Jan 29, 2004
Hi, Dr. Horwath... I'm writing with a question about disclosure. I'm ten weeks out from my HIV diagnosis, and 2.5 weeks into my first HAART regimen.
From the start, I made the decision not to involve any of my friends or family in this situation. Instead, I've turned to various AIDS & LGBT service organzations for short-term one-on-one counseling, and have recently attended my first support group (a big step, as I'm very concerned that word not get back to my loved ones).
My goal is to spare them this reality as long as possible, and to spare myself the pressure of living with their weight of their worry. Although this decision is not always an easy one to live with, I still believe it's the best one -- both for myself and for the people I care about. I hope to continue this way for many years...
I'm curious, though, about your thoughts on this subject.
P.S. BTW, and apropos of nothing in particular, I have a master's degree from Columbia. Hope things are well at my alma mater...
Response from Dr. Horwath
Of course, the decision to disclose your status or not is totally up to you. You are the person who best knows your friends and family.
You may want to discuss your decision in your support group. Other people in the group may have disclosed their HIV status to their families and friends, and you might benefit from hearing about their experiences. The decision not to disclose places a big burden on you. The burden consists of the need for constant vigilance and secretiveness. You also deprive yourself of any of the potential benefits of sharing your status with those who love you. You mentioned that you would like to be spared the pressure of living with their worry, but you also close yourself off from the possiblity of their help and support.
As I said earlier, you know your family best, and you are the best judge of whether you should disclose your status. Good luck.
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