Q and A

Question

How do I disclose my HIV status to potential partners?

I recently broke up with a man I loved because I told him I was positive.

I explained to him that my viral load has been undetectable for a year now and that I am doing well with treatment. I tried to inform him about positive people. He started behaving strangely after that. I confronted him him but he denied that my being positive had anything to do with the situation.

I never offended him and our relationship was okay before I told him. Infact we planned on the next level which was marriage and that is why I told him. But he told me never to call him again and that he did not even want to be in a relationship.

Then it occured to me that this is what I would have to go through for the rest of my life. It is painful to be rejected. I looked down on myself all week. I prayed for death every day. I want to be like everyone else. I have decided never to tell anyone about my status. I want to get married in life and have my own kids. I am not prepared to settle for less in life. But how do I tell a man about my status when I know it would send him running? This will make me lose my self esteem.

Currently, I am afraid of dating because I do not want to be rejected again.

Answer

Thank you for your question. I am sorry that this is still a common experience for many HIV positive people. But just because one person rejects you does not mean that everyone else will.

The is no easy way to tell someone you are positive – but it does get easier with practice.

Soemtimes talking in general about HIV gives you the chance to know how open this person will be to discussion. You might get positive response lthat the person knows about HIV, has had previous parttners or family that are positive, or they might even be positive themself.

If the person is ignorant, angry or agressive then it is better to find out sooner and not waste any more time on them. You want someone who will appreciate you for who you are, that you can share life with, and to have as few secrets as possible.

Do not let this one rejection determine your future.

Many HIV positive people are leading very fulfilling lives, something they never expected… So can you.

NOTE: this answer was updated in July 2016 from a question posted in March 2008.

142 comments

  1. Simon Collins

    Hi Tarito, thanks, this sounds complicated. I also have to say that there is no one right way – ten different people might make ten different suggestions.

    The big picture is that if your viral load is undetectable, there is no risk of passing HIV on – even if you never use condoms. See: https://i-base.info/u-equals-u/

    You can try to see how your partner feels about HIV by talking in general one day – when not being about you. If his ideas are too fixed to accept U=U then he is not a good person to be with.

    If he is open to the benefits of ART, then it is more likely he might support you. This sounds like something to talk about before thinking about marriage – but you can only do this is there is a safe situation to have this talk.

    Do you have other firends and family who support you?

  2. Tarito

    Hie Have been living with a men for 5months now he does not know about my statusbut I know his .he is nagetive and I am and we have been having unprotected sex for a while now he wants to marry me and we have informed evryoneabt our relationship I’m scared how will I tell him and won’t I get arrested because he hate HIV amongst all . please help me should I tell him or I should continue taking my madicine hiding it from him I tried to convince him to use protection but he does not want

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