Three Reasons to Not Reveal Your HIV Status During the Holidays
By Candace Y.A. Montague
November 22, 2011
The holiday season is upon us once again. For some it is joyous. For others it is torturous. No matter how you feel about visiting relatives and eating countless plates of food, it is safe to say that the holiday season is not a good time to disclose to your family that you are HIV positive. Here are three simple reasons why:
1. The holiday season is not about you. Yes it is convenient for you to get it all out and tell everyone at one time instead of repeated phone calls but isn't that a tad selfish. Revealing your status during the holidays will inevitably turn the focus to you. Your family will have questions. Lots of questions. They will worry about you. They may cry for you. Enjoy each other's company and the love of your family for now. You can educate them all year long about HIV.
2. It's a festive occasion. The key word here is festive. HIV is not a death sentence but the stigma surrounding it can be. Even discussing HIV/AIDS in general can put a damper on the mood. Your family may have been very supportive in the past but do they know enough about this virus to not freak out when you tell them your status. Some people need a lot of comfort to deal with potentially devastating news. And grandma's cooking is not enough. Holidays are times for making memories not for futile mourning.
3. If you are newly diagnosed, you need to take time to deal with your diagnosis. Any major threat to a person's health can be debilitating to the human spirit. If you haven't confronted the news and put things into perspective yet (like the fact that you will live on with HIV), you are liable to fall apart at any given moment. Anything can trigger that feeling of mourning and sadness and ruin your holiday. Seek counseling to help you cope with your diagnosis (or any other issues) before talking with your family.
Absorb the love, laughter and memories of the holidays and leave your troubles in the yard with the decorations.
D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner
Candace Y.A. Montague
Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC Examiner.com and emPower News Magazine.
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