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Advice
Jun 26, 2002

Michael,

I have written you a couple times in the past about my situation. My partner is HIV+ and I am HIV- we have been together nearly 2 years of which we have lived together most that time. We found out his status immediately after we started dating and I requested he get an HIV test. My concern is we continue to have unsafe sex, and as ridiculous as this sounds I feel helpless when we are intimate. I know this is wrong and he does too, but the love I feel during sex is so strong that I just look past the HIV issue and we engage in unsafe sex. I do know we have some sense of understanding because ejaculation internally has never occured and just recently I tested negative. I am not appreciative of myself, and I certainly don't lack confidence, but I just don't know what to do or how to stop this. Like I said it is almost uncontrollable and the intimacy is so strong that I am not sure I would want to. I require a referral from my primary physician to go to any counseling and she kept telling me to leave the relationship so last time I saw her I lied and said I had left him so she would stop telling me what is right/wrong. I don't know where to turn or what to do...How do I stop this, I don't want HIV but I don't want to stop this strong intimacy I share with him. I am truly stuck and highly concerned in the same breath.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I am very concerned that your doctor is so judgemental and giving you unsolicted advice. But I do think that if you can find a therapist who is very skilled in working with gay men in mixed antibody status relationships that you should ask your doctor for a referral to this therapist.

There is not any simple or easy answer to why you are doing this or the steps you need to take in order to stop. Of course the intimacy is greater in unprotected sex. So is the intensity. The good news is at least you are not having internal ejacualtions and as of your last test you were still negative.

But working with a very sensitive therapist may help you either develop a deeper understanding of the complexity of reasons that are influencing your decision to still have unsafe sex and may even help you develop strategies for reducing or stopping this practice.

Best of luck. MIchael Shernoff, MSW



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