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Telling Others You Have HIV

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.

Wise Words | Connect With Others | Ask the Experts | The More They Know

George Burgess

George Burgess
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?'"

Read more about George or watch a video of him.

Read about how other people disclosed their HIV status.

Wise Words: Guidance on Disclosing Your HIV Status

Preparing to Tell Others You're HIV Positive
Telling others you're HIV positive is not something you rush into. There are important personal steps to take before disclosing your status to others.

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Telling Others You're HIV Positive
There are plenty of pros and cons to disclosure. This article provides some general guidelines about specific people you may want to tell.

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Disclosure and HIV
Disclosure means telling someone that you are living with HIV (HIV+). Sharing your HIV status can help with the stresses of living with HIV. But whom to tell and how to tell them can be complicated and difficult decisions.

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Talking With Your Children About Your HIV Status or Your Children's Status
When thinking about talking to your children about your HIV status -- or their status -- remember what you already know about your family: how your children learn new information, and what feels best for your family. There's no right way, but here are some steps to prepare.

More links:

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Wise Words | Connect With Others | Ask the Experts | The More They Know

Bernadette Berzoza

Bernadette Berzoza
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."

Read more about Bernadette's life, in English or Spanish and learn from her experience taking HIV meds.

Read about how other people disclosed their HIV status.

Connect With Others

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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?

-- hivstudent

Read the full post and join the conversation!

Ask the Experts

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.

"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."

David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., responds

Wise Words | Connect With Others | Ask the Experts | The More They Know

Jahlove Serrano

Jahlove Serrano
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."

Read more about Jahlove.

Read about how other people disclosed their HIV status.

The More They Know

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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:

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