CHOOSING TO SHARE YOUR HIV STATUS

Choosing to tell someone that you’re living with HIV can feel like a big step. You never know how they might react and that can be challenging.

It’s important to know there is no right or wrong way to do it. Take your time and make sure you’re ready, and remember, if you never feel ready that’s ok too. The decision to share your status should always be your choice and your choice alone.

Below you can find support and advice for when you choose to tell others about your positive status.

TALKING TO OTHERS ABOUT HIV

  • <b>TIP 1</b>: Decide who you want to tell and why

    Telling others about your HIV status should always benefit you first. It’s your decision and you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing it.

  • <b>TIP 2</b>: Be prepared with the basics

    Make sure you know the facts about HIV – how it affects your body, how treatment works and why U=U means you can’t pass HIV on to your sexual partners. Remember, with effective treatment and care you can live a long, healthy and happy life. You can still have relationships, you can still have children, you can still work – you can still do everything anyone else might do.

  • <b>TIP 3</b>: It doesn’t have to be a big deal

    You can simply sit them down and say something like, “I live with HIV. It is a virus that makes my immune system weak so I cannot fight off infections easily like other people without HIV. I take medication which makes my immune system stronger. My HIV status doesn’t stop me from living my life the way I want to.”

  • <b>TIP 4</b>: Tell them if you don’t want them to share your HIV status with others

    Explain that this is because not everybody is understanding or has the right information about HIV. Say that you have chosen to tell them because you trust them and value your friendship or relationship with them.

  • <b>TIP 5</b>: Let them ask questions and share concerns

    This is important as it can help ease both of your minds. If they ask you a question you can’t answer just say “I am not sure about that but I will get back to you with the correct information”. Don’t try and answer or explain anything you are not sure about.

  • <b>TIP 6</b>: Peer support can be very helpful

    If you are not sure whether you are ready to tell others, speak to people you know who have told others about their HIV status. Listen to their experiences and find out what worked for them.

  • <b>TIP 7</b>: You don’t need to do this on your own

    Always remember that it’s your HIV status and how and when you tell others is your decision alone. Getting support from people you trust can make the process easier, so reach out if you feel ready.

NP-GBL-HVU-WCNT-210089 | December 2021

Sharing your HIV status
Sharing your HIV status

WHAT'S NEXT?

There was a time when HIV care focused solely on suppressing the virus. As HIV care has evolved, ensuring a good quality of life for people living with HIV is now just as important as effective HIV treatment and care.

Having a long, healthy life should be achievable for most people living with HIV today.1 This may mean that your health and treatment needs change over time.

Working together with your healthcare team to understand what's going on within your body may be the best way to get the most from your HIV care.

References:

  1. National Health Service. HIV and AIDS. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv-and-aids/. [Accessed September 2021]

NP-GBL-HVU-WCNT-210084 | December 2021