HIV and You - Telling others on apps

No matter who it is, whether it’s in person or online, telling someone that you’re living with HIV can be a daunting prospect. 

Knowing what to say, when, where and how to do it, or even whether to say anything at all, can be confusing.  

The most important thing to remember is that the decision to tell people, or not, is yours to make, and that there are plenty of valid reasons for both options.  

When it comes to telling sexual partners about your HIV status, you might be worried about what the law has to say. In Scotland, the guidance is that you’re not obliged to share your status if you’ve taken ‘reasonable precautions’ when having sex. That could include:

Some guys decide whether to tell a potential partner about their HIV status based on the sex they want to have. Some will always tell their partners so everyone can make an informed decision. Others decide not to share their status, knowing they are taking precautions. The choice is yours to make. 

What about apps? 

When it comes to apps like Grindr, Scruff and Squirt, there are a few different ways that to you can tell potential partners about your HIV status.  

When creating your profile, most apps give you the option to disclose your HIV status. This can include responses like ‘negative’, ‘on PrEP’, ‘positive’ and ‘positive undetectable’. 

Some guys choose this option to be upfront with potential partners, or to save you from having to bring it up in conversation. However, be aware that some guys never read profiles and may get in touch based solely on your profile pic. 

It’s also worth remembering that apps are effectively public spaces, and that your profile information will be available to anyone who wants to access it. 

If you’re wanting to tell a potential or current sexual partner about your status, maybe think about when and how you want to do it. For some, it can feel more comfortable bringing their status up away from the bedroom, like on date or through a conversation on the apps.  

If you do decide to disclose your status on your profile, or through conversations with potential partners, you might find that some guys will ask you lots of questions. Some guys might welcome this as a chance to raise awareness and talk about topics like U=U, PrEP and PEP, but it can also feel inappropriate when trying to hook up.  

Remember, you can always report or block someone if they make you uncomfortable, or if they are inappropriate towards you.  

Be aware that the person you are speaking to may not be the person you think they are. Don’t be afraid to ask for pictures, and make sure you feel comfortable and confident that they are who they say they are.  

If you’re living with, or affected by HIV, and looking for support, you can get in touch with us by e-mail or through the chat app on our website.  

To find out more about HIV AND YOU, be sure to read out latest booklet on the HIV, alcohol and chem use here