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HIV+ and Adoption
May 21, 2001

I was diagnosed as being HIV+ almost two years ago, and have been on a cocktail of Combivir and Sustiva. My CD4 is no 696 was 435 and Viral Load is undetectable at <400 was 80,000. My wife and I would love to have another child but don't want to take the risk of infection to her. We have considered adoption and a social worker friend has mentioned International Adoption in the Ukraine. As we were reasearching the possibility we noticed that a statement was made that a person with AIDS cannot adopt from the Ukraine. Is this discrimination or what? This has made me feel that I have no options to go with. My wife and I love children and have two daughters of our own. Is there any information or help you can give us? Do I have to disclose my HIV+ diagnosis to others if it shouldn't affect them? Can an HIV+ positive person not travel out of the country for any reason? I am so confused and can't find answers. There are not alot of people that know my diagnosis and I would like to keep it that way. How can I make my wife happy by giving her the opportunity to be the mother to a new baby again. She is so upset and dissappointed that it has really affected us and our hopes feel bursted. We love each other so much and want another child. Please help if you can. Thank you.

Response from Dr. Remien

I'm afraid I cannot be of very much help to you since adoption issues are not part or my expertise. Yes, you are right, this is a form of discrimination. However, it is my impression that there is a lot of discrimination that takes place in the adoption world. It seems that different adoption agencies have different requirements and things that they may be "discriminant" about, such as income level, age of the parents, living arrangements, health status of the parents, etc. There is also wide variation in different countries about how these procedures (and selection) take place. Adoption is a very challenging process and difficult for any couple. However, highly motivated couples can usually succeed in adoption when they do their homework and continue with their efforts until it happens. You will need to support each other very much if you want to pursue this. Try to find out which countries do not have restrictions on adoption when it comes to HIV status of parents, or countries (or agencies) where the question is not even asked. Any advice or help you can get from counselors familiar with adoption issues should be of useful to you.

Regarding travel issues, different countries have different policies (and restrictions) about entering and leaving countries with different diseases. As far as I know there are currently no restrictions on American citizens leaving or re-entering this country if they are HIV+. Again, this is not my area of expertise.

Keep supporting each other and pursuing your dreams and the things you want in life, in spite of the obstacles that are out there.


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