January/February #185 : Full Disclosure - by Jennifer Morton

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Full Disclosure

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January / February 2013

Full Disclosure

by Jennifer Morton

Deciding to tell someone you have HIV can be a difficult and daunting decision regardless of whether you just tested positive or have been living with the virus for decades. There’s no right way to do it, and each person you disclose to may react differently. The important thing to remember is to trust your instincts—it’s your choice to decide whom to tell and when.

We asked you to recount the details of your disclosures. Here are your responses:


If people respond negatively when you disclose, do they change their attitude?
Always - 11%
Sometimes - 61%
Never - 28%

Do you believe the manner in which you disclose influences how someone reacts?
Yes - 82%
No - 18%

Has disclosure gotten easier the more you’ve done it?
Yes - 53%
No - 47%

Do you believe disclosing your status can improve your overall health?
Yes - 68%
No - 32%

Top 5 factors that influence disclosure
  1. The need for emotional help/support
  2. I believe people around me deserve to know
  3. Seeing people comfortable with my HIV status helps me feel more comfortable with it
  4. Disclosing gives me a chance to educate others about HIV
  5. Keeping my status a secret negatively affects my health

When did you first disclose your status to someone?
Immediately - 65%
Never - 1%
Days - 15%
Weeks - 6%
Months - 7%
Years - 6%

79% of you feel obligated to reveal your status to a potential sexual partner.

56% of you have had sex with someone without disclosing.

Search: disclosure, health benefits, HIV education, emotional support, stigma

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