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My GF refuses to 'talk' to anyone
Nov 4, 2003

Dear DR's,

My 17 year old Girfriend, who tested postivie for HIV less than a week ago refuses to get counseling. She says the only person she wants to talk about it with is me(I'm the only one who knows so far), and I'm her only reason to 'keep on going'. I am 21 and HIV negative. I dont really know what to tell her other than that I Love her and I'll stay with her through 'thick-and-thin.' I know its early, and she still hasnt really accepted that she is HIV Positive, but I know she will need counseling sooner or later.. What can I do to convince her to seek psychological help? and what can I do to help her myself?

I truly love this girl with all of my heart, and Its breaking my heart to see her go through this. I'm scared it will become to much for her. She already doubts her 'toughness' to fight this terrible illness.

Thanks, CM

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You have to be honest with her aobut how you are feelings including that you are overwhelmed by her unwillingness to find other people to get support from in addition to you. It is not realistic for her to expect that you and your support will be enough. She needs to find peer support gorups of other young people who are living with the virus to interact with and learn form and to become friends with. SHe may or may not need professional counseling. But she definitley needs other positive individuals to provide needed support and help.

I am concerned that you have promised to stay with her through thick and thin. While I totally respect these sentiments and do not doubt the sincerity of what you are feeling now, those feelings may change at some time, especially if she continues to place the full burden of this on your shoulders. As long as you genuinely feel love for her, then there is every reason to stay with her. But if that begins to change, and I am not saying that it will, but just that you both are so young, and feelings do have a way of changing over time, then you should not feel trapped in the relationship simply because whe is HIV positive and you promised to stay with her.

You may benefit from a group for people who are significant others to people living with HIV.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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