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Telling people you have HIV

Should you tell people about your HIV status? Who? When? How? Why? What about your partner, family, children, workmates, doctor, boss, friends?

There are no 'right' or 'wrong' answers to these questions. Disclosure i s a complex and multi-layered process and a personal decision. The choice is yours. As the booklet (below) says:

  • Everyone will disclose differently.

  • Everyone will react differently.

  • There is no right or wrong way to disclose or to react.


You are not alone. Many HIV positive people have trodden this path before you. They can offer some good ideas to help you make the decisions that are right for you.

Positive DisclosurePositive Disclosure draws heavily on the experiences and thoughts of 18 people living with, or closely affected by, HIV in South Australia. They've each had different experiences of disclosure. It was mainly written for HIV positive people (but may also be useful for those who are closely affected by HIV and HIV service providers). This resource includes lots of tips and hints about what to think about when making decisions about disclosure.

This is a very simple, easy-to-read, little handbook. It presents possibilities and ideas, rather than telling you what you should do. The topic headings give you a sense of how practical it is. They include:

You Have The Power Everyone Is Different The Ups And Downs Why Disclose? Choose Who You Tell Carefully Know Your Rights Be Prepared Supports And Services Support For The People You Tell You Are Not Alone …

Positive Disclosure: A Guide for Helping you through the process of disclosing HIV status is available as a download or in hardcopy. Print it yourself or contact us to post you a copy.

A Resource for Women Living With HIV: Particularly Mothers and Would-be Mothers

Women living with HIV face some unique choices and challenges. Common Threads: Women's stories of pregnancy, parenting and living with HIV, written and compiled by Karalyn McDonald, is a beautiful book which is very easy to read. It draws together the insights and experiences of 34 HIV positive women from throughout Australia, telling their stories in their own words.

The women who contributed their stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Several were born outside Australia; most have children; the length of time since they were diagnosed varies; some chose to become pregnant after their HIV diagnosis. This book demonstrates the wide range of experiences and choices surrounding pregnancy and motherhood for women living with HIV in Australia. It doesn't tell you what to do … just gives ideas on things to think about.

Common ThreadsCommon Threads was first published on 15 October 2009.

While the content of this resource was checked for accuracy at the time of publication, Positive Life SA recommends checking to determine whether the information is the most up-to-date available, especially when making decisions which may affect your health.

The decision to have children can be one of the most difficult choices HIV positive women make. Decisions associated with parenting can be especially urgent and confronting, for women who are diagnosed with HIV at the time they are becoming mothers. (Several of the storytellers have dealt with the twin realities of pregnancy and diagnosis.)

Again, the headings are a useful indicator of the areas covered in this book:

  • Can I have a baby?

  • Conceiving

  • Pregnancy

  • Birth

  • The hospital stay

  • Care of my baby

  • Other important parenting issues

  • My child is also HIV positive

  • Support & information

  • More to life than just HIV …

The book is equally relevant to women who have been recently diagnosed, women who have known their status for a long time, friends, family and service providers. It also covers a number of wider issues which affect all HIV positive parents and women living with HIV (e.g. disclosure, making treatment decisions and services available).

Common Threads: Women's stories of pregnancy, parenting and living with HIV is only available in hardcopy. Contact us to post you a copy.

Gay Positive/Negative Relationships

Managing a "serodiscordant" relationship (where one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative) can be a real challenge. Here's a useful little handbook for men in serodiscordant gay relationships. Whilst it is particularly written for the HIV negative partner, it will also be useful if you are the HIV positive partner.

Opposites AttractOpposites Attract was first published in March 2000. The second edition was published in June 2005.

While the content of this resource was checked for accuracy at the time of publication, Positive Life SA recommends checking to determine whether the information is the most up-to-date available, especially when making decisions which may affect your health.

The booklet looks at the sexual and emotional issues particular to HIV negative men in a serodiscordant relationship. This is particularly important, since a significant number of new HIV infections occur within the first few months of a serodiscordant relationship. Whilst covering the obvious issues around safe sex, this booklet also looks at deeper issues such as risks, attitudes about love and tips on making good relationships better. It is designed to enable me to make informed decisions about their relationship and sexual choices.

  • Another user-friendly resource with chapter headings such as:

  • The modern man's guide to relationships

  • Dealing with lovers' tiffs

  • Open relationships/closed doors

  • HIV & safe sex issues

  • The low-down on slip-ups

  • Pop more pills than a bored housewife


Opposites Attract: A true love romance (2nd Edition) is available for free from ACON's website at http://www.acon.org.au/hiv/resources. (This site also has many other resources you can download free of charge.) Contact us to post you a copy of the 1st Edition.

p: 0410 707 923
a: co/ SIN 220 South Road, Mile End
m: PO Box 117, Black Forest SA 5035
e: president@hivsa.org.au
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