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How to help someone HIV negative.
Aug 4, 2003

Dear Michael, I have been dating the most incredible guy for the past month. We have discussed my HIV status, I am positive, he is negative. At this point, we have taken everything very slow. We have spend many hours a week in each other's company, or on the phone. I am pretty sure this is the guy for me....the problem? HIV is so stressful for him to deal with. He's scared. I want him to be concerned, I want him to also help take responsibility for his health, if we choose to become physical. How can I help ease the fear, without overwhelming him with information. He is a Police Officer, and has enough stress just in his daily work life. I have sent him many question and answers from this forum, to give him basic information, I am just hoping to get past the stress of HIV and have a decent shot at a good relationship with this guy. We had talked about going to counseling together, briefly, but it's too costly right now. Any other suggestions?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

This is a tough one. He needs to take responsibility for making sure that he is as educated on the issue as he feels he needs to be, not as much as YOU feel he needs to be. The relationship is very new, and the process of the two of you getting to know one another and how you feel about one another can not and should not solely focus on your HIV status.

Jointly seeing a counselor at this very early phase does not seem appropriate. You need to encourage him to ask all the questions he may have and then to share any and all feelings he may have, and to listen to your thoughts and feelings as well and then to respond to these honestly.

How well the two of you are able to openly disucss each of your fears, concerns and issues, and listen to how the other is feeling will provide all the information you both need in terms of whether or not this should continue to develop into a major romantic relationship.

Best of luck to you.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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