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I don't know how to live with it!!!
Mar 23, 1998

I found out 11 months ago that I was HIV positive, almost with Full Blown AIDS. It was something that totally changed my life in worst ways than I before I ever knew. I am blaming everybody that seems to care about me for this happening, I'm even blaming "GOD". I keep pushing everyone away, trying to keep all loved one's at a distance.

Being only 23 yrs old, married and a mother of 2 toddlers, I hate that this happened to me. I have been with my husband for almost 6 yrs, totally devoted and loving and aware of his needs. I have NO idea where this could have come from, unless it came from a blood transfusion that I had had back in 1986.

I hate to go to church, shopping, I hate to leave my house anymore for the fact that someone will look and me and know that I am infected. I hate the fact that I have to keep apologizing for my inconviency (sp). My husband and both children have been tested and all have come back negative.

I am really happy about that but I look even guiltier. My husband and I are now getting a divorce because he say's that I don't know how to "accept" this HIV and that I need to get on with my life. "How is that possible?", How can a person go from being a happy 23 yr old mother, living life healthy, to living a scared life with HIV? Is it possible?

I am at my wits end and am tired of living a "shut" up life and crying all the time. All i really want to know is "why and how"!?!?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

It is obviously a tragedy to have gotten infected and have AIDS, and of course the initial reaction is anger and shock. But to push those who love you the most away and to withdraw from your support systems is the most self destructive path you can take. Your anger, hurt and pain are all normal and understandable, and must be dealt with in a constructive way. This means by talking about these feelings with everyone you can, your husband, children, minister, friends, doctor and most of all a professional counselor. I would urge you to find a mental health professional who is very experienced in working with people with HIV and AIDS. I am very saddened that you are getting a divorce. I would urge you to ask your husband if he would reconsider if the two of you went into counseling as a couple and if you entered a support group and individual counseling to learn how to pick the pieces of your life back up. It sounds like he loves you and is feeling abandoned by you in this time of both your crisis an his crisis that is also a family crisis. This is most definitely time to reach out in your pain and bewilderment to all those who love you. This can actually strengthen your marriage and family relationships if you allow it to bring you closer to these people and allow them to help take care of you emotionally as well as spiritually.

While I am not a clergy person, I once heard a very wise nun tell a group of us she was training in bereavement work that raging at God over the death of a loved one or a misfortune is fine, God is big enough to handle all of the anger we may throw at him or her. You had a life, a marriage and children before HIV entered your world. Currently you still have them, and they really should be motivation enough for you to move beyond this initial reaction. They are daily precious reminders of why you need to fight for your life. The good news is that the new treatments if taken in rigorous adherence with how prescribed are really life saving. There is really a lot of reasons to have hope. You just need help in locating them. Please, let your family, church and friends help you find these, and then go after them with a new commitment to living. I know it will not be easy, but there are loads of us doing it on a daily basis. Good luck, and let me know how things progress.

Michael Shernoff



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