Dilemma of Disclosure

Posted by Pozziepinoy on 9:23 AM

Hi Pozziepinoy,

I searched the internet and I found your blog. It is very informative, I learned a lot from the stories of people with HIV like me.

I'm 19 years old by the way. I was diagnosed HIV positive 6 months ago. I wasn't sick at all, but because of the HIV news that I heard, I decided to take the HIV Test. Right now, I am taking ARV's and my CD4 was 234.

My question is how will I tell my parents that I have HIV? Up to now, only 2 of my college friends now about my status.

Hope you can give me an advice.

Thank you.

Nineteen


POZZIEPONOY'S RESPONSE

Hi Nineteen,

Thank you for your email. Thank you for checking out the blog. Like you, many stories came from our avid readers and followers. Like you, many emailed their concerns and questions about HIV and AIDS and our answers have enlightened a lot not only Filipinos but also by people from different countries. It is great to know that by bringing up the concerns, we educate others. By raising questions, we also answer questions of other people who have the same question.

I am so proud of you Nineteen. You heard the news and you took the chance of taking the HIV test. A lot of people in the country still have hesitations in taking the HIV test, but not you. You have the courage to know it, despite your age. You have the courage to take the risk. Your action showed maturity despite your young age. So proud of you.

Going to your concern, let me tell you this. Acceptance is not rushed. It will come to you. First of all, acceptance has to come from you first. You have to accept that right now, you have an incurable but manageable disease. You have to accept that for now, you need to take your antiretroviral medicines regularly without any misses or skips. You have to accept the fact that HIV is just another disease, that if managed properly, with regular check ups and doctor visits, you have a good and long life. You have to accept the fact that despite having HIV, you can reach all your dreams, you will have a family of your own, you will have a stable job and you will have a long lasting relationship.

Disclosure to others is now the next step. The disclosure that you need to do is towards your family and loved ones. The question that is very important for you to answer is why do you need to disclose to them. is it to establish a support system or because you care for them? Is it for them to understand you and your health? Is it for them to know that you care for their opinion? Is it for the mere fact that they have the right to know because they are your family or loved ones? For a partner, is it because he has to right to know or for you = to protect him or to love you more?

Knowing the reason for disclosure is very important. To be honest, it is a case to case basis. When I disclosed to my siblings on day 2 of my diagnosis, my reason was so that I have nothing to hide from them so as I won't get worried anymore and so I can focus on getting my self well. It was really a fast thought that I affirmed that I need to tell all my loved ones so I won't worry about them as I go through the process of worrying about myself.

Some people talk to their siblings and family for support, because they can't handle it alone. We advice the Project Red Ribbon's clients to talk even to a psychologist, counselor or even to a psychiatrist. Talking is very important. The burden becomes heaviest when you alone carry it. By speaking up, by talking and disclosure, you unload you heart and mind from all the worries so you can move forward.

Of course, not all have positive outcomes. Some families may have rejection. Some loved ones may move away or even push you away. Well that's the fact of life. It can happen to everyone. But it is most important that you have allowed them to know than keeping it to yourself. It is better to know how they would feel, because love can't be a one way street. It needs a give and take, it needs understanding, it needs openness. Love and understanding also need nurturing and time.

However, rejection is very painful. But acceptance is not only on your part of the deal. It needs also readiness to accept on their part. You can't just force them to accept you or HIV. It will be their decision. If you have been educated, they too need to be educated. If they need to understand you, then make an effort to open your heart to them.

During 5 years of Project Red Ribbon's existence as an advocacy foundation, we have seen families supporting their son, sister, brother and daughters in the hubs. We have seen how people became more close because of disclosure.

But, like what I said, it has to start from you. Accept it for others to accept it as well. Armor yourself with education so others can do the same. 

You are courageous, Nineteen. You are strong. I know, in the near future, like how you faced the HIV Test with open mindedness, you will be able to face your loved ones and tell them the truth, with full honesty, with full of love and care.

I do hope that somehow the response somehow enlightened you. If you have other concerns, please feel free to email us again.

I am so proud of you.


Stay healthy,
Pozziepinoy


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