How can I help?

When someone confides in you that they have HIV it’s a sign of trust or that they want help. It is important to reassure your friend that you will not breach that trust and respect their wishes. It may be that you just need to listen to what your friend has to say. If they need other help or support you can find organisations that can help in our service finder, there you can also find help and support for yourself.

You may find it useful to find out more about the basics of HIV and what it means to be living with HIV.


Showing interest, providing a listening ear and offering support can help your loved one to feel less anxious, embarrassed or isolated. Avoid asking to many questions or making judgements.

Privacy and confidentiality

There continues to be a lot of stigma associated with HIV and it may be difficult to predict if someone will have a helpful or unkind reaction to learning about someone’s HIV status. If someone has told you they have HIV, after you’ve supported and listened to them it can be helpful to ask how they would like you to keep it confidential, whether it is ok for you to talk to others about it, and if so who specifically, how, and when.

Look after yourself as well

HIV has a lot of myths and emotions associated with it. It’s normal to feel unsure or worried. People often tell us that knowing the basics gives them confidence and allays their concerns, therefore make sure your HIV knowledge is up to date. If you are concerned about your own HIV status you should go and get tested.

Professional help and support

If you need support, use our service finder to find local agencies providing a variety of different services. Try not to overburden yourself. Remember they might not need support right now, so don’t feel rejected if they decline your offer of help.


Many people living with HIV are able to sustain their employment, pursue their chosen career and pose no risk to their colleagues. HIV is recognized as a disability under the Equalities Act 2010.

Find out more