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Telling people

Disclosing your status

Deciding who to tell about your HIV status – and when to tell them – can be very difficult. Telling someone close to you can often be very helpful in giving you support. But there is no rush, disclosing your HIV status is a personal choice and you should take the time to ensure you make the right decisions for you. There is no right time to tell people and no urgency if you don’t want to tell anyone straight away. If you need to talk to someone to help you come to terms with your diagnosis, we are here to help and to give you time to think about how you want to handle disclosure.

Sexual partners

The clinic will talk to you about telling your partner as they may need to get tested. They will also talk to you about previous sexual partners who might need to get tested as well.

Moving forward, you do not have to tell someone you have sex with that you have HIV as long as you take appropriate precautions, which may include the use of condoms or taking your HIV medication regularly to ensure you have an undetectable viral load.

If you do not disclose your status and do not take precautions, then you could be charged with a criminal offence if HIV is transmitted to your sexual partner. See our HIV and the Law section (link)

Friends and family

Confiding in a close family member, or a good friend, can often give you a great level of support. You may feel the urge to tell people straight after your diagnosis, but we would advise that you make sure you are ready to tell them and to think about how they might react as once you tell someone there is no way of “untelling” them.


For most jobs, there is no requirement that you tell your employer about your HIV diagnosis. Disclosing your HIV status to your employer may not be a good idea if you think it might lead to discrimination or a breach of confidentiality. However, being aware of your status will help your employer to make reasonable adjustments to make your condition more manageable whilst at work. People living with HIV who disclose their HIV status are protected by the Equality Act (2010)

Other health professionals

HIV consultants will not prescribe medication which is not directly related to HIV. Therefore, other health professionals will be involved in managing your overall health. We recommend you advise your GP as knowledge of your HIV status and your medication will be important for their treatment of other health issues you may have. Whether you tell your dentist is your decision. Either way it is important to understand that your GP and dentist will work to the same confidentiality guidelines as your HIV team.

Affected by HIV? Want to talk to us?
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