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Don't know what to do...
Jun 16, 2000

Dr. Remien:

I am an HIV- gay male currently in a relationship with an HIV+ partner. I was aware of his status since we first met, and accepted the fact that making this relationship work might not be easy. We've been together for 8 months (we actually live together). He was diagnosed positive 2 years before meeting me and his T-cell counts were good when we first started going out. However, that changed recently. He is taking a combivir/viracept cocktail and a couple of weeks ago he went for his periodical testings. To make the story short, he pretended to be cheating on me, which I know is not possible because of his medication side effects. After I confronted him, he finally told me that his last test showed him being 16 T-cells away from AIDS, and he is basically pushing me away. I don't know how to reassure him about my love anymore... He's even asked me to find someone else to be happy with, since he thinks he is going to die in about 2 years. His last test results suggested that the only medications that seem to be working for him are the ones he's currently taking, even though the virus seems to have started to develop resistance to them. He's very afraid, and I have tried to tell him that I love him and that I'm gonna stick with him no matter what, but he seems to have given up... He's wasting, he defecates blood constantly and his gums bleed. I feel helpless and to be honest, mad at life since even though I knew this would happen sooner or later, I feel it's too soon. I really don't know what to do...

Thanks for listening...

Response from Dr. Remien

I can certainly empathize with your feelings about the situation. It sounds like you are doing the most important thing, which is expressing your love and support. I hope your partner is getting good medical care and advice. While it is scary to be symptomatic with illness, time and time again, I see people recover from illness, stabilize, and regain good quality of life. The course of HIV disease remains very uncertain and is therefore not entirely predictable. Therefore neither of you should be giving up or simply resigning yourselves to illness and decline, but rather seek ways to address whatever problems he is currently having. At the same time, you can't deny what you are both going through and the reality that people do still die of AIDS. Therefore it is important that you both seek the emotional support to deal with all of the feelings associated with actual illness and decline.


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