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Word on the Street

Tips on Telling Others You're Positive


Damaries Cruz

Damaries Cruz, Deerfield Beach, Fla., diagnosed in November 1991

You've got to get to know the person at least a little bit and feel if it's worth it for you to tell them that you are HIV positive. But if you are going to be intimate, then you definitely have to tell them you're positive. It depends on you. If you like this person and you think they're educated enough, you should tell them.

People notice here that I'm positive because of the kind of work I do, because I've done campaigns. They even have an intervention tool and I'm a participant on it. It's really cool. But if you were in a regular place and it's not necessary for you to disclose, why would you disclose?

What's your experience been?

I worked in the corporate world before I was with the [Miami-Dade County] Health Department and it was nothing related to HIV. I never told them because it has nothing to do [with my job] -- if I'm a receptionist, why am I going to tell them that I'm HIV positive? It's not like they're going to get it from the phone. You've got to educate yourself and know what type of risk you're putting people in. If you think you're putting people at risk, you should disclose it if that's what you want to do.

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