Pros, cons and practicalities
There are lots of reasons why you might want to tell people that you have HIV, not least the valuable support the people closest to you can to provide.
Being open about having HIV can mean that you don't have to live with the stress of keeping a secret and, if you feel comfortable being open about your HIV status, it can be a very powerful way of fighting the stigma surrounding HIV.
However, many people prefer only to tell those closest to them and find that their HIV status is simply irrelevant in most situations.
Although you can tell people you have HIV later, you cannot ‘un-tell’ somebody, so it makes sense to think carefully about who you tell, particularly when you have only recently found out you have HIV.
Telling people that you have HIV can seem like a daunting or even frightening task and you may be worried about the reaction of the person you want to tell. It can help to be prepared with answers to questions they might have, particularly about your health and how HIV is passed on. Sometimes you might find yourself supporting and reassuring the people who you told about your HIV.
We all react in different ways and you may find that your feelings change at time goes on. You might decide to tell more people once you have come to terms with having HIV, or you may find that it doesn’t seem so important to tell people. Think about what’s best for you right now.
If you decide to tell somebody that you have HIV, it can help to think carefully about what you are going to tell them, and how, where and when you are going to do this. Also think about how they might react and prepare to answer questions that you think they might ask.
Be clear about who they can and cannot share information about your HIV status with. They may want to talk to someone, particularly if they are upset.