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Sharing Your Status.

  • Should I tell?

  • Telling family and friends

  • Telling your current partner

  • Telling a new partner

  • Work 

Should I tell?

If you’ve just been told you have HIV, you may be feeling upset or confused. You may want to talk about it with other people. But it’s probably not a good idea to rush into telling lots of people that you have HIV before you’ve got used to the news yourself.

Although you will still be able to tell people later on, you can never ‘un-tell’ someone.

On the other hand, telling the right person can be a very positive experience. It can help you to get support when you most need it, and it can sometimes make relationships stronger.

For each person who you are thinking of telling, think about why you want to tell them and what you hope to achieve by doing so. Telling someone about your HIV status should not be something you are pressured into doing. 

Try thinking about how this new information will affect the person. Imagine the best and worst way they could react.

You may also want to think about the best time and place to raise the subject, and make sure that you only tell people you can trust to keep it to themselves.

Did you tell anyone that you were going to have an HIV test? If you did, it’s worth thinking about how you’ll answer their questions.

Take your time, understand and get used to yourself and new situation, analyze reality and people you want to talk with and take decision on sharing your status afterwards. 

 

Telling family and friends

Whether to tell family and friends may depend on the type of relationship you have with them. If you don’t usually discuss personal matters, do you want to talk about this?

But there may be somebody you’re close to who has been helpful in the past. Is there someone calm, supportive and trustworthy you could turn to now?

Generally, people’s reactions will depend on what they know, or think they know, about the subject. There are lots of fears and myths associated with HIV. Some people you tell could be hostile or unkind.

Sometimes people do not know much about HIV, or have lots of questions. You might find it useful to have factual leaflets about HIV to hand to provide reassurance.

Other people may surprise you with their understanding and acceptance.

 

Telling your current partner

If you are in a relationship at the moment, telling your partner might open up a crucial source of support.

On the other hand, it could be a difficult situation for both you and your partner to deal with. There could be questions about how you acquired HIV. It may take some time for you and your partner to work through the issues that come up.

There may be concerns about whether you could have passed HIV on to your partner, or whether you could in the future.

Equally, there’s also the possibility that it was your partner who passed HIV on to you. It’s important that your partner gets tested for HIV.

Telling a new partner

Telling sexual partners, or potential partners, can be daunting. You might be worried about being rejected if you tell someone you have HIV.

Your partner may have concerns about the risk of HIV being passed on, but may not be aware that effective HIV treatment prevents this. Letting them know about undetectable viral load may help them feel less anxious about sex. It has helped many couples feel that one of them having HIV is not ‘a big deal’.

You do need to think about the law, especially if there is a risk of HIV being passed on.

Timing can be important. It can be difficult to talk about HIV when you have only just met someone, but putting it off may cause problems later on. Some people find it easier when the first contact is online, rather than face to face.  

 

Work 

As a general rule, your employer does not need to know about your HIV status – it doesn’t affects your ability to do your job.

it’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against employees (or potential employees) because they have HIV.

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