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Robert Klitzman

Columbia University

Robert Klitzman, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, will draw on in-depth interviews to examine issues of trust raised by the HIV epidemic. How do people trust a sexual partner who tells them they are not a carrier of the virus? Given the stigma associated with the disease, how do people with HIV decide whom to trust with knowledge of their illness? How are these decisions affected by social factors, such as ethnicity, gender, and social class? Klitzman will also study the case of HIV-infected physicians, who are often silent about their condition for fear of harming their careers. Klitzman will examine the psychological costs of keeping secret and the coded signals some people use to pass on their secret without having to discuss it directly.