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Should there be high concern for my children living with AIDS?
Mar 1, 2003

My husbands brother has AIDS and lives with my family. We have two boys, 8 years and almost 2 years. He is taking all medications provided by the state. However, I have witnessed careless behavior, like sharing his sodas, etc. Where can I go to get answers on protecting my family or possibly share with me the truth about the risk I've allowed my family to be subject to?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Careless behavior? . . . . . . Is your brother-in-law having sex or sharing intravenous needles with your kids? That would of course be illegal, as well as careless. Sharing sodas, on the other hand, is neither illegal, reckless, or careless.

It appears you have much to learn about the risk of HIV transmission. Why not make a list of your concerns, discuss it with your husband, and perhaps even your brother-in-law. Then present the list to your brother-in-law's HIV/AIDS specialist. There is absolutely no need for fear or worry. Remember, we've been studying this virus for over 20 years. We know how it is and is not spread. It is not spread by casual contact, such as sharing sodas! Yes, there are some precautions you should make. Your brother-in-law should not share razors or toothbrushes for instance. Set your mind at easy by getting all the facts. With very minimal precautions and common sense, you can rest assured that you have not subjected your family to any risk, but rather you have significantly helped your husband's brother. I also hope that when you are ill or coming to the end of your days here on earth, someone will provide you with the love, understanding, and help you need.

By the way, I too am HIV-positive and I share my sodas with my nieces and nephews whenever they want a sip! I also sleep in the same bed as my HIV-negative life partner. Does that help?

If you have additional questions, try calling the Center for Disease Control AIDS Hotline at 1.800.232.4636. They also have a variety of free pamphlets and publications that can be requested by calling 800-458-5231. Knowledge will allay your fears.

Dr. Bob



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