Post Natal Nurse Home Visitor Program
Pharmacy Residency (PGY1)

How to tell other about your diagnosis

Telling is scary. Plan first. Parkland will refer you to Health Department counselors should you need help. Health Department counselors can also tell for you, upon request. HIV medical treatment works should your partner or partners test positive. Treatment will work for you too.

Why should I tell
You deserved to know and now they deserve to know. Plan to tell anyone you had condomless sex with. Also, plan to tell your partner or partners you shared drug injection “works” with. Drug partners might have been exposed, just like a sexual partner or partners. They deserve to know and get tested. There is free testing offered at our clinics. Tell that you are living with HIV, break the chain. HIV treatment works.

Telling your partners
Say: “I tested positive for HIV.”
Do not say: “You infected me with HIV.” or “I’ve given you an STD.”
Do not say: “You have HIV.” People can be exposed to STDs without becoming infected.
Say: “I want you to get tested.”

Three ways to inform your partners
If you have HIV or another STD (syphilis, gonorrhea, or chlamydia), your sex and/or drug-injection partners may have been exposed. Help stop the spread of STDs.
  1. You take on the responsibility. You tell about possible exposure. You encourage testing.
  2. You provide your partners’ names to the health department. Your partners are located and made aware of their exposure by health department staff; health department does not use your name. Your partners are provided services by the health department.
  3. You let your partners know of their exposure with trained help. Health department staff are with you during the process. They provide information on counseling, testing, and other resources.
I want to tell, but I don’t know how
  • How: Make a plan. Focus on the facts. Write down what your partner or partners might say. Think about what you would want to say in response. Avoid accusations and confessions. Use language that is kind and thoughtful. Imagine several ways your partner or partners might react to the news that you are living with HIV. Expect a reaction. Many feel ashamed and embarrassed. Do not be. A chronic disease can be managed. HIV treatment works.
  • When: Choose a time to talk when you can have complete attention. When you both have time to focus. The sooner you tell, the sooner your partner or partners can get checked and treated.
  • Where: Choose a place that is quiet, private and safe. You do not want interruptions. You do not want to be overheard. If you are unsure about your safety, ask a Health Department Counselors to tell your partner or partners. Or ask a Health Department Counselors to be there when you tell them.  
  • Bring: Information about local anonymous and free testing.

Common questions others may have:
“Did I get HIV?”
Answer: “Possibly. There is really no way to know until you get tested.”
“Did you give me a disease?”
Answer: “I don’t know who had this first. I only know that I tested positive and we’ve had sex; that means you should see a provider and get tested.”
“Where did this come from?”
Answer: “I don’t know. Either of us could have had this for a while without knowing it. That makes it pretty hard to pin down where it came from.”
“But I don’t have any discharge, burning, sores or rashes, so I don’t think this has anything to do with me.”
Answer: “I’m glad you are not in pain, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something going on. I care about you and I really want you to be okay. The only way to be sure you are is to go to the clinic and get checked out.”
“What if I don’t have it?”
Answer: “Parkland offers PrEP. PrEP is a pill that prevents HIV infection if you may be exposed to the virus. Parkland will help you get started.”
“What about you?”
Answer: “Parkland has offered me a case manager. I am educating myself and working towards becoming U = U. In six months or so with medication, the virus will not show up on a blood test. Soon, I will be U = U which means my viral load is untransmittable. I will manage my chronic disease. I will be OK.”

1. You can’t control your partner’s response, but you can control your own behavior. You can stay calm. Reactions will happen. Then be ready to answer questions.
2. Think before you begin. If you think this is going to be too hard, use trained professionals who can inform your partner without letting the partner know anything about you. Ask your case manager to help you make a plan.