Using my status to "blackmail" me
May 1, 2004
When I was pregnant I was diagnosed with HIV. I told the father of my baby who, thereafter, told me he went for tests and tested negative. Soon after my baby was born, we broke up. Now he is fighting for the right to be involved in my baby's life, which I've never denied him. Recently he sent me summons to appear in court to discuss his access to the baby. He then gave me a call to tell me that if I fight him he will expose my status to everyone. I have chosen not to disclose my status to anyone except for him and that was mainly because he was my partner when I found out. This has caused me a lot of stress because I do not understand how a human being can do that to another. So to avoid a situation where he tells people about my status, I have to basically give up my daughter which would kill me anyway. What should I do? I can't talk to anyone about this, not even my lawyer!
Response from Dr. Horwath
There is no reason for you to give up your baby. However, you do need to discuss this problem with your lawyer and with some of the other people involved, such as close family members. The main way to defeat his threat is to discuss your status with people who are close to you (family) or in a position to help you (your lawyer, doctor, etc.) before he does. If you speak about this with people whom you trust, you may find that those who truly care for you will be compassionate and understanding, rather than harsh and judgmental. In any case, you can find a way to cope with the reaction of others, but you surely don't want to surrender your baby out of fear.
Also, when you do appear in court, I don't think a judge will look kindly upon a man who is making threats to the mother of his child.
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