Living with HIV is not always easy. At difficult times, it may be a relief to talk to someone about it.
Telling people you have HIV can have positive effects. The people who know will understand you better and can give you better support.
When to talk about your HIV status
Talk about HIV when you are ready and you feel the need to talk about it. Many people feel the need to talk when:
- They just have been told they have HIV;
- They have to start taking their medicines;
- They start a new relationship;
- The pressure of living with a secret becomes too much to handle.
Choose the right moment for you.
People will ask you questions. Prepare yourself before you tell someone:
- Try to understand what is troubling you and what makes you insecure.
- Explain as clearly as possible what you are experiencing.
- Think about what you would like to achieve by telling someone.
- Do not expect an immediate answer or straight reaction from the person you tell it to.
Talk to people you trust and who can help you.
A lot of people do not know a lot about HIV or have prejudices. They may react strangely or negatively. That is not your fault. You can try to give them the correct information on HIV.
Your HIV status and the law
You have the right to decide whether you want to tell anyone in your everyday life that you have HIV.
It can be important to tell health professionals that you have HIV. Only if they know of your infection, they can take care of your health in the best possible way. You can freely talk to a health professional. He/she cannot give any information about you to anybody else. He/she is obliged by law to respect your privacy. He/she will not judge you.
People are not allowed to discriminate against you because you have HIV.