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OK Guy
Sep 3, 2001

After moving back to my home town of less than 1000 because of the murder of my brother in Nov. 2000 I found out in Feb. 2001 that I am HIV+. I am married with 3 children. My family and my wifes' family live in said area. My wife is the only one besides myself whom I have told about my medical diagnosis and all the accompanying physical health, mental, spiritual, emotional, and professional/social challenges I now face as an individual, and we face together, as a family. She is very supportive and strong. I do not believe that it would be wise/advisable/beneficial to inform my parents or anyone else in our families or any other individual(s) in the area, including clergy, for spiritual help. What is your opinion? The area is really too backward, I believe, to deal with the issue; however, the only support we are able to access, therefore, is medical, and it is really not on the cutting edge, or even, up-to-date. Would you advise relocation considering all these factors?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

This is certainly a very complicated issue that you raise and I would never give you advice about whether or not to move again, as that is such a big decision that has enormous financial, emotional and logistical ramifications for both you and your wife. What I will do is try to sort out the variety of important issues for you so that together with your wife, the two of you can decide what will be the best course of action for your family.

First of all you need to revisit all the issues and reasons that caused you to uproot your life and move back to the town you are now living in, in the first place. Perhaps there are not as many of these that are still important to you as they once were.

I am very upset that you are getting your medical care from someone who is not a specialist in HIV care. This is definitely not a good thing. Having a docotr who sees lots of HIV infected patients can not only result in your living longer, but it will certainly have alot to do with the quality of your life and the sophistication of your medical care. This is a very relevant and important concern as it pertains to any specialists to whom he refers you. They also need to be HIV experts to insure that you get the very best quality of medical care.

While you can get support on the internet, this is simply not enough. There is now a vast body of research that shows that any person with a life threatening or chronic illness simply does better with alot of psychosocial support especially from family, friends, neighbors and clergy people. It sounds like none of this is available to you. If there is an AIDS related organization near to where you live now perhaps you can join an HIV support group. This is essential for your emotionaa, spiritual and psychological well being as well as that of your wife who needs alot of support during this as well.

Moving again is not a decision to be made casually or impulsively. You need to spend alot of time discussing all of the pros and cons with your wife to reach what ever decision will be correct for you. Best of luck.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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