Before you tell anyone you’re HIV positive, it’s a good idea to make sure that you ’re ready to do so, and that you understand why you want to tell them. Think about what you want in return, and be prepared for a whole range of reactions – good and bad.

Think about when would be the right time to tell someone. Do you feel you need or want to tell someone – is it the right time for you? On the other hand, is it the right time for them? If they’re rushing out of the door, or busy with something else, then it’s probably not the best time. Make sure that they have the time to listen to you and also time to let it sink in.

It may also be a good idea to choose to tell people in surroundings that are familiar and that you feel comfortable with. This may help to keep you calm and relaxed, especially if you are unsure about the reaction you’re going to get.

Remember that you haven’t changed – you’re just giving someone a new piece of information about yourself. Be very clear where you are coming from, and it may help to explain to someone why you are telling them about having HIV. If someone finds what you’re telling them difficult to deal with, it will probably make it easier for them if you give them an idea about what you want them to do with this new information. It may also help you to get the support from people that you need. For example, you could say:

  • ‘I’ve got some news – I’ve been diagnosed with HIV and I’d like some support from you.’
  • ‘I’m positive and I’m telling you because you’re important to me.’
  • ‘I’m positive and I’m telling you because I’d rather know now if you can’t handle it.’
  • ‘I’m HIV positive and I’d rather you knew that before we had sex.’
  • It’s important to be clear with whoever you are telling whether or not you want them to keep the news to themselves. If there are people you would like them to talk to, or people you wouldn’t mind them talking to, be clear with them who these people are.

Whatever and whenever you decide to tell someone, if you need some more advice before you do then you can always ask to speak to a health adviser at your clinic, or you could talk to a professional counsellor.

For help finding a counselling service that is suitable for you, call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221.

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