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positive ways to dispell fears

Aug 18, 2002

My situation may seem odd.I am going to start an sti which my doctor is fully backing me on.It's something I have wanted to do for a very long time and although the general consensous is they are just risky in general,my doctor assures me given my personal stats and history he's confident I won't hit any major bumps in the road and whatever should arise we can easily remedy with different options.I know some of my fears are irrational and I did want to do this for sometime, but I need to find some outlet for these fears so the mental doesn't have a detrimental affect on the physical outcomes.I have a super healthy lifestyle and do workout like a fiend especially for the mental high I get.There aren't really any support groups that I know of that are strictly devoted to "dispelling fears of sti's"and truthfully some pos individuals that I have spoken too are so down,negative and full of misery I'd rather avoid then.They think that I'm nuts to be chancing it, but it have been well planned a very well thought out and what the people I have conversed with aren't understanding is HIV is such an individual malady and you can't make assumptions on the general masses.It should be case by case.So besides dispelling my fears which have only cropped up recently with the negative feedback from peers that really haven't had the experience with them how do I deal with these people so their fears don't suck me in?I could stop communicating with them but then it looks like I'm a quitter and that is something I definately am not.Thank you

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You have to tell them very honestly that their responses are not supportive, and unless they can change how they are relating to you they run the risk of your not willing to speak to ehm any longer. You are not advocating that anyone else try what you are doing, but you do want their support to individualize your treatment in consultation with your doctor. This is the essence of self empowerment. You are very educated about potential risks and you are willing to still try this course of action.

Your situation is very similar to people who were positive and chose not to begin HAART because they did not feel that they needed or wanted to. Many of these people heard alot of negative things about their decision to refraim from taking antiretrovirals, mostly from other positive people who had chosen to begin the meds. In the long run, it turned out that most of the people who chose to delay antiretroviral therapy were correct to do so.

Alot of the explanation for the lack of support you are getting comes from the fact that people may feel that your decision undermines or threatens their own resolve. This is complete BS of course.

So you need to confront anyone who is not supporting you by telling them that you know that they feel they are trying to communicate their concern for you and your well being, but in reality what they are doing is not able to tolerate someone doing things differently than they think is best FOR THEM. IF they want to continue the friendships and conversations with you they have to allow you the space to not choose the same path that they are on or that they feel is best.

Best of luck.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

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