Greeting Brothers and sister.

One of the hardest things to face when living with HIV is whether (or when) to tell family and/or friends about your condition. As with most things, I assume that this is different for different people- but whether you decide to tell people or not, it will be one of the hardest things you will face in your life. Either because you have build the courage to tell people and face the inevitable stigma attached to HIV, or because you have to live your life effectively lying to EVERYBODY.

For me it is the latter, so i shall start by explaining why I have chosen not to tell anyone……yet. I say yet because I only found out 10 months ago, and maybe one day I will change, but for now it is a definate NO! Even if this is not something you have had to consider in your life, im sure you can appreciate how incredibly hard it must be. There is still a stigma attached to HIV, and while I am pleased to see that the world is changing its attitude to the condition, people are still unsympathetic towards it. I am fully aware of this because I was/am one of those people.

Cancer, while there are certain things a person can do to increase their risk of getting it, for the most part is indiscriminate. You dont have to smoke to get cancer, you dont have to do something “wrong” to get cancer, whereas HIV is a different story. If you catch HIV its because you did something “wrong”. Chances are you were sharing needles or having excessively promiscuous, unprotected homosexual intercourse. This was an opinion I very much used to share. If you caught HIV it’s your own fault because you were doing some shit you shouldnt have been doing! period!

To be completely honest with you i still partially hold this belief even now. I don’t actually know how I contracted the virus…but I dont want to into too much detail about this now as my thoughts and feelings about who infected me are a very complicated issue that i will cover in another post. For now what matters is that to be honest, while I don’t know who I caught it from, I must have caught it doing some shit I shouldn’t have been doing. I could tell you that I wasnt an intraveinus drug user, or (particularly) sexually deviant, but either way, i still got HIV, so i must have done some shit wrong, right?!

I know this may sound quite harsh, but I accept that I have HIV for a reason. I wasn’t cautious or protective enough and now I’m in the situation I’m in. I don’t, and can’t blame anyone else but myself, and it is this sense of self blame has caused a great deal of shame for me- and one of the biggest reasons i cant tell anyone yet.

I also realise that who infected me is kind of irrelevant, and I don’t want to dwell on it too much. The point is that I have it, and will do for the rest of my life. A life that now has a completely different meaning.

Being told that I was HIV positive is by far and away the most indescribable moment in my life, that unforunitely will probably never be topped. I use the word indescribable because it can be either positive or negative. So although in this instance it is obviously negative, it will most likely top any other indescribable positive (or negative moment) for the rest of my life.

My whole life changed in an instant, but one of the first things that went through my head was “OMFG i cant tell ANYONE about this”. I instantly knew that I couldn’t face telling people about this, so I would have to carry this burden in secret. As I said, maybe one day God will change me and give me the strength to be honest with people- but then is that really the right thing? Is that what god would want from me? I accept that there can in some cases be benefits from being able to be honest with people and open up to people so they can help and support, but it also opens you up to a lot. Stigma, rumours, harassment, bullying, judgement.

As you may have realised, this is an annonymous blog, and obviously disclousure is an issue for me at this stage in my journey, but I dont want that to take away from the importance of this blog- the help it provides me, and also the help I know it is giving others. My identity isnt important at this stage, especially as I am being more honest with you than I am with ANYONE in my life.

Disclosure is an on-going issue for anyone living with HIV and I am sure I will write many more posts about it as circumstances change in my life. Maybe one day I will feel comfortable enough to be honest with certain people……maybe one day I will be put in a position where I have no choice but to be honest with someone, but for now this is my burden to carry alone. I thank God that so far he has given me the strength to deal with this, and I trust in his promise that he will continue to do so.

I trust that in God’s eyes- Having HIV doesn’t change me! I know that he loves me still, and this gives me strength.

I pray that whatever you believe in gives you strength. Blessings

2 Comments
  1. sine 11 years ago

    I've found that when telling someone your status it depends on the situations,.It should only come as a need to know basics,.When dealing with family you and only you know which family members are to be trusted and who's mind are open to lifes obsticles..

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  2. tnatally 11 years ago

    Disclosure is something that is is different with each person.When we first found out we were positive we pretty much told all our family and friends immediately.Now in hindsight  I very much doubt that we would do that again.Even within our own families there is Stigma,and although most friends said it was find and did not matter,most have slowly drifted away.We felt we could make a difference where we live and be out with the fact that we were POZ,but discrimination and Stigma has proven that to be a dream.Since finding ouy we were poz 5 yrs ago,we no longer tell any new friends about it and are careful of letting our newer friends be around anyone we feel might say something.As for telling total strangers,I personally find that fairly easy,and by strangers I mean someone who I'm sure will never meet anyone else that is in my closeknit circle.So if you have chosen not to tell anyone in your circle,you know them best .

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