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Telling the Parents....
Aug 26, 2001

I am 26 years old, and just found out last week that I am HIV+. My parents have known that I was gay since my sophmore year of high school, and they have always been supportive of anything that I do. I am incredibly close to my parents, (who live in another state) and I have a few questions to ask:

1- Is there a set "timeline" for these things?

2- Knowing my parents, (esp. my mother)I am very worried about her reaction (after I leave to come back home) and the subsequent state of mind that one or both of them will be in.

PLEASE do not get me wrong- They will not love me any less- I know this- but I am very worried that this news will ravage them. I have been given many different opinions on this by many different people, and I'm at a loss for what to do. Please excuse my babbling, but I'm suffering from information overload right now

Thank You

Response from Mr. Shernoff

There is not any time table for when is best to tell your parents. What is best is at a time that you feel very strong and cetnered and do not need anything emotionally from them as they will probably need alot of reassurance and support from you.

Of course your mom will be devastated, that is a normal initial reaction. Over time as she sees that you are and remain healthy that should diminish. One thing you can do is to have alot of information available to give to them so they can educate themselves. Also if they live in an area where there is an active PFLAG chapter they should ocntact it and speak to other parents who are living with HIV+ sons to get support.

Encourage them to tell as many people as they need to in order to maximixe the support they need.

Since you have a great track record with them about their accepting your being gay, that should make things easier.

Best of luck.

MIchael Shernoff, MSW



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