AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 5, pp 1496–1502 | Cite as

Positive and Negative Self-Conscious Emotion and Transmission Risk Following HIV Diagnosis

  • Abigail W. Batchelder
  • Adam W. Carrico
  • Michael Acree
  • Frederick M. Hecht
  • Judith Tedlie Moskowitz
Original Paper


While negative emotions are associated with risk behaviors and risk avoidance among people with HIV, emerging evidence indicates that negative self-conscious emotions, those evoked by self-reflection or self-evaluation (e.g., shame, guilt, and embarrassment), may differentially influence health-risk behaviors by producing avoidance or, conversely, pro-social behaviors. Positive emotions are associated with beneficial health behaviors, and may account for inconsistent findings related to negative self-conscious emotions. Using multinomial logistic regression, we tested whether positive emotion moderated the relationships between negative emotion and negative self-conscious emotions and level of condomless sex risk: (1) seroconcordant; (2) serodiscordant with undetectable viral load; and (3) serodiscordant with detectable viral load [potentially amplified transmission (PAT)] among people recently diagnosed with HIV (n = 276). While positive emotion did not moderate the relationship between negative emotion and condomless sex, it did moderate the relationship between negative self-conscious emotion and PAT (AOR = 0.60; 95% CI 0.41, 0.87); high negative self-conscious and high positive emotion were associated with lower PAT risk. Acknowledgment of both positive and negative self-conscious emotion may reduce transmission risk behavior among people with HIV.


Negative self-conscious emotion Positive emotion Shame HIV High-risk sex 



The data used in this manuscript are taken from two studies of people recently diagnosed with HIV: an observational study to assess stress and coping (R01MH068170) and a clinical trial assessing a positive affect intervention (R01MH084723). This work was also supported by T32AT003997, K24MH093225, and K24 AT007827.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abigail W. Batchelder
    • 1
    • 2
  • Adam W. Carrico
    • 3
  • Michael Acree
    • 2
  • Frederick M. Hecht
    • 2
  • Judith Tedlie Moskowitz
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryMassachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine, Osher Center for Integrative MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Prevention Science & Community HealthUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  4. 4.Department of Medical School Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Osher Center for Integrative MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

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