To tell or not to tell: disclosure to children and family amongst Thai women living with HIV/AIDS Academic Article uri icon


  • HIV disclosure is a complex phenomenon. The choice of disclosure or non-disclosure is a reflection of how each HIV-positive person experiences and deals with HIV/AIDS in their everyday life. In this study, we qualitatively explore the experiences of disclosing HIV status to family members and children among HIV-positive women living in Thailand. Due to fear of stigma and discrimination, the women decided to tell only a few people, usually their significant others including parents and children. Although most women received good support from their family members, some were rejected and discriminated against by their family members. This stems from lack of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among family members. Women found disclosure to their children a difficult decision to make. Only some women told their children about their HIV status. They wished to protect their children from emotional burden. This protection also appeared in their attempts to prepare their children for dealing with HIV/AIDS. Support from family members played a major role in the lives of HIV-positive women. Although disclosure has been promoted as a means of ending stigma and discrimination, our data suggested that disclosure may not be positive for some women. This has implications for health promotion in HIV health care. Healthcare providers need to appreciate the ramifications of promoting disclosure to HIV-positive women who are mothers.

publication date

  • 2016