After being diagnosed with HIV, one of the toughest decisions you'll face is who to tell about your status. Friends, family, lovers, coworkers: How do you decide, and what's the best way to break the news?
There is no "right" way to disclose your HIV status. It all depends on the situation and how you get along with the people you're thinking about telling. Check out this list for some excellent information that will help you decide to whom and how and when to tell friends and loved ones that you have HIV.
Diagnosed in April 1995
"I think my dad had the best response when I told him I was HIV positive: 'Son, I love you. We'll get through this.' A soldier, true to his heart. You know, a soldier with compassion: 'We'll get through this, son. What do we need to do?'"
Diagnosed in September 1989
"When I told a friend I was HIV positive, she got up off the chair and hugged me. I think at that time, that's all I needed."
You're not alone! Find out what other people with HIV are saying about their experiences telling others, or start your own conversation.
I was just diagnosed last month and whenever I talk with with my parents I feel really bad. I have been looking for ways to tell them, but I just could not find one. I have two younger brothers that Mom needs to take care of; she is a teacher and works six days a week. I cannot tell her now! Dad won't get it! I mean they will react in a very huge bad way, and I cannot live with this. I do not wanna be selfish, yet not telling them is selfish as well. BUT I NEED HELP! What am I gonna do?
"I have gone on a hook up website ... I rarely get any 'hits.' I am thinking about creating a new profile stating that I am HIV-. I won't have unprotected sex but I have to get laid."
Diagnosed in 2005
"One of the best responses that I got when I disclosed was that 'you're not alone.' And to hear that coming from somebody that didn't know me was definitely empowering. It meant in so many ways: You're not alone in fighting this; you're not alone in that people care about you; and you're not alone, period -- God is on your side."
One of the problems with telling people you're HIV positive is that you also become their teacher. They may not know the first thing about the virus. And it's not their fault. HIV has not been taught very well throughout the U.S. and ignorance abounds. These resources can help them (and you!) learn some of the most important basic info about HIV: