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I RUINED MY LIFE
Jan 6, 2008

Okay, im a teenager. I still live with my parents, im still in high school, i still have all my friends and my family... But im pretty much 100% sure i have HIV. I can't imagine focusing on school pretending nothing is wrong while i know im dieing. I can't tell my parents because they would find out how i got it (and that would bring up another issue i could NEVER tell my parents... if you catch my drift) If i run away, they would be devastated, if i shoot myself they would be devastated, but i cant go on with this inside!!! i dont know waht to do!!! because i want medication but my parents would have to find out.. and i dunno.. how do you tell your parents if your still an adolescant "I got HIV" not to mention in the most shameful way possible!!!! PLEASE HELP ME Dr.Bob, I CANT TAKE IT ANYMORE.. I FELL LIKE THERE's NO WAY FOR MY LIFE TO BE GOOD OR HAPPY OR ANYTHING EVER AGAIN.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

You did not ruin your life. Yes, I do indeed "catch your drift." Society's puritanical view on homosexuality is what's making your life difficult at the moment. You feel you contracted HIV ". . . in the most shameful way possible." That indicates you feel shame about being gay or having gay sex. How tragic that sexual orientation is still so misunderstood. I wonder if homophobic parents really understood the damage they were doing to their gay children if they would wake up and become more reasonable. (The fact you considered running away or even suicide graphically illustrates this point!) I should also point out that many parents are actually much more enlightened and reasonable than you would initially expect. When kids do finally come out to their parents, often the parents state they "knew" for quite some time. It is unfortunate it's such a taboo subject, considering being gay is completely normal.

Here's what I would suggest. As a teenager, you should be able to visit your doctor alone, even if it's still the pediatrician and your folks have to drive you there. If you feel you aren't ready to come out to your folks, especially because of your HIV concerns, tell them you need to see the doctor because you just aren't feeling well (or whatever). Insist on going into the exam room alone with the doctor. As a teenager they should not protest too much! Once in there, quickly level with the doctor. Tell him you're gay; you're worried about HIV; and don't feel you can discuss either issue with your folks yet. He or she will keep your conversation confidential. HIV testing can be done in the office with a rapid test. Results are available within 20 minutes. If you're positive, have the doctor help tell your parents. They won't freak out as much with a physician in the room. If you're negative, talk to the doctor about your concerns about not being able to be open with your folks. You may also need to be screened for other STDs. Use the time also to learn about safer sexual practices. Ultimately I urge you to level with your folks and the sooner the better. Coming out is never easy, but it's always worth the effort.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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