8 THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE TELLING PEOPLE YOU'RE HIV POSITIVE
NOT EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW
If you’ve just been told you’re HIV positive, it’s probably a good idea not to tell anyone right now. Take time to think about who you want to tell and when. Telling people about your HIV should be on your terms, not other people's.
ONCE IT'S OUT THERE, IT'S OUT THERE
Remember that you’re sharing important and sensitive information about yourself. Once it’s out there, you’re not going to be able to take the information back. Think about whether the people you decide to tell will be able to keep the information to themselves.
WHO IS GOING TO BENEFIT?
Think about your reason for disclosing. If there isn’t some benefit for you somewhere along the line, it may just be that you don’t need to tell, or don’t need to tell just yet. No-one has a ‘right’ to know: it’s your decision, so don’t feel pressured into telling people, either by other people or by yourself.
REACTIONS CAN BE DIFFERENT
Be prepared for the reactions your disclosure might bring about. Most people find that the people they tell are supportive and understanding – but there’s still a lot of ignorance and fear about HIV. Think about how you’d cope with a negative response.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Think about when to tell. The right time to tell will be different depending on who you’re telling. The important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident when you do tell. You have every right to take as long as you need.
YOU ARE PROTECTED AT WORK
If you decide to disclose in work, or in the recruitment process, you are protected by the Equality Act - which means that you can’t be treated less favourably because of your HIV status. George House Trust Services Advisers can give you support around employment issues.
DISCLOSURE CAN BE EMPOWERING
When you’re ready to do it, telling people and talking about HIV openly is one way of challenging the stigma that’s still around – you might find, too, that it improves your own confidence levels.
HIV IS NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF
You’re living with a virus. The fact that some people still can’t accept this simple, medical fact really isn’t your problem.