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My brother has lymphoma; Could he be HIV+ and not telling me?
Mar 30, 2003


My Brother who is 38 had just been informed that he has a 'high grade burkitt like lymphoma' . He was told last year that he had Burkitts disease and I believe that it was only during his chemo that it was a burkitt like disease that he had. He was only in remission for 4 months .I have always suspected that my brother is gay but unable to talk to me about it although I have always always let him know that I would have no problem with it. Having the above lymphoma , is there a chance that he is HIV + and not telling me. I really need to know so that I can be there for him if things get bad even if we have not discussed it. Doctor, I am a very caring person and I want to be able to do anything for my Brother

Response from Dr. Dezube

Dear Brother: High grade Burkitt's lymphoma or Burkitt's-like lymphoma may indeed be related to HIV infection. I imagine that his health care providers might have already made this connection and that your brother might have been already tested. In fact, it's crucial that he is tested for the treatment of AIDS-related lymphoma is somewhat different than non-AIDS related lymphoma.

There's an issue of privacy and confidentiality. I would NOT recommend you pressure your brother. Perhaps in time he will let you know whether or not he's been tested, and what the result is. Many family members simply do not feel comfortable sharing such information. My advice to you is to continue to provide loving support, and see how things develop. Each individual patient has to develop his/her own method for letting other family members and friends know.

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