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Why am I doing this?
Jul 7, 2000

My partner is Hiv+, we found out together this past Jan.

We have never had safe sex and continue not practicing safe sex to this day, (I have tested Neg for HIV). My question is this, Why? I know that I will catch HIV sooner or later but I feel the need to let my partner be as normal as possible.

I have done so much ie: cook healthy foods, bought damn near every book on the subject and vowed to keep him healthy, and alive for as long as possible. I do not want to keep him healthy just so he can watch me get sick and die, for him to know that he infected me would kill him. Please help me understand why I do this, (unsafe sex thing) thank you for your time.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You are asking a much more complicated question than I can really answer. There is probably no one reason why you are doing this. On one level it could be a literally potentially terminal case of your being co-dependent and putting your need to not make him feel uncomfortable ahead of your own safety, health or even life. Or, it could be an internalized martyr complex on your part. It might just be unworked-through internalized homophobia that is manifested by an unconscious belief that you do not deserve to live. Perhaps it is a deep-seated self-destructive urge. Not knowing you, I cannot ascertain which of these, or other reasons, either singly or in combination with each other might be contributing to your behaving in this way.

But at least as important as why you are behaving this way is why does your partner agree to participate in behaviors that could make you ill or kill you? If that is love, I would not want any part of it. He sounds like a selfish shit to me in not insisting that you take every precaution to ensure that you do not share his fate. I urge you to begin to look at and wrestle with the implications of HIS complicity in what the two of you are doing.

No matter what the reasons are that you are behaving stupidly and/or crazily, you need professional help AND QUICKLY if you want to try and change what you are doing. I believe that if you have any ambivalence about what you are doing, (and if you did not you would not have been so troubled as to write me), and you want to stop playing Russian Roulette with your life, then you need to find a very skilled and gay positive mental health professional and begin working with him or her both individually and as a couple to change this very dangerous pattern.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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