What to Consider When Considering Disclosing

I have disclosed my status to so many people over the last few years - I honestly remember each conversation. I am sure that many people reading this might have not disclosed to anyone before and are here seeking guidance on how to go about doing this.

I personally do not feel that there is one correct way to disclose to someone, but I would like to share with you my insight on how to navigate these types of conversations.

No need to rush to disclosure

There is absolutely no rush when it comes to disclosing your status to your friends or your family. Disclosure should happen when you, and only you, are ready to have that conversation.

What first helped me was to educate myself on all things HIV which was, now, a large part of my life. I made sure to conduct a lot of research to debunk the many myths or misconceptions out there about HIV/AIDS within my community.

The first couple of times that I disclosed I did not have many answers for the questions that people were asking me. I quickly realized that being well informed would help me move along many conversations I was going to have in the future.

I then made sure to be aware of how much knowledge the person I was disclosing to had about HIV. I have dealt with empathy and concern, as well as a stigmatized approach to the conversation.

Overall, you should be aware of the other persons thoughts or feelings about HIV - that can help in gauging how the conversation will end.

Playing out the conversation before it happens

There have been many times I have discussions in my head about both the positive and negative ways that the conversation could go. I realized that going over each possible way in my head before would neutralize my feelings, and help me get through these types of conversations without disappointment.

Before having these conversations, I looked for support groups and therapy that could help guide me in the right direction. I personally found support groups were crucial in helping me move towards disclosing my status.

This or That

Have you ever tried an HIV support group?

The space and your safety

The most important thing to express is that confidentiality after disclosure is very important and crucial to the whole process.

You should also let your friends know what you are telling them is very personal and should be kept to themselves. I would always observe where exactly I would be disclosing as well because you never want to put yourself in danger or fear of someone reacting negatively in a group setting. I always chose places where it was more personal and private, when we would have enough time to discuss everything that we needed to.

Considerations when disclosing your HIV status

Disclosing your status to friends can be very difficult and uncomfortable. I have had to do this many of times and know that I will need to do it again in the future.

I hope that my past experiences can help inform you on how to navigate disclosing your status and help you through hard and uncomfortable conversations.

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The H-I-V.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Have you ever been unhoused or insecurely housed?