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Young, depressed and confused

Aug 14, 2011

I am 16 year old gay teenager. My 20 year old boyfriend recently found out he may be HIV positive. The doctor told him his viral load is very low and that the virus is almost detectable in his blood and that he needs to revisit in 6 months again to do another hiv test to see if he is really positive. I am confused. We had unprotected sex before his results. I topped him but did not ejaculate inside of him. I am not circumcised and I am really worried about my chances of infection. I got a test done privately with my boyfriend by his doctor but it came back negative. It's been eight weeks since that incident and I have noticed slight pains under my arms pits, on my legs near my groin areas and even under my chin, but the area is not swollen. I am very depressed because I was being very young and stupid.

My parents will surely kill me if they knew I have contracted this disease. There is the possibility of me being thrown out of the house because my father is a pastor. I have not been sleeping nor eating much and it's really affecting my grades in school. I hate myself of being gay and wonder why this has happened to me. At the same time the pressure of all this is really overwhelming and I don't want to make the wrong decision in killing myself. Nobody understands besides my boyfriend but this lifestyle is looked down upon from the church and many people in our society. Please sir, I need your advice. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thank you for writing. I'm sorry that you have to deal with such significant issues at this time in your life. If your boyfriend is indeed HIV positive then, even as the top, you are at some risk for HIV infection. Seroconversion can occur up to 6 months after exposure, so you and your boyfriend need to continue to be tested until that point. Of course, you also need to use a condom when you have sex.

The stigma around being gay and HIV is very powerful, especially where religious beliefs are concerned. I know these pressures can seem overwhelming but I encourage you to find people you can trust and with whom you can speak and receive support. You are not alone. There are many people out there who do understand what you are going through. Your boyfriend's doctor will have some suggestions. Try and find local community resources where you can network with peers and professionals who can help. Many urban areas have both GLBT and HIV resource organizations. Even if you cannot get there physically they may have telephone or internet support. Here is a list of national resources that might give you a lead.

Remember that suicide is never an option. If you start to have thoughts or a plan to kill yourself you need to get emergency help immediately. I know the pressures of being young, gay, and perhaps HIV positive are enormous. You will get through this, but you can't do it alone. Reach out and connect with others.


list of national resources

Stress over acute symptom timeline
Am I at risk or am I insane?

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