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Tyring to keep it to myself
Nov 5, 2007

Hey Dr. Bob,

I wanted to thank you for the advice you gave me a couple of years. Just to let you know, I graduate from undergrad this year and will be entering grad school next fall. So, I am looking forward to a successful future. I am however starting a career in television. I wanted to know, how I can ensure that my status does not get out? I know one day I will be popluar and when I do get there one day, I want to make sure people do not know about my status. Thank you for your assistance.

Sincerely,

A young survivor.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Young Survivor,

How can you "ensure" your HIV status does not get out? You can't. HIV is now a reportable condition in all states in the USA. Therefore the days of remaining anonymous are now behind us. If you've seen a doctor for this condition, there is a record somewhere of your being HIV positive and that diagnosis has been reported to the State Health Department. Confidentiality laws apply in some situations, but not all. Perhaps the real question is why would it be so terrible if people knew your HIV status? Do you feel it would harm your career? It shouldn't. In my opinion the HIV names reporting laws were not a good idea for several reasons, but now that they are indeed law we have to live with them. Laws or no laws, I don't think secrets of any kind are healthy. Why not be as open with your status as you need to be. Being HIV positive should not have to be hidden. Doing so only continues to propagate the stigma of the disease and in many cases makes life harder for the HIVer.

Dr. Bob



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