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My husband did not reveal his father's HIV positive status and he is staying with us

Jun 29, 2014

My husband has his father staying with us while he undergoes dialysis for "kidney failure." I was not told however that he is HIV positive. I learned because his father left his pills out one day and my son swallowed one. Upon calling poison control, I mentioned he swallowed Epivir and the man on the phone told me that med treats HIV positive patients. I think I dropped the phone. I was shocked and a bit concerned, not to mention how upset I was not being told the truth of his health issues. He administers drugs on our couch with a syringe and I am just really bummed. What do I do???

Response from Dr. Fawcett

Thanks for writing. There are some serious issues going on in your home, the least of which is having a household member living with HIV. That, in itself, does not provide a health risk to you or your son.

However, it is crucial, especially with children around, that your father-in-law keep his medications secure and out of reach. I think it's also important that, if possible, he avoid using syringes on the sofa or in bed. Even in hospitals with trained staff and clear procedures this can result in needle sticks, which could represent a real threat. He should work with his healthcare providers to put systems in place which protect all of you.

Finally, you should speak with your husband about communication. Your situation presents challenges and the two of you will need to have optimal levels of interaction. A few sessions with a couples counselor could give you some skills that would be very useful.

Best wishes for you and your family,


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