When is it the right time to disclose your HIV+ status?
Knowing the right time to disclose your status can help you get the support you need to manage the virus and prevent possibly passing it on to someone else. Here’s what you need to know about when to tell someone you are HIV-positive.
When you need support
Going through your HIV diagnosis alone can be difficult and lonely. Getting it off your chest can help you get the support that you need to manage the virus and cope emotionally. If you feel that you need support from your loved ones and you’re ready to tell people, then it may be a good idea to talk to a family member or friend that you trust about your status. Remember, the friend or family member you choose to speak to has no right to tell anyone else about your status, unless you’ve asked them to.
When you get into a relationship
You’re not forced to tell your partner your status, unless you’ve decided to start having sex with them. It’s important to talk about HIV and other STIs as soon as you and your partner decide to have sex. Even if your partner is also HIV positive, it’s important to be transparent and still use a condom during sex.
When consulting a doctor
If you’re seeing a doctor or any healthcare professional and they ask you about any pre-existing conditions, it’s important to tell them about your HIV status if you’re HIV positive. This will help them decide the best course of treatment for you.
When you’re pregnant
Although an HIV test is mandatory when you find out you’re pregnant, if you already know that you are HIV-positive then it’s better to let your nurse or doctor know. This way, they can make sure you get the correct medication and prenatal care.
Proper prenatal care will help prevent you passing the virus on to your unborn child. Remember that even if you’re HIV positive, you can give birth to an HIV-negative baby with the right pregnancy and birthing care.
It takes a lot of courage to disclose your status in a society that still stigmatises people who are living with the virus. Know that you’re not alone and that you can still live a long and healthy life, as long as you take your treatment and choose a healthy lifestyle.
If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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