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Talking to my relative re HIV
Dec 13, 2004

My relative's fiance was a beautiful southeast Asian woman who died of AIDS-related encephalopathy four years ago. Although he is well into middle age, my relative is quite naive and didn't realize the risks of unprotected sex nor did he have any idea of her diagnosis until three months before her death. He said he got tested once, in a large Asian city, and was negative. He did not retest three months later, to my knowledge. This past week, he had to be rushed to the hospital with a menningitis-like symptoms--couldn't keep his balance, had a neck and headache and was having trouble breathing. It wasn't menningitis. Then they found signs of pneumonia on his x-ray, but it's not bacterial pneumonia. Now they're telling him he has some bronchitis-like disease, and they're sending him home. Last summer he had a series of rashes that I don't think he told the doctor about. I'm getting worried about him. I don't think his physician knows anything about his fiance or his exposure to HIV. Outwardly he appears strong and he is very successful, traveling all over the world. I want to talk to my relative about being frank with his physician, but I don't want to overstep my bounds. How do I broach the subject?

Response from Dr. Horwath

His fiance died due to complications of AIDS. If he was tested only once and the accuracy of the test is in question, then he should be tested again.

I think this can be said to him fairly directly.



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