THANKS FOR TELLING ME
Someone has told you this because they want you to know and they think they can trust you – give a reassurance that it will stay confidential. You’ve been given some powerful information that may have been difficult to disclose - ‘thanks for telling me’ acknowledges that.
HOW ARE YOU DOING?
Asking a simple question like ‘how are you doing?’ gives someone the chance to tell you as much or as little as they want to. Don’t probe too much – just asking this is probably enough right now.
It really is OK. HIV today, with early diagnosis and proper adherence to treatment, is a long term manageable health condition. It’s the stigma and negative attitudes that sometimes get in the way of people who are living with HIV getting on with their lives.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Think about why someone has chosen to tell you – it may be that a bit of extra support or just someone to talk to is what’s needed. Ask what you can do and be led by what the person tells you they need.
LET’S TALK ABOUT U=U
If you aren’t aware of the U=U message, you need to be. We now know that someone on HIV treatment and with an undetectable viral load can’t pass on HIV to someone else. Talk about it, not just to the person who’s disclosed to you, but to anyone else who’ll listen.
For some people, fear of rejection after disclosing HIV status means never feeling able to tell anyone. Be reassuring that nothing is going to change just because someone’s told you that they’re living with a virus.
ARE YOU ON TREATMENT?
Showing an interest in someone’s health can be supportive. If you don’t know anything about HIV treatments – make it your job to find something out. Educate yourself about HIV so that you have all the information you need.
DRINKS ON FRIDAY?
Keep things normal. The person who told you wants to keep things normal too. If Friday night is drinks night there’s no reason why your plans should change – and every reason why they should stay the same.