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should I tell my trainer I'm HIV positive?

Apr 17, 2012

I turned 50 last year and decided to get in to shape by joining a gym and getting a trainer. I see the trainer 2x a month and trust his knowledge. In addition to being HIV+ for the past 10 year, I also have 7 heart stents and see my doctors regularly. I maintain as healthy a diet as possible and take all my medications. My question is about trainers. I don't know how much they know about HIV and body shape when they are becoming certified. On the one hand I think this would influence what my trainer would have me do (ie exercise, weight lifting, etc) but on the other I'm not sure I should disclose this or how important it is for a trainer to know. I wish there was a way to know what information trainers learn about working with HIV+ clients and how to identify those who might be helpful to HIV+ people since we present different challenges to our bodies. Any suggestions?

Response from Mr. Vergel

Most trainers do not get any schooling on HIV at all. In fact, one of my friends in Fort Lauderdale that runs Push Fitness and has an HIV specific exercise program wants us to put together a curriculum for trainers who want to learn about how to address issues like neuropathy, wasting, lipodystrophy, high lipids, mobility issues, etc that many long term aging poz men and women experience.

Telling your trainer about your status can serve two purposes: for him to get educated about the needs of people like us and to find out if he is an understanding man who deserves your business. But I also understand that some people may be afraid to tell others due to fears about the news spreading around the gym and in their social circles. I do not know if this is your situation. If you have none of these concerns, I think it is a good thing to tell him about your status and your heart attack since he may be able to tailor an exercise program for both, provided that he has the proper training or is willing to do some research. If he wants to learn more, have him read "Built to Survive" ( Click here for the book )

Let me know if you do tell him what his reaction and attitude are.

Nelson Vergel

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