research on the efficacy of group interventions, however, has examined interventions that focus primarily on the gay partners living with AIDS, the gay partner or significant others (e.g. friends, family members, or spouses). Therefore, there is a dearth of information concerning group interventions for both gay partners in a relationship in which one partner is HIV positive and the other partner is HIV negative. Furthermore, the majority of studies that have been conducted on group interventions for gay persons living with HIV/AIDS have been descriptive or anecdotal.
The CSWR study examined the effectiveness of a six-week psychoeducational group for gay HIV serodiscordant couples. The six couples who comprised the experimental group were compared to the six couples in the comparison group at pretest and posttest on depression, anxiety and partner satisfaction. Preliminary results indicate that the group intervention was effective in alleviating depression and anxiety. Partner relationship satisfaction also appears to have increased due to the intervention. Further study is needed with larger samples of couples.
University Research Institute, The University of Texas at Austin