Telling someone about your HIV status can be difficult. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but doing it in a way that feels most comfortable to you can help.

Telling other people about your HIV is completely up to you and anyone you share with should feel grateful that you have confided in them. Young people we work with have said that having a family member, close friend or someone else in their lives that knows they have HIV, and who treats them the same, has brought them lots of emotional relief. It has given them a space where they can fully be themselves.

Preparing for possible reactions

Even though we all hope for a good reaction, there is no telling how the other person will respond. It’s important that you feel well prepared for whatever reaction you may get.

It’s also good to think about who you are planning to tell, and if it’s the right decision. Ask yourself: 

  • Why do I want that person to know about my HIV status?
  • What would it be like if the person I tell then tells other people?
  • What does this person already know about HIV? Can I start up a conversation about what I’ve read about HIV online and see how they react?
  • Have I ever told this person a secret before? Did they keep it?