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risk to family and friends
Aug 31, 2005

I was told that 2 family members are HIV+, and they have requested confidentiality. The 2 family members are afraid that family and freinds will treat them differently and that those with young children will possibly avoid them altogether. Are we putting others at any risk by not disclosing this secret? I am so worried about the risk to others and I feel torn between protecting them and keeping this confidence. Any advice that you could give me will be most appreciated

Response from Dr. Horwath

You need to respect your family's request for confidentiality. There is no risk to anyone who has casual contact with an HIV+ person. That includes sharing bathrooms, sharing food, kissing, hugging and other usual activities within a family or household. The only significant risk comes from unprotected sex or direct exposure to blood on unprotected and damaged skin (with cuts or abrasions).



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