The shock of an HIV positive diagnosis
As with any life-threatening disease, it is a great shock when you have first been diagnosed. At first, it does not register and your mind reels like you are in a very bad dream. With HIV you also must live with the fact that you are infected with a virus that you are never going to be rid of. A virus that can if you are not careful to be transmitted to others. HIV is a very personal disease and who you tell or how you wish to disclose it is up to you. It will probably be one of the hardest things you will even have to do but it is a conversation that is of the utmost importance and one you will have to do!
Who really needs to know your HIV status?
- Current spouse, partners, lovers and or potential and future ones
- Anyone with whom you may have shared a needle
- You may also need/want to tell previous sexual partners
- Close family and friends
Why do they need to know?
- Some states now have a law that enforces this it is called the “partner notification law”
- You have a moral obligation to do so, so others may get themselves tested so they too can start treatment
- It is best to tell loved ones yourself rather than them hearing it from someone else. This is a time a person needs all the support they can get. It is best to build that support and not distant them. Your emotional well being is just as important as your physical one.
- Telling those that need to know relieves the stress of keeping it inside and getting it out will give you peace of mind which in turn is better for your health.
Preparing yourself to tell your loved ones
- Make sure you are ready to do so and that you, yourself fully understand what it means to be HIV positive.
- Research HIV and make sure you understand your condition, so you can help others understand it.
- Mostly be sure that if you reveal your status it is not going to put you in harm’s way.
- You will know when you are ready to do so but do not wait too long and join a support group that can help and encourage you.
You will know the right time and place to have the conversation with those you choose to have it with. Be prepared for varied reactions, be strong and it is always best to have someone beside you to back you up, give you the extra nudge, strength and support you while breaking the news.