Disclosure is when you share your HIV status as HIV-positive to others. Here’s a list of the concerns you might have and the benefits you should think about for HIV disclosure.
Treatment for HIV has come a long way, but some people might have outdated or wrong ideas about the virus. If you want to share your status with someone who doesn’t understand HIV well, try telling them about your status with a healthcare professional in the room or on the phone. A healthcare professional can help you explain how treatment for HIV has changed over the years and continues to get better.
There is still a lot of stigma around HIV. Telling someone that you’re HIV-positive might lead them to assume things about you like your sexual orientation or sexual behaviors. Being HIV-positive doesn’t mean that any of those assumptions are true.
A sexual relationship is serodiscordant when one partner has HIV but the other(s) do not. If someone in your relationship doesn’t have HIV, telling them that you do can feel impossible. Remember, as long as you continue to take your antiretrovirals (HIV medication) every day to keep your viral load undetectable, it’s very hard for your partner(s) to get HIV from you. It may be helpful to explain U=U to your partner(s) with a healthcare provider. Read more about talking to your partner(s) about your status in the next section.
Telling others about your HIV status might make you feel exposed. It could feel like you’re sharing a very part of yourself you might not like or believe to someone. Disclosing is not for everyone, but disclosing your status could be an important step in accepting your diagnosis and making plans live in control of your HIV.
The way people feel about HIV is changing. If you share your HIV status with others, they may want to know how you feel and what they can do to help. You can use positive reactions to teach others about HIV medications, U=U, and connect them to websites like For HIMM where they can learn more about being an ally.
Finding a Community
Sharing your status might lead you to meet others who also have HIV. Finding others that share and understand your experiences can help you build strong friendships and relationships.
Being told that you have HIV can make you feel alone. By sharing your status with others, you can start to find people that want to support you as you learn to live with HIV. If the people around you understand how important your HIV medications and doctor’s appointments are to your health, they might also be interested in doing what they can to help you stay healthy.