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Please help me
Apr 14, 2002

Mr Shernoff,

My partner is pos and I am neg. A few months ago we got an indeterminate response on an HIV test. We went on vacation in Hawaii and I told him about it there because I was ready at that point--it was a month after the result. I recently re-tested and got a negative response. Last night he told me to run for the hills and leave him, that he would do that if he was in my position. I was absolutely heartbroken. I love this man so much, and could and have not ever envisioned my life without him. Yet, I am beginning to think he is right, that the world is better without him. We have a 15 year age difference with me being 24 and he being 39. We have been together for well over a year, and I love him so much that if we separated I would really have no reason to try again. I don't understand why he is doing this, every time I try to draw us closer he jams a wedge between us and tells me to move on. It is funny because last night he said if you were positive and I was negative I would not be with you. I took that to heart, and feel it is in my best interest to move on. I am scared, in love, and very lonely. Why does he do this, I think that if I would have been positive on this test it would not have worked out in this way. In fact, that is what he was trying to tell me. He said he was hurt by my joy when I got my result. I am so scared, and don't know what to say or do. Please help me, I can't sustain this much longer, but I also cry immediately with the thought of losing the one reason I continue each day...

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Your partner has alot of emotional problems that do not have alot to do with his being HIV positive. They have to do with his own sense of self worth, self esteem, ability to have an intimate relationship and believe in his own lovability. Having HIV is not a reason to disqualify a person from having a loving and intimate relationship.

My advice is for you to urge him to join you in couples therapy where the two of you can get the professional help you will need if this relationship has any possibility of remaining alive. You need to find a mental health professional who is skilled both in working with male couples and who believes in them and who has had experience in working with mixed anitbody status couples. If you live in a large city or close to one such a person should not be difficult to locate.

Obviously you are feeling frightened, sad and insecure when he share the feelings that he does with you. YOu may also want to start your own individual therapy to help you gain a perspective on this situation.

Good luck, but whether or nto he will join you in couples therapy I advise you to find yourself a good therapist who can help you understand what your options are for trying to be happy.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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