Stay Close and Connected to People Who Care About You

Learning you have HIV—and talking about it—can be some of the most difficult parts of having the condition. You do not have to go through this alone. As a matter of fact, you may find a new family because of it. You may connect with and learn from others who've been there.

Think about who should be told (like your sexual partner) and confide in them.

Your HIV status is a very personal matter and you might not be ready to tell everyone. Some people may not understand, or you might feel the need to protect them from the worries you may feel with your HIV status. But you may also be surprised at how supportive your loved ones can be. You should also consider telling close friends or family members, because they may help you in times of need.

Talking With Your Partners

Strong relationships are based on trust and honesty. At the end of the day, it’s up to you who you choose to tell, and when. Your sexual partners, however, must be made aware of your status.

You and your partner should routinely talk about sex, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and condom use. In many cases it won’t be an easy conversation. But in the end, you will be more confident that you and your partner are making informed decisions.

Having HIV infection does not mean that you have to give up sex.

In fact, now is the time for a healthier relationship with sex. In the interest of self-care and the care of your partner:

  • Learn safer sex practices and use them. Remember, safer sex is about more than not only passing HIV to anyone else. There are many other diseases around that you do not want to catch from another person.
  • If you are being threatened with physical or emotional abuse, let someone know what is happening to you (you cannot have a healthy sex life if you don’t feel safe).
  • Support groups offer excellent opportunities to discuss sexual and relationship issues.

There are no hard rules when it comes to disclosing your HIV status. There is no right time. The best time is when you are ready. An AIDS service organization (ASO) will get you connected to the people who can help you, no matter what your needs.

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