Most of the time, telling someone about something important is best done face-to-face. But there are other ways to tell people, such as by letter, over the phone, or in groups. If you do decide to tell them face-to-face, choose somewhere private to talk and put aside enough time.

Friends and family members: Sometimes the people closest to you can be the ones who are most upset, hurt, or angry when initially hearing such news. It will probably be difficult plucking up the courage to have that conversation in the first place, so be mentally prepared for a range of reactions. The only thing that can be more painful is keeping it a secret from those you love.

Children: Consider when you think it is the right time to tell your children. It will probably depend on their personality, whether they have any prior knowledge of such illnesses, their age and many other factors specific to your situation. Children are likely to ask many questions, so make sure that you are ready for this.

Sexual partner(s): It is possible that this is the person who infected you - but remember they may not know that they have the HIV virus. It is important that you disclose your status to any present, past or future sexual partners so that they can protect themselves by getting tested and, if necessary, starting treatment. 

Needle-sharing partner(s): If you have ever shared needles for injecting drugs then there is a very real possibility that you could have contracted the virus this way. Again, it is important to tell them about your status so that they can take measures in getting tested and accessing treatment. 

If you are telling someone who you think may have contracted HIV from you, then consider how they might react. Make sure you protect yourself - don't put yourself at risk of violence if you think it's a reall possibility.

For advice and links to services that are focussed on telling sexual partners about your status, see the Terrence Higgins Trust page on Telling Sexual Partners.

Employers: You are not obliged to tell your employer that you are HIV positive, and you should consider whether you can trust their confidence. It can be a good thing for your employer to know about your staus so that they can make adjustments, such as a change of work pattern, time off or other concessions. 

Remember, you have the right to not be discriminated against because of your condition. See the Equality Act 2010.