How to Tell Others if You Are HIV Positive
Perhaps one of the hardest things to do is to tell people that one is HIV positive. If you have to go through this ordeal, it is better to be well prepared so that you know how to tackle the situation. Here we shall see a few things that could help you in this difficult situation.
Remember that there is no compulsion on you to tell people that you are HIV positive unless you are putting them at risk in some way, such as your sex partner. You may also want to tell people you can trust such as close family members and friends. But, before you go ahead to talk about these things, you should make sure that you are prepared to do it.
Take your time. It is not going to be an easy conversation. You have been living with this knowledge of being HIV positive for some time now, but for the people you tell it to, it will be a shock. Be prepared to face extreme reactions.
Also be prepared to answer their questions. They might ask you how you got it, and they might want to know if they are safe. You should have answers to these questions before you break the news to them.
Whom to Tell?
Any future sex partner that you have must definitely know that you are HIV positive. This helps them to make an informed decision but it protects you legally too. In all 50 states of the US, it is a legal offense to infect someone knowingly.
Apart from them, you need to tell the closest members of your family. They will help you with support programs and the overall treatment. It is imperative that you have them on your side. You could also decide to break the news to your close friends.
You might wonder whether you have to tell the news to your employer. You are not legally bound to do so and it is perfectly all right if you don’t tell them. But, you might have to tell them if you need some change in your work hours or days off to cope with the treatment.
How to Tell?
The best way is to tell people individually and face to face. Try to look for an opportunity where you won’t be disturbed for a while and where you can talk freely. There might be a long discussion once you break the news and there will be emotional upheavals.
If you are not comfortable in telling people directly, you could enlist the help of a family member or a friend. Or you could also tell people over the phone or email. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to do this. Do whatever makes you the most comfortable.
Put Yourself First
As an HIV positive patient, you need to think of yourself first. When thinking of telling people, think how it will benefit you. Do not think about the people around you but of yourself first.
So long as you do the right thing and do not prove to be harmful to anyone, you could tell people you are HIV positive your own way. This is not the time to think of courtesy of social obligation.