Question

“Scared to share my status”

I was married and abused by my husband who also infected me with HIV. I divorced him and now I’m dating a lovely man who wants to marry me. I don’t know how to tell him about my status.

Answer

It’s good you got out of that abusive environment, but don’t let what you went through ruin something beautiful with your new man. You can start by telling him your history with your husband and what led to the break-up. You’ll eventually gather the courage to disclose your status. The longer you keep this a secret, the worse it’ll be when it comes out. A voluntary counselling and testing centre or calling LifeLine’s Aids helpline on 0800-012-322 can give you more guidance.

VeryWellHelath suggests that it is important to examine possible reactions from your new partner when disclosing your HIV status. These reactions could include rejection but it is also important to know how to deal with it as well as a reaction of acceptance from your partner and how to handle it as gratitude as opposed to feeling relieved or happy.

Moreso one needs to be mindful in the use of their language for example, not lead with an exit line such as ‘I understand if you do not want to take this further’ rather allow your partner to make that decision themselves.

According to WebMD it is also essential for the person who will be disclosing their status to be fully aware of what it means to them and feel emotionally and psychologically ready to share it with their partner.