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HIV and love
Dec 18, 2000

Positive 15 years. First it was fear to physical deterioration, then death, then social rejection, now lipodistrophia and resistences ..... Went to psycologist for a while and did loose social fear and felt better with myself, but still unable to try a relationship with all this uncertainty. Imagine I tried .... and I started experiencing important changes in my body, I can assure you I would freak out even more if I had a recent acquired partner so I have half decided not to get into that and I am able to live quite happily with that decission most times, but other times I see others getting into them I wonder wether my attitude is normal or correct and if I won't end up too alone for not having done anything to change it. Unless I found a really "odd spiritual type" I think this in most cases is just completely unviable. Am I right or should I confront my fears which on the other hand are completely REAL PROBLEMS?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You are living in a self-created reality that bears little semblance to what goes on in life. It sounds to me like you are depressed and thus hopeless. I would urge you to have your depression evaluated by a mental health professional and if he or she concurs that you are suffering form a clinical depression, and/or clinical anxiety, then to have it treated by a combination of anti-depressant medication and talk therapy that can help you work through your using being infected with HIV as an excuse for being lonely in your life. Another helpful option would be an HIV support group that would help you look at a variety of social and emotional options with other people who are living with HIV. Since becoming infected I have had two major love affairs, and numerous satisfactory dating experiences. Both of these relationships happened after I was 40. Both happened to be with with other positive men. I have numerous clients and friends who are having fun dating, and who form satisfactory and rich new partnerships after they have become infected. All of this is to strengthen my assessment that it is your own personality and emotional state that are getting in the way of your meeting men, and not your being HIV positive.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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