Ask Didi: How can i tell my parents that I'm HIV positive?

  |   DutaDidi Advice

From the health files (+27...9), comes a pressing and often misunderstood problem: How can i tell my parents that I'm HIV positive?

Telling our parents bad news is always very tough. Your parents will most certainly be sad and scared, perhaps ashamed, angry, or disappointed, but after the initial shock, they are most likely to become your greatest supporters. If you have one parent who you find easier to talk with, talk to him/her first. Before initiating the talk, make sure that you are prepared with as much information as possible about living with HIV. Your parents will certainly have many questions, and it will decrease their initial anxiety if you can answer these questions yourself. At the very least, they need to be reassured that with the right medications, you will be able to live for a long time, perhaps even to old age, and that transmission to others is nearly impossible with simple precautions. If you need emotional or financial support from them right away, you should tell them as soon as possible, but if this is not the case, it may be better to tell them after you have started your medications and your condition has stabilized. If you fear that you have the kind of parents that will shun and disown you rather than support you, or if HIV is so highly stigmatized in your community that your whole family may be shunned, there is an option of not telling your parents at all. There are many great support groups who will be able to help you if your family cannot not there for you. However, research has shown that people living with HIV are the happiest if they have the support of their family members, so I do hope you will be able to tell you parents and that they will rally around you after the initial tears.

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