Vengeance, HIV disclosure, and perceived HIV transmission to others

David A. Moskowitz, Michael E. Roloff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Feelings of vengefulness result from being treated unfairly. However, some individuals are more sensitive to unfair treatment and more likely to demand restitution than others. Degrees of vengefulness may influence behavior in HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM), where highly vengeful men may seek limited retribution by placing others at risk, for example, by failing to disclose their HIV-status to sexual partners. This study examined the tendency towards vengefulness in HIV-positive MSM and its associations with disclosure and condom use behaviors. Results showed that greater certainty of from whom participants had contracted HIV was associated with lowered vengefulness over time. Though condom use did not vary by vengefulness, MSM reporting higher vengefulness concealed their HIV serostatus more than men reporting less vengefulness. Vengeance was not related to individuals' perceptions that they had transmitted the disease to others. Overall, the data suggested identifying one's HIV transmitter was reconciliatory. Men reporting higher vengefulness might also derive a sense of justice from not disclosing their serostatus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-728
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Condom use
  • HIV disclosure
  • HIV transmission
  • Negative affect
  • Vengeance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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