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worried with professional life
Feb 9, 2006

Hello, dr Ewald. I'm a 21 years old male and have been infected in september, on a somewhat traumatic accident: I'm bipolar, was not on meds at that time and had a very harsh maniac episode which put me out of control.

I'm coping greatly with the impact, and all family is helping a lot. I even managed to turn a friendship into a sentimental relation. He's just a little older than me and has no fears or concerns with the fact I'm positive.

I'm also very happy to say that all the good friends I told my new status were caring and comprehensive, and some are now much more closer than we used to be.

I even decided to get in contact again with a sister I haven't seen for 10+ years.

I'm getting treated with great professionals and am also seeing a support group for positive gay guys, where I am the youngest one.

I have great education and am very talented. I am getting my BA degree in by this year. Was already invited for a masters in contemporany arts and I'm currently working with fashion design, showing collections on a seasonal basis.

So the point that worries me is that I have already build a name in my country's fashion scene (with newspaper and TV exposure).

I'm a little "out-of-the-scene" these last months, by the excuse I'm having a time to "vent down", but as soon as my showing approaches, I'll need to get to the art/fashion parties and events to promote my work and my image.

The question is: How will I manage to maintain my secret, specially in a setting everything turns to big gossip? I'm currently hooked on this young man, but if our relation ends, I think I won't be able to resist in engaging in all activities "my world" offers. (By that, read "easy sex with beatiful, rich, shallow and very stupid guys who will tell it to everybody").

It happens also that I can and would probably feel emotionally attracted to one of these guys.

Then, I'm afraid that disclosing my status would probably put my career at risk, even in a very easy and permissive business, like fashion...

So, any tips on how to manage popularity and HIV status for me?

Thanks in advance.

Response from Dr. Horwath

You don't need to share your HIV status with anyone other than your doctor, your sexual partners and anyone else whom you trust. If you decide you want to have "easy sex with beatiful, rich, shallow and very stupid guys who will tell it to everybody," then I'm afraid your secret is going to get out in a hurry. Having a lot of sexual partners is not compatable with keeping your HIV status from public knowledge. You need to accept this as a consequance of "easy sex." It is your responsibility to inform your sexual partners of your HIV status.

If you decide to be be more selective and discrete in your sexual affairs, then you might have a chance to keep your status from public knowledge.



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