The most difficult thing you may ever have to do is tell someone you have HIV. Disclosing your HIV diagnosis is difficult but sometimes necessary. Being HIV positive alone is very difficult. Having support will help but the first thing you need to do is tell someone you are HIV positive. This "how-to" will help with HIV disclosure making it as stress-free as possible.
Time Required: As Much As You Need
- Know why you want to tell the people you are telling. What do you want from them?
- Anticipate their reaction. What's the best you can hope for? What's the worst you will have to deal with?
- Learn as much as you can about HIV.
- Have articles or printed material to give to the person to help them understand.
- Get support. Talk it over with someone you trust and come up with a plan.
- Accept the reaction. You can't control the fears and feelings of others.
- Be patient. It may take some time for those you tell to process the information.
- Past sexual partners should be told you are HIV positive so they can be tested.
- Local health departments or your health care provider can assist with partner notification and can do it anonymously.
- Health care providers can give you more appropriate medical care if they know you complete medical history. Disclosing your status to your health care team is important.
- Be sure you are ready to tell and are able to handle the reactions you may receive.