Coping in serodiscordant couples: the role of HIV-negative partners' coping strategies in health outcomes of their HIV-positive partners

Effective anti-retroviral drug regimes are helping people with HIV live healthy for longer periods of time. As a result, people with HIV are increasingly able to enter long-term relationships, a development which has implications for the course of their disease. For example, there is research indicating that people with HIV have a higher risk of their disease progressing when they perceive negative support from family or friends. Eli Puterman is examining coping methods in relationships involving an HIV-negative person with a HIV-positive partner. He is studying how these couples cope with both HIV disease and the interpersonal problems that emerge from the illness. Eli hopes to reveal insights about how the interaction of coping methods affects the mental and physical health of people with HIV. The research will help identify coping strategies that either buffer the effects of HIV disease or contribute to increased suffering. The study could also help improve mental health treatments for couples coping with chronic illnesses in general.