If you have recently tested positive, or even if you have been living with HIV for a few years, the concept of relationships – from choosing a partner to friends and family knowing your HIV positive status – can be challenging. We also know that each situation is unique and working through relationship pathways is complex.
First and foremost, know that we are here to help and that you can contact us by phone or email to ask questions or to talk more about your particular concerns and situation. Sometimes it’s easier to map out possible scenarios with another person to help arrive at your best solution. We can help with other resources or referrals as well, if needed. Sometimes we all just need another person to hear our story.
Check Out: Living with HIV: Starting Points by Toronto People with AIDS Foundation & CATIE.
People living with HIV often struggle to tell others about their status. Telling potential partners, family and friends all have unique challenges, based on your personal comfort level, fear of stigma (worry based on their lack of correct information), and perceptions that you might haveabout how others will respond to your news.You don’t have to tell everyone, and definitely not all at once. This is a very personal journey that you will take, and one that will be defined by you. There are some helpful things to know and lots of information out there that can help you.
Telling Someone You are Living with HIV: BC Positive Living
Partners & Serodiscordant Couples
People, especially those recently diagnosed, often talk about their fear of not having intimate relationships anymore, or that their partner will desert them, or the worry that if they do stay together that they will make the other“sick.” It’s not that there are no challenges, but they can be overcome.We see many people living with HIV who have long, loving, intimate relationships with people who are positive as well aspeople who are HIV-. A couple where one partner is negative and one is positive is referred to as “serodiscordant.” It sometimes may be a challenge, but it is possible to maintain that support, love and intimacy.
(HIV Prevention Within Serodiscordant Couples: A Changing Paradigm by James Wilton at CATIE)
Talking about HIV with others is never easy and disclosing your status to someone with whom you plan to be intimate is even more challenging.There are times when the law might say that you need to disclose your status, and there are times when you do not have to disclose – and when a request to do so would be an infringement on your rights.
We have put together the most current information on these topics for you to review.We know that it’s a tough thing to think about, and we hope that you will contact us to talk and help you explore these issues.We can also refer you to other organizations,or help to act as an advocate with you.
Positive Women’s Network website Poz Women re-disclosure
(Three fact sheets for people living with HIV on HIV Disclosure and the Law from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network)
(Online booklet on talking with others about your HIV status from Positive Living BC, “Telling Someone You are Living with HIV”
(Fact Sheets on HIV Disclosure for Positive Women)
Disclosure pamphlet series