Sheree explains how living with HIV has improved since the 1980s and shares advice on disclosure.
Living with HIV today is different than when it was in the 80s. Sometimes it’s easier; sometimes it’s not. The medications are way better so you don’t get as sick as often and the education has come a long way.
We still have some of the stigmatisms but not as much. I would say living today would be…I have a more positive experience with it. I am positive, so why not be positive?
Women with HIV have asked me on many occasions about disclosure – who do we tell? Who do we not tell? The answer is, really, you. It really depends on you and how you feel comfortable and how you present yourself is how they are going to react to you.
For me, I have no problem disclosing. Everyone in my life knows – my family, my friends, and they are fine with it. I have never had any bad reactions to being HIV positive, but I know other people who don’t tell no one.
The law is, you do not have to tell anyone except maybe your doctors by choice, but you don’t have to tell anyone. It’s honestly up to you.
For me, telling people, it didn’t seem to matter either way. It wasn’t liberating. Parts of it can be liberating but there’s just some people that really shouldn’t know. Honestly, it really depends on the person individually. It can be liberating so it’s not the stress of a secrecy, but for some others it’s their life if they tell.