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The Haunting
Sep 21, 2002

Dear Doc, When I was 14 years old the first guy who stole my virginity was infected with HIV and later died. It took me forever to come to terms with it It took me years to get tested and throughout high school I was depressed most of the time as well as suicidal. I finally got tested and was negative. Then I met this guy who I was with for four years. He cheated on me and recently I found out that he has infected me. so it took me so long to deal with that and now its part of my reality. I cant trust anyone now and I am 23 years old and feel lonely and feel unloved and miserable and betrayed. No one in my age group shares their status so its hard for me to tell someone im poz because guys in my age group are ignorant. I just feel alone. I dont know what to do anymore. I feel like just giving up but dont want to go through all this alone. Friends just dont cut it. I long for a little bit of warmth and companionship

what do you think?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

It is very difficult to have to live lonely and infected. Many AIDS agencies in large cities have special support groups for young people who are living with HIV and AIDS. In some places there are even special organizations for young adults who have HIV so that they are able to have their unique psychological and emotional needs met, in addition to having a venue where they can safely meet other infected young people for support, friendship and possible relationships. I think it would be an excellent idea for you to look into trying to locate these resources near you. Start by calling the closest AIDS service organization and ask about services specifically for infected youth.

Additionally you sound understandably depressed. I also urge you to begin counseling with a licensed mental health professional who is skilled in working with people who are living with HIV. Professional mental health services can help you overcome alot of the problems and issues in order to discover how to live a full and rich love despite being infected.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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