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Trying to tell mom

Mar 29, 1999

I am a 45 year old male homosexual now wrestling with telling my mom about my HIV+ status. She is ok with the "gay thing" and is close to my lover, but the thought of AIDS seems to greatly disturb her. I have had no OI's and have just begun the cocktail, but a family reunion is planned this spring and it will be difficult to keep this in the closet for much longer. Any advise you may pass along would be appricated. thanks!!

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I am not sure why you feel there is a need to tell her. Why does an upcoming family reunion change the equation at all? What are you hoping will happen by sharing this information with her? Do you really feel the need for her support in this area now? I urge you to talk this through with your partner in order to determine whether or not you REALLY want to tell her and if it is in your best interest to tell her? The family reunion is certainly not the time to tell her.

Of course a mother would be greatly distressed learning that her son had a life threatening illness. Are you healthy? Is your life normal? Why do you think she needs to know? I am not advocating secrets, but rather a careful analysis of your expectations and the impact this will have on her and on you and your relationship with her. Think this all through very carefully in order to be absolutely certain that it is the right thing to do at the right time before you tell her. Nothing is lost by waiting. Michael Shernoff, MSW

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