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Enhancing the health and social wellbeing of children and young people living with HIV

Talking About HIV

Talking about HIV means different things to different people. For young people it might mean talking to family members, friends, (potential) partners, school, work or doctors/nurses.

Young people who grow up with HIV typically find out about their HIV status later in life, some time after they have been initially diagnosed. As a young person gets older, there are a growing number of people they may want to talk to about living with HIV. This can include people who may already know about their status (e.g parents/carers or doctors/nurses) and people who do not know (e.g. friends/partners/boyfriends/girlfriends). 

How a young person is told about their own HIV status can impact how they feel about telling others.

Regardless of age, stigma and fear of rejection can prevent people with HIV from sharing this information. There are different things to consider if you are thinking about sharing your HIV status with someone new. It’s important to know the difference between who you would like to tell and who you have to tell. In fact, legally in the UK, there aren’t many people you have to share your HIV status with (only certain workplace situations). There could be benefits if you choose to talk about HIV though. These could include feeling freer and closer to loved ones who didn’t already know, or getting a better understanding of HIV and questions you may have during clinic appointments or at home. It’s important to start conversations at a time and in a way that works best for you and the people you are talking to. This area of the website provides advice on talking about HIV and things to think about in preparation.