Disclosure Wheel Workshop
As part of the 2014 CAB retreat at the PHACS meeting, the CAB participated in an interactive workshop on disclosure. This workshop was developed by a team of HECC and CAB members, and the goal was to explore and normalize the spectrum of attitudes and beliefs about HIV disclosure and non-disclosure, particularly focusing on understanding the role of CAB members as advocates in the world. In the workshop, CAB members first anonymously rated their own comfort level (on a scale of 0 – 6) within different scenarios about disclosure. For instance, scenarios dealt with disclosure within a family setting; inadvertently learning someone else’s status via a child or another caregiver; deciding how to respond to a friend’s uninformed and stigmatizing comments about HIV; having one’s status inadvertently disclosed to a child during a doctor’s appointment; and explaining HIV study participation to a boss when asking for the time off. The worksheets were then collected and re-distributed, so that each person was holding someone else’s anonymous answers. We talked about our reactions to each scenario as we moved around the room to represent different places on the spectrum based on the sheet we were holding. This workshop was an exercise in thinking about how each of us would feel when presented with various opportunities to act as HIV advocates, and comparing that to the range of other responses we were witness to. Our being spread around the room gave a very visual display of the range of attitudes and comfort levels, showing that there is no one “normal” or “correct” way to be an advocate, that both disclosure and non-disclosure are valid choices, and that no matter where we fall on the spectrum of comfort around disclosure, we are in good company. Some CAB members reported feeling more empowered in their own attitudes about HIV disclosure after this workshop, and several plan to use this exercise with their site CABs.