Skip to content

    HIV & AIDS Health Center

    Select An Article

    Telling Others You’re HIV-Positive

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Telling others you're HIV-positive may be one of the most difficult things you ever do. There may be only one thing that's harder: the burden of carrying the secret alone. That doesn't mean you must tell everyone. Who you tell is a very personal decision. Here are some things to consider as you think about who, when, and how to tell others that you're HIV-positive.

    Who Should I Tell That I'm HIV-Positive?

    In general, it makes sense to tell those you trust that you're HIV-positive. Doing so may even help foster a greater sense of closeness. Think about people you've shared difficult things with in the past. You may want to start by telling a friend, a family member, or someone you know who is also HIV-positive or has been through a similar experience. These are other people you should tell:

    • Your health care providers
    • Your past sex or needle-sharing partners
    • Your future sex partners
    • A family member or trusted friend who is likely to be able to speak for you in a medical emergency.

    When considering whom to tell, think about questions like these:

    • Could this person harm me physically or emotionally?
    • Could this person discriminate against me, putting me at risk for losing my child, job, or housing?
    • Can I trust this person and are they likely to be supportive?
    • What will I gain by telling this person?

    Why Should I Tell People I'm HIV-Positive?

    Although you may want to be cautious about whom you tell, once you're ready, there are good reasons to tell certain people that you're HIV-positive.

    • You can gain emotional or practical support.
    • The person who infected you may not know they're HIV-positive until you tell them.
    • You can protect future sex partners, give them the ability to make informed decisions, and enhance the trust between you.
    • It's illegal in all 50 states to knowingly infect others. If you have unprotected sex without telling others, you're putting yourself at legal risk, as well as endangering the health of your partners.
    • Your health care providers can ensure the best medical care for you.
    1 | 2 | 3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    misconception
    How much do you know?
    contemplative man
    What to do now.
     
    research
    Should you be tested?
    HIV under microscope
    What does it mean?
     
    HIV AIDS Screening
    Slideshow
    man opening condom wrapper
    Quiz
     
    HIV AIDS Treatment
    Feature
    Discrimination Stigma
    Feature
     
    Treatment Side Effects
    Feature
    grilled chicken and vegetables
    Article
     
    obese man standing on scale
    Article
    cold sore
    Article