To Tell or Not To Tell: Disclosing Your HIV Status : General disclosure tips

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To Tell or Not To Tell: Disclosing Your HIV Status
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General disclosure tips

You don't have to tell everyone. The choice is yours about whom to tell. Be selective.
Be sure to consider the five "W's" when thinking about disclosure: who, what, when, where and why. Who do you need to tell? What do you want to tell them about your HIV infection, and what are you expecting from the person you are disclosing your HIV status to? When should you tell them? Where is the best place to have this conversation? Why are you telling them?
Easy does it. In most situations, you can take your time to consider who to tell and how to tell them.
Consider whether there is a real purpose for you to tell this person or if you are simply feeling anxious and want to "dump" your feelings.
Telling people indiscriminately may affect your life in ways you haven't considered.
Having feelings of uncertainty about disclosing is a very common reaction in this situation.
You have a virus. That doesn't mean you've done anything wrong. You don't have anything to apologize for simply because you are HIV positive.
Keep it simple. You don't have to tell the story of your life.
Avoid isolating yourself about your status. If you are still not able to tell close friends, family members or other loved ones about your HIV status, allow yourself to draw upon the support and experience available to you, through organized groups in the HIV community. Consider the community forums for example.
There's no perfect roadmap for how to disclose. Trust your instinct, not your fears.
Whatever the response you receive in a specific situation, and even if it doesn't go the way you'd hoped, you're going to survive it and your life will go on.
Millions of others have dealt with this experience and have found their way through it. You will get through it too.
Choosing whom to tell or not tell is your personal decision. It's your choice and your right.

In the following sections, we take a closer look at some of the specific circumstances in which disclosure may be particularly important to you.

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Last Revised: June 27, 2012

This content is written by the POZ and AIDSmeds editorial team. For more information, please visit our "About Us" page.

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