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My Friends Treat Me As I Am More Irresponsible.
Jul 17, 1997

Part of my character has always been to be a bit impulsive, buy this instead of pay for that, etc. but since the diagnosis of HIV, I have noticed a couple of my closest female friends have been a little harder on me, saying that I am basically irresponsible. I am a 32 year old male and have a great professional career. I don't seem to do anything right as far as they are concerned, although I know that they still love me. Is it common for friends to think that you were irresponsible to have contracted HIV and then associate it with all of your actions. By the way, I was just diagnosed a couple of months ago.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I would not say that this is a common reaction, but it certainly might be operating in this case. If it is what is happening it could be a displacement of your friends feelings. I would suggest that you approach them directly with how you are feeling and attempt to initiate a discussion with them about how you are feeling very judged by them and ask them directly if they blame you for having become infected. A good idea would also be to ask them to tell you all their feelings about your recent diagnosis.

-- Michael Shernoff, MSW



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