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Sibling with HIV refuses to disclose status to aging parents

Jan 11, 2009

My sibling disclosed her HIV status to me and other siblings 7 years ago, but refuses to disclose to our aging parents who do not live locally.Fear of judgement, devastating effect on them, worry, lack of understanding.We are supportive, and want to respect this wish.Treating doctor agrees.But it is becoming difficult to hide due to physical changes in appearance,prompting questions-though our sibling's health is fairly good.Is this the right thing to do? My sibling expects to outlive my parents, though HIV positive 17years.

Response from Dr. Horwath

The right thing to do is to respect your your sister's wishes. Even though it causes problems, it is her right to choose disclosure or non-disclosure. Of course, if it becomes obvious that she is ill, then she will need to find an explanation.

I understand your difficulties with this, and if I was in your shoes, I might try to persuade her to be more open with your parents, but I would respect her wishes on this issue.

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