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HIV + and Lonely in Europe
Jan 22, 2007

I'm deeply concerned about my best friend, ex-boyfriend. He was recently diagnosed positive, back in Europe (4 weeks now). We had a long-distance relationship at the time, and he tested just before coming to visit me here in the US. The dyagnosis came as a surprise to him, and ofcourse to me as I thought he wasn't having sex with no one else. When he came, we kissed and went for a night out in the clubs. Next morning he gathered the courage and told me. He cried. I cried. I pannicked, got tested that same day, and my results came negative (I hadn't seen him since June). Ofcourse I tried do make him realize that it was not the end of the world, but the truth is he was so desperate that he tricked me into believing he would be as well as possible. I went to work and when I got home he was overdosing on Benadryl. 100 pills. I called 911 and fortunatelly I was on time and he did get better. But as soon as he got out of the hospital he had to go back home to Europe. Of course I once again tried to make him not wanting to kill himself, but I still fear for him. He didn't confess his condition to anyone else but me. I know I am his only friend, and his parents (and family...) are distant enough just for the fact that he's gay, so no way he'll tell them he is HIV + as well... Well, a week and a half has passed. I think the thoughts of suicide are at least on hold. But everytime I talk with him (which is pretty much all day, through the web) I feel like he's falling deeper and deeper into a state of heavy depression... He lost interest in work (which was a big thing for him) and is drinking heavily at night. He didn't go back to the doctor even though his CD4 count is 254 (they tested him while he was treated for the overdose). I try to tell him to go to the doctor, he always says "tomorrow". I try to convince him to get some help maybe from a therapy group, he's scared. I try to tell him to find help, he says there's no use because his life is over. I don't know what else to say. I cannot say to anyone his condition, not even that he tried to commit suicide, as it would be breaking his trust, which I absolutely don't want to do. But I'm feeling more and more powerless each day, seeing him fall into a deeper hole by the hour...

What else can I do, from such a distance?... I will be back in Europe in January, but I'm honestly scared that like him I will be dragged into his pit, just trying to keep him out of it...

Thank you so much if you can help with any words...

Euro-American Guy with an HIV+ Best Friend

Response from Dr. Horwath

You have been very kind and compassionate in your attempt to help your friend. You are doing what you can. However, your friend does have to make the decision to allow himself to be helped. If he is so depressed that he cannot bring himself to go on his own, then you should try to get him to treatment when you visit. However, if he resists and you feel he is a danger to himself (that he's still thinking of suicide), then you may need to involve someone else, like his family, if they are willing.

I wish you the best of luck in your attempts to help.



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