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Just Learned that Family Member is HIV positive

Aug 31, 2005

Just today I learned that my favorite Uncle is HIV positive. I am 15 years old and my mother decided that today it was appropriate to radomly spit out that my Uncle has AIDS. I don't know any details or for how long he has had, and only my mother knows that I am aware of his infection. Since finding this out, I have kept to myself and have been falling deeper into depression. I don't know what I should do at all. I don't feel comfortable talking to him about it, and I don't know how to cheer myself up. Everything I do and see makes me think about him and want to cry because I don't know how long he has left. I have never been aware of this and it has come as quite a shock. I am scared and have no idea what to do at all and I just want to be happy again. Pleade help me.

Response from Dr. Horwath

You need to speak to your mother about how you feel. Your reaction is a sign of depression, and she should help you find a mental health professional, like a psychologist or psychiatrist, who can evaluate your condition and recommend the appropriate help. It may be that just talking to someone knowledgeable about HIV might help.

Your uncle may have AIDS, but that doesn't mean that he is going to die any time soon. Good treatments for AIDS are now available and he may yet lead a long and productive life. There is no reason to despair now, but you should seek some help.

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risk to family and friends

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