What should I be doing with my life?
Feb 17, 2001
I have been HIV+ for almost 4 years. I've never been on medication. Even though I live with my family, I haven't disclosed it to them or my 10 year old son due to past experiences with their lack of understanding or ignorance. I want to be more active in the fight against this disease. How do I do that and maintain my "in the closet" HIV status?
Response from Mr. Shernoff
I think you alrady know, but are resistent to doing what is most relevant in the fight against AIDS. There is no way that you can begin to be a public advocate for people with HIV or AIDS and still be in the closet with your family, especially since you are living with them. This seems like the logical place to begin dealing with ignorance and discrimination.
First of all I urge you to find and become part of a support group for people living with HIV so that you can get alot of support during the difficult times to come with your family. From your description, I can assure you that there will be difficult and very paiful periods with these people.
If your family is a church going family or observant Moslems or Jews, I urge you to speak in private and confidence with your clergy person to ask him or her for their guidance, advice and help in disclosing this to your family. If he or she is understanding and kind, then you have an important and probably crucial ally in this process. If not, then you may need to identify other family members who you think you can count on to help you deal with your immediate family.
Best of luck in this difficult task.
Michael Shernoff, MSW
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