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Is the truth the best way to deal with AIDS?
May 24, 2006

Dear Dr. Frasino:

I always look at your forum and I admire your work a lot. Recently Ive read the letter or a "worried" father and the answer or his infected son where him defended his shameful fathers behavior. When you replied his message you suggested him to tell his mom and other members of his family about his positive status. I think in that case it would be the best to do but...I do not know if the truth is always the best policy. Let me tell a bit about my history...I am positive since 1991 and also already developed AIDS (Pneumocistosis in 2000). Now I am fine. My mother does not now my positive condition after 15 years...Ill tell you why...I am 41 years old and my mom is an 80 years old women with several health problems and she already was 15 years ago. So, I just would like to know what benefit would my mom get by knowing that her only son is HIV positive? Im a productive member of the society, I am in a good shape, recently I got a daughter (thirdy-part semen), and I realy have a very good life. Why sould I worry my mom about something that is beyond her capability of understanding and about she is completely powerless? I am not saying that we have to keep skeletons within the closet, Im just not sure that the truth always provide benefits to every one...sometimes omission or a mild lie is the best way to deal with subjects that maybe will be a source of unnecessary concern, specially to elderly peaple that grew up in a different world. Sincerelly yours,

Sérgio

PS: Im sorry for my english, Its not my first language!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Sergio,

You "do not know if the truth is always the best policy????" Hmmm . . . . You doubt the age-old adage (and popular fortune cookie fortune) that says "honesty is always the best policy????" Could billions of fortune cookies be wrong?

My dad is 82 and my mom is 81. They both have their share of health problems and live on the other side of the country from me. An argument could be made that I didn't really need to tell them about my HIV-positive status. But I did and I continue to believe it was the correct thing to do. Do you want your daughter to keep information like this from you because she thinks you might not be able to handle it?

Sorry, I just don't buy your argument that "omission and mild lies" are the best way to deal with subjects that may be a source of concern. Whom are you protecting, mom or yourself???

Sergio, I certainly don't know all the details of your particular situation, but personally, I'm sticking by my fortune cookie's advice: "honesty is always the best policy."

Dr. Bob



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