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when is the right moment?
Apr 2, 2004

Dear Doctor: I have been told tha i am possitive a year ago. By that moment I was alone so I talked a lot about it with mi terapist and he made me see how important it was to let my ex boyfriend to know the facts in order him to make the tests. Fortunatelly he was not infected and he gave me all the support I needed, but it was easy to tell because we were no longer a couple. Now, after one year I am starting a new relationship and he doesnt know i am possitive. We havent had sex yet but we will and i dont know what should i do about telling him the facts, because I think any person who has that news never will be willing to have a relationship with a person who has HIV. So I will like to know when and how is the right moment to talk about it, because on the other hand, if I hide this facts, later, when i need to talk about it i will need to lie and tell him I have just been told... so i wont be telling him the truth. Please i will be waiting for your reply and thanks so much for the support. excuse my english by i am from Argentina and i have forgoten a lot my english, i hope you understand! Bye Paola

Response from Dr. Remien

Clearly you are aware of the issues related to disclosure of HIV status. People have different opinions about when is the best time to disclose. Everyone needs to figure this out for themselves and what they decide to do may vary depending on the situation. Here are a number of things for you to consider on the topic:

1. In the absence of disclosure, it is important to make sure that sex is protected.

2. Discussing HIV status is a 2-way conversation. (Are you even aware of his HIV status?) It is also a personal piece of information that one has the right to keep private (if they so choose) in certain circumstances. When and how the discussion comes up is dependent on the situation and the intimacy and trust between the people involved.

3. If you are uncomfortable not having it talked about, then why not get it out in the open so that it doesn't have to bother you anymore?

4. If someone is going to not want to be with you simply because you are HIV+, is this the type of person you would want to be with?!

5. It is absolutely not true that nobody would have a relationship with someone who is HIV+. This website is proof enough of that! Being HIV+ should not be something one needs to be ashamed of.

6. It is true that the longer things go on, the more difficult it can be to disclose. That is why most people do like to get it out sooner, rather than later.

7. Keeping secrets in relationships, especially when it is about something significant in one's life, does not make for good intimacy. Telling lies is worse.

8. While some people choose to tell other people about their HIV status immediately (such as on the first date), the more common rule of thumb is: try to have the discussion after a certain amount of trust is developed, but before the relationship goes on too long. As you know from experience, the exact timing of this can be a tricky thing.

9. If you want to discuss HIV, look for opportunities or perhaps even the desire to discuss it, from things the other person says.

10. In the end, it may be that bringing it up in conversation may be more about your need to have it be known than your partner's need to know.

Su Inglés es muy bien. Espero que Vd. puede entender todo de lo que yo he escrito.


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