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My Sister and her Lover
Jun 20, 2002

My sister is HIV+ and has been aware of this for 10 years. She has been in a relationship with a man for a year now and she has yet to tell him of her status. She has confided inme that she hasn't always had safe sex with him. What's my role in this? I want to tell him so that he can make safe-sex decisions. Also, I know that once this information is out, my sister will be at peace. She's afraid, of course, of losing him if he knows she's HIV+.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

The only role you have in this is to continuously talk with you sister and encourage her to be honest with her partner. For you to do anything more is really a violation of various boundaries and confidences that your sister has shared with you. I urge you to empathize with your sister's fears, but also to help her see what a terrible situation she has created by not being honest with this person that she claims to love. The seeds of distrust that she has sown can only come back to haunt her if she remains dishonest within this relationship. Michael Shernoff, MSW



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