Personal Life Disclosure
I am going to discuss the various aspects of personal disclosure regarding HIV status. This type of disclosure is the process of informing another person about how you are living with HIV. Unfortunately, we cannot be sure how somebody will react to our disclosure. This makes it harder for some of us to decide to share that information with other people.
The process of disclosure
For me, one of the most important steps in this process is deciding to whom I feel comfortable disclosing. I say this because I am not at a point where I am okay with the entire world knowing about my status. Due to this, I had to strongly consider which people in my life would be trustworthy enough to know my secret. I am by no means trying to be rude, I must keep in mind which individuals would not tell the whole world.
Who do I disclose to?
Additionally, I know I must consider which individuals would be able to handle the information. Due to the fact that the general society is not up to date on all the current information about HIV, there are still many individuals who still believe HIV today is like HIV in the 1980s.
I do not want to spend my life arguing with people or trying to constantly inform them that my life is far from being over. An example of this would be my grandparents. They are way too old to take in all of the new information about HIV and would be heartbroken because they would strongly believe my life would never be normal.
When someone else discloses your HIV status
My case was honestly an intense situation that led to doctors finding out that I was positive. I was in a coma and the doctors informed my ex-husband. Logically, he informed my mother and sister who were there assisting with my care.
Unfortunately, he broke my trust by informing basically all his family about my status without considering how I would feel about the situation. My sister ended up intervening while I was unconscious and told him he could not share that information without my consent.
Having a person who is aware of our medical conditions
While I am extremely cautious over who I inform about my status, I do feel like we all need somebody in our lives that is aware of our medical conditions. I believe this due to the possibility of something happening. If you end up in a hospital and are unable to answer the health questions, then your designated person would have full knowledge of what is going on with your health.
I strongly believe in having a medical power of attorney set up in case of an extreme emergency. My fight with PCP pneumonia that almost killed me makes me understand how easy it is for something to remove my ability to make decisions for myself.
Different aspects to consider
I hope this has helped you consider the different aspects of personal disclosure in your individual life. There is never a reason to rush to inform friends or family, although I can say that it is nice to have somebody to be able to discuss HIV-related issues and not be judged. We all need support.
Have you gone through the part of personal disclosure yet? Do you have a medical power of attorney established?
Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your HIV status?