Jan 28, 2008
I am helping a 20 year-old family member with HIV. He was diagnosed in fall 2006 and told us in June 07. He had gone to the doctor once in the fall of 2006, and I went with him next time in the summer of 2007. He has not gone back since and keeps putting it off. He is very busy working and going to school, but I think he is going back into a sort of denial- he's ignoring it. His CD4 dropped to 427 with a viral load of 5500 last summer, but his doctor wanted to see him last month. I'm fearful he just won't go back.
I don't live near him, but I am one of the few family members who regularly has conversation with him about his HIV. Can you recommend a strategy that I could try, without nagging him, that may help him to realize regular HIV monitoring and doctor visits are important? I know he is in control and makes his own decisions, but given his age, I think it is important he is fully informed about the danger of such choices. Thank you so much for this site and these forums!
Response from Dr. Horwath
The best you can do is to continue to communicate with him. He should have more regular medical visits. Instead of nagging him, you could try to directly address what he's doing. So, if you think he's avoiding or in denial, you could point this out to him. He may not even be aware of his denial. if you address it, you are doing him a favor. He may not like it, but he will thank you in the long run if you get him back into treatment.
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