Feb 3, 2004
This question comes all the way from South Africa. I was diagnosed in 2001 but think I was infected sometime before 1998. I have been on medication since 2001 and have generally been healthy physically and mentally. I have never really worried about my status because I have remained positive and have been looking after myself. I have only told one family member whom I confide in but the rest of my family doen't know because I know that they wouldn't be able to deal with it, at least not as well as I have been dealing with it. I recently met a wonderful guy who really wants a future with me. He says he wants to build a family with me. He is willing to come out of a long standing relationship so he can be with me. This has caused me a lot of fear and uneasiness because I keep thinking that he is making a mistake. I love him and want to be with him but I feel as though I'm not really worth it, I mean for him to consider leaving the mother of his child. He doesn't know my status and I don't want to freak him out. Why do I feel like this? Does my being HIV+ mean that I will never be in a serious relationship because that would mean disclosing my status? Should I tell my guy what he's letting himself in for so that he can rethink his decision? This is causing me a lot of anxiety!
Response from Dr. Horwath
Clearly, you need to tell him your status. You can't let him make such a decision without knowing this important fact about you. Imagine how he would feel if he finds out your HIV status only after he leaves his family. You say that you don't want to freak him out, but allowing him to make an important life decision without knowing this about you is a guaranteed way to freak him out.
As for the question, will you never be in a serious relationship because that would mean disclosing your status? How can you be in a serious relationship without revealing your status? If you hide such an important piece of information about yourself, can you truly regard the relationship as serious? What then is a serious relationship? If it's necessary to hide this about yourself, then it appears that the relationship is quite superficial.
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