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wife HIV+, kids and I negative...wehat's wrong with this picture

Apr 2, 1998

About a year or so ago my wife found out that she was HIV+, the kids and I were tested right away and our tests all came back negative. How is that possible? Don't get me wrong, I am very happy that our tests came back negative, I just can't gather how her's did not. Is it possible that she could have caught it from a blood transfusion that she had gotten a few years ago? We have tried to get in contact with the doctor that had ordered the blood transfusion, but he won't return our calls, even though he was her doctor since birth! He avoids us as much as he can! I just want to know where she got it from though. Our marriage can't withstand not knowing, I don't know how to accept the fact that this happend to her.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

The possibility of her having gotten it from a transfusion before the blood was routinely tested for HIV is a very great possibility. Have you tried contacting the hospital where she received the transfusion to inquire about the source of the blood? You can always contact a lawyer and threaten legal action if the physician refuses to respond to your inquiries.

How and where your wife contracted HIV is not really important unless you suspect that she became infected by having unsafe sex outside the marriage. I am very concerned that you state that the marriage can not survive your not knowing how she became infected. This is a family crisis and needs to be responded to as such. It is natural that you and she are consumed with an enormous variety of feelings about her being infected. Thank goodness you and the children remain uninfected. Have you gotten all the information you need about safe sex in order to insure that you remain uninfected? This is crucial!!! Hopefully the two of your are talking about and sharing your reactions, feelings and fears. If you either can not talk about this issue or are not finding the conversations helpful, then it might be a good idea for you to consult a professional couples therapist who has experience in dealing with families where one of the people has HIV. Please consider doing this if you feel that the marriage is on shaky ground. Good luck and keep all the lines of communication open between yourself and your wife.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

To get involved with someone HIV + or not
Post traumatic stress syndrome

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