‘How should I talk about a positive test result?’

If you test positive, a whole lot of emotions and feelings can arise. These will be as individual as you are. Other people in this situation have described these feelings as shock, disbelief and also anger at themselves and others.

You might find that in the early days you feel quite disconnected from what is going on around you.

Can HIV treatment help?

Today's HIV treatments mean you can still have a good quality of life, including a sex life.

See HIV today for more information on treatment.

Why tell someone?

Sometimes, telling others that you are HIV positive can make you feel less isolated and help you obtain the support and information you might require. This does depend on the kind of relationship you have with that person and the knowledge that he or she has about HIV.

When to tell someone

Don't tell someone unless you are 100% sure you are HIV positive. You may need to validate your test - see What if I'm HIV positive?

Who to tell?

Telling other people about your HIV status requires a lot of thought and consideration. Before you tell someone, think about why they need to know and what are the benefits to you of telling them.

When you tell someone, you’re telling them three things:

  1. I’m HIV positive.
  2. I trust you and may need your support.
  3. I’m strong enough to deal with it, and your reaction.

How do I tell my partner if I test positive for HIV?

Some people can feel upset, angry, frightened or embarrassed about discussing HIV with their current or former partner(s).

If you do test positive for HIV, your partner may need to be tested, along with some of your previous partners (if you have any).

Sexual health staff can help you by giving advice about who should be contacted and the best way to contact them.

How your clinic can help

It can sometimes be difficult to speak to an ex-partner. Your clinic can help by contacting him for you. They won't tell him who gave the clinic their name but it will mean that he can get an HIV test.

Nobody can force you to tell your past or present partner or partners about having HIV, but it is strongly recommended.

Condoms & lube

Find out how to stay healthy and still enjoy your sex life: