Who to tell?
If you are HIV positive, choosing who to tell can be a difficult decision and it's important to think about how different people may react to being told that you have been diagnosed with HIV. You may feel like telling people soon after you receive your HIV diagnosis - but remember that once you've told someone you can't 'un-tell' him or her.
Things to think about include:
- Why do I want to disclose my HIV status to this person?
- Are there any benefits to telling them?
- Are they good at talking about emotional issues?
- How would I like them to react ideally?
- What will I do if they don't react in the way I expect or hope for?
- Can I trust them not to tell other people?
Telling someone that you have HIV can be a very positive experience, but you have to be prepared for different reactions. Some people may become upset at your news, especially if they don't know much about HIV. It might be useful to have some basic information to hand for them to look at and provide reassurance. Once people realise you can lead a normal life with HIV they may be better able to support you.
Unfortunately some people may not react in the way you hope and may be unkind includes discriminatory. If this happens there is support available to you such as PT Foundation's MSM Poz, counselling and support groups.
But remember people might have a very positive reaction as well. Before disclosing it can be helpful to talk it over with a healthcare professional at your clinic or a counsellor.