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.

146 comments

  1. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Friendly, thank you for sharing this. It is really great to hear about your story and how you are helping to educate people. Unfortunately you are correct about stigma being one of the final problems to address. However, continuing as you are and with how developments are progressing, hopefully stigma will diminish and one day no longer be an issue.

  2. friendly

    I have been positive for five years, and for the last four I did not pursue any sex. I decided to change this, and I also decided I must inform a potential lover before things evolve too far. so far I am 2 out of 3, to the good. two women I told already understood the whole U=U thing and had no problem with it. the third one was a different story, but I feel good about my commitment to inform early on regardless. i have also started telling other people in my life about my status, family and friends… it is all going well. each situation is still nerve wracking, we (people) all fear rejection in so many ways, not just because of hiv. but I have also educated a bunch of people who had no idea that the new drugs are so dramatically effective and we can all live normal healthy lives… I want to help raise awareness about this, the U=U thing is gaining some traction, but there is still so much ignorance and stigma… which is really the only problem us undetectable folks face these days. in five years it will be way different, I expect. don’t let fear of rejection stop you from living life… be brave in the face of that fear. that is what heroes do. they are just as afraid as all of us but don’t let it stop them.

  3. Josh Peasegood

    Hi Simon, thank you for sharing your advice. I would like to bring this thread to your attention: https://i-base.info/qa/320 It speaks a lot as to what you are suggesting. It is important to remember that sharing your status is personal and needs to be done when you feel safe and comfortable. There is still so much stigma around HIV and people are still battling with it today.

  4. Simon

    You did good,but i only accept when ur U=U viral load my dear for u shake
    Being able to tell this kind
    Of news may be aworried
    and burden on you side so the mistake made must be undeline;
    1.remind him for testing instead becoze u can’t hide for long and you don’t just comeout dat he ‘s neg-ve ,yet maybe post+ve dia
    2.if you find that he s hiv -ve upon testing ,be careful read him pshycologically i hope everyone is born with even alittle knwldge
    3.when he really love you n u feel it,declare the news to him the way as followed would work
    a).i am hiv +ve would you still married me or not
    b)i am hiv+ve would you ‘like’ me again
    c).i am hiv +ve would you still let me be path of you
    Make sure you don’t force anything with him talk independently ,showed +ve response for +ve responses 2u my dia but when he turns neg-ve on you then don’t interacts more with him
    *Note that you are note alone in this even da proffession doctor may stigmatis n you may be offended*then whom shall u fear
    Friends,brothers and sisters lets love those who has hiv/aids
    To those who are hiv/aids negative avoid stigma and freguently get tested

    Continue takinq ur meds correctly in openly or private coze this z ur saftey u can decide where to
    But make sure on ahealthy area pliz!!

  5. 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?

  6. 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

Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *