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I can Help as An HIV- Partner
Jun 1, 2000

My partner has left the relationship and is acting out sexually -- not telling people he is HIV+ -- I have had to distance myself because what he is doing hurts me -- is this normal in a newly diagnosed individual (12/99)? I do not want anyone else but can't stand this pain either. Do you have any advice to help me get through this difficult time?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Are you saying that your partner has broken up with you and is having high risk sex or that you and he are still involved in a relationship and he is sexually and emotionally distancing from you by doing what you are calling sexual acting out? These are two very different situations.

All you can do is to tell him how he is behaving is making you feel, that you are very hurt by him and angry at how he is behaving.

Each individual reacts to his or her diagnosis of being HIV+ in different ways. But your e-mail only raises more questions for me. Had your partner tested negative prior to December, 99? If so then he obviously had been having or had high risk sex at least once from which he became infected. What kind of sexual arrangement did the two of you have? Were you supposed to have been sexually exclusive or not? Were you surprised to learn that he had been sexually active with other people?

I think you are asking for help with a very complicated situation and thus with a complex corresponding set of feelings which are beyond the scope of a cyber reply.

It is clear that you are hurt and angry and with good reason. You need to find constructive ways for you to cope with these feelings and to get support for what you are going through. Have you spoken to your friends and shared with them what is going on? This may be useful as well.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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