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How do I help him to talk about his positive status?
Oct 5, 2004

My partner and I have known one another for over 20 years. It wasn't until 8 months ago that we became a couple. After being together for 6 months he told me that he was HIV+. I'm HIV-. It does not matter to me one bit that he is HIV+ but he does not want to communicate about it. He has no interest in researching his medications, no interest in sharing with me about how he is feeling, what he is thinking, or anything else to do with his illness or health. I sometimes feel that I should not expect him to want to talk about his HIV+ Status but I find myself researching everything that is available on the internet. I've thought about finding a support group for myself but do not want to alienate him any further. Is it wanting too much to communicate with him regarding his health issues? Maybe I need to be more patient and wait for him to make that first move to discuss the situation. When he told me he just simply said, "I'm HIV+, my doctor told me today" He had been taking first line medications for approximately a year but said that he was unaware that he was positive. I think that there is possibly some things that he doesn't want to share.

Response from Dr. Remien

Communication in all relationships is so important and the foundation for a solid relationship. For mixed status couples, communication about HIV and all associated emotions and concerns is important. You should expect him to talk about things and it is not too much to want him to talk to you about health issues. This all of course needs to be balanced with a respect for some privacy. I don't believe that HIV related issues need to be talked about all the time, but a couple does need to be able to discuss the issues from time-to-time.

It also sounds a bit strange when you say that he was on medication but did not know he was positive?! It sounds like there are things he does not want to share with you. It could be quite useful for you to join a support group. Doing so does not have to mean you are alienating him. Getting support for yourself and trying to communicate with him are not mutually exclusive. Both are important.

I hope this is helpful.


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