Strategies for talking about HIV status

For people living with HIV, telling people about their HIVstatus can be challenging especially when first diagnosed. It can be helpful to access resources to support discussions about HIV status.

Discussing HIV status with sexual partners

The chance of passing HIV to partners depends upon many factors, such as the level of HIV in the bloodstream (HIV viral load), the type of exposure, and whether or not a condom was used.

There are options for letting partner(s) know about HIV status. For example, partners can be informed directly by the person living with HIV or anonymously by a health care provider. Testing is recommended for partners.

In Canada, individuals living with HIV have a legal duty to tell sexual partner(s) before sexual contact, in certain circumstances. HIV Laws are evolving in Canada. For the most up-to-date information on HIV and the law, contact the HIV Legal Network.

Resources:
Talking to Your Partners | SmartSex Resource
HIV Basics | CATIE - Canada's source for HIV and hepatitis C information Read - HIV and the law

Discussing HIV status in general

The choice to inform people of one’s HIV status (other than those who may have been exposed through sexual contact or drug use activities) is personal and depends on the individual. Some people choose to tell close friends and family, others may not.

A health care provider or counsellor can support for these discussions. Reliable HIV information and resources are useful to support discussions about HIV status.

Recommended HIV Resources:

HIV and AIDS | SmartSex Resource

CATIE - Canada's source for HIV and hepatitis C information

Who should I tell? | CATIE - Canada's source for HIV and hepatitis C information

Resources – The Teresa Group - How Do I Tell My Kids