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Tell Someone You Are HIV Positive


Updated January 10, 2009

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.
Difficulty: Hard
Time Required: As Much As You Need

Here's How:

  1. Know why you want to tell the people you are telling. What do you want from them?

    HIV Disclosure - Public Safety or Breach of Confidentiality

  2. Anticipate their reaction. What's the best you can hope for? What's the worst you will have to deal with?

    HIV Prejudice Around the World

  3. Learn as much as you can about HIV.

    HIV Diagnosis - Day #1

  4. Have articles or printed material to give to the person to help them understand.

    HIV Information on the Internet

  5. Get support. Talk it over with someone you trust and come up with a plan.

    Planning for Your Medical Care

  6. Accept the reaction. You can't control the fears and feelings of others.

    Dealing with HIV Related Depression

  7. Be patient. It may take some time for those you tell to process the information.

    Living Your Life with HIV


  1. Past sexual partners should be told you are HIV positive so they can be tested.

    What is Your Risk of HIV Infection?

  2. Local health departments or your health care provider can assist with partner notification and can do it anonymously.

    Our Free Online HIV Prevention Course

  3. 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.

    Tips for Finding a Great HIV Doctor

  4. Be sure you are ready to tell and are able to handle the reactions you may receive.

    Issues Facing HIV+ People

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  6. HIV Disclosure - HIV+ - HIV Diagnosis - HIV Positive - How to Tell Someone You Are HIV Positive

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