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Disclosure !!!!!
May 5, 2012

Hello Shannon,

I am a Heterosexual HIV + female. How can one disclose to someone who is living in another State? Should i wait until we have 1:1 meeting? I met with this guy once and after i returned to my state, he has been very engaged with me. He want to be in a serious longterm relationship. He is talking of Marriage but i find it difficult telling him over the phone.

What should i do? How can i start a conversation on disclosure? What are some of the words i can use?

Thanks-

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi Disclosure is the hardest aspect of living with HIV. We are never sure how the person we are telling is going to respond. Though I don't recommend telling someone over the phone, in your situation it's important for him to know all the information. Just like you would like to know the situations that he is involved with or bringing with him to the relationship. So that a decision can be made on whether he feels comfortable moving forward.

You also don't want to get your heart and feelings involved and then when you tell him have him be angry that you didn't tell him sooner and/or that he doesn't want to continue moving forward.

When you do decide to tell him, being calm and matter of fact is what I've found to be the best approach. If you are upset and crying and telling him you are about to tell him awful news you have put him a place to be upset and uncertain. If you say to him that you like him and want to continue getting to know one another to see where this is going and part of that is disclosing to him more about you and you trust him and know that this is information that he needs to know.

I know it's easier said than done. And you never know how someone is going to respond. The most important thing to remember is that how he reacts is not about you it is about how he is choosing to deal with it. It can be positive, negative or I need more information. Be open to how he chooses to deal with it.

I wish you well and I hope that you get the response that is best for you in the end!

Be well, Shannon



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