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Help! Who do I talk to Im so alone, my husband is HIV positive

Jul 28, 2013

In March I found out by accident that my husband of 10 years is HIV positive. He says he only found out in Jan and has been on ARV medication. He insists he hasn't been unfaithful, and says the clinic says that it has been lying dormant. I had sex 1 time in the time span before I found out. I went for a test x2 now and they are negative. We are no longer sexual, he threatens to leave me when we have a fight but doesn't realise I have chosen to stick this out. He has made me promise not to discuss this with anyone. I live in South Africa and nobody can give me the correct answers as they don't really know what to answer themselves. I had a major open double lung operation in March last year and my husband says that I gave it to him. Who do I believe? How do I make him tell me the truth and will I ever know if he refuses to tell his kids or the pastor about it? I am so alone I don't know who to turn to. I have to be so strong and make sure he takes his tablets in secret so his kids don't find out. I just want answers. Did he sleep around, or can this have been lying dormant as his counselor at the AIDS clinic told him?

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing. I am sorry to hear about your difficult situation. It is significant that you have remained negative and I haven't heard of the virus lying dormant for 10 years. However, knowing with certainty the circumstances of your husband's infection really doesn't help your situation.

It is important that you both find some sort of assistance where you can discuss how you will face this together. Trying to keep this a secret can be very unhealthy (emotionally and physically), although I understand the dangers associated with stigma and disclosure. Issues of trust, anger, and fear in your relationship need to be discussed. Speak with your husband about confiding in at least one other person (perhaps the pastor) about this. And remember to take care of yourself, as well. You are ultimately not responsible for him taking his medications indeed caretakers are at risk for developing stress related disorders themselves.

Good luck to you both,


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