Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type

Mixed methods


School for Social Work


HIV-positive persons, Gay couples, HIV (Viruses)-Prevention, Relationship quality, Satisfaction, HIV, AIDS, HIV/AIDS, Couples, Relationships, LGBTQ, Pre-esposure prophylaxis, PrEP


This mixed-methods study explored the use of post-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and relationship satisfaction in HIV-serodiscordant couples. “Serodiscordant” refers to couples in which one partner is living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and one is not. PrEP is a daily dose of the antiretroviral medication Truvada, taken as a prevention measure by HIVnegative individuals at substantial risk for contracting the virus. This study was conducted via an anonymous online survey with both quantitative and open-ended questions to determine whether there is any relationship between the use of PrEP and relationship satisfaction in HIVserodiscordant couples. Data was analyzed by comparing people in serodiscordant couples in which the HIV-negative partner is using PrEP with people in serodiscordant couples in which PrEP is not used. No statistically significant results were found. A thematic analysis was conducted of the answers to the qualitative questions. Participants who were using PrEP (either taking PrEP themselves or partnered with someone taking PrEP) were more likely to name Sexual and Physical Connection as a way that their partner provided emotional support and as one of the best things about their relationship. Respondents from this group were also more likely to cite the theme of Comfort, Safety, and Trust as one of the best things about their relationship, although this theme was reported by both groups. Participants from the non-PrEPusing group were unique in reporting Closeness as one of the best things about their relationship and in reporting the themes of Age/Time/Future and Communication as things they would like to change about their relationship.




iii, 56 pages : color illustration. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 43-47)

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