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An insane and infected Uncle
Dec 30, 2002

Hi!!!

About a month ago, My mother found out that my uncle was HIV+. He recently called our house at about 1:00 am saying that there was men in his house after him, and that they was trying to change him into something that he is not. He also said that there was snakes and bugs crawling all over him. Then all of a sudden he said something like "they got me!" And then the phone went dead. I was on the other line and me and my mom went crazy. We did'nt know if he was hurt or what. So finally we was able to contact him agian and he said that every thing was ok. So a couple of days later he called and told my mom that he was HIV+ and that he's known for about a year and a half. Now we've had him over for dinner and everything. But we've always been EXTREMLY careful because he's a prositute. ( he's gay and had gotten a fully sex change)About two weeks later, my mother got an phone call from my aunt saying that my uncle was running down the street with his shirt off and his pants on screaming "help me!!" He says that he was attacked by people. He never seems to see the people but know that he's being attacked or whatever. He's been in a lest 3 to 4 car accidents back to back and our family is worring ALOT!!!!! He only wants my mom and their mother to know and he gradully telling everyone else. Now I was wondering if you could tell me if these Illusions he's having is HIV/AIDS realated. Other than the sudden and crazy changes, he seems normal and sane. And what ways could you catch it. For instance if he drinks out a paper cup and you take the cup and put your lips on it but don't drink anything from it and it's not in the same place could you catch it?? PLEASE answer soon. I'm really concered about him.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Your uncle's mental condition could definitely be caused by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. The virus is able to attack the central nervous system, which includes the brain. In some people this makes them act crazy.

Your uncle really needs to have his medical condition evaluated by a doctor who is expert in working with people who have HIV, and by a psychiatrist who is also an expert in this field. They will be able to evaluate whether or not his crazy behavior is caused by the AIDS virus. If it is, then there are medications that your uncle can take that may help reduce these symptoms.

Having your mother and aunt urge your uncle to seek medical attention is the best thing any of you can do to help him.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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