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No reply, please . Just a Thank You!
May 20, 2008

Dr. Bob,

I have been reading this forum since my husband told me of his HIV + status on May 7, 2008. It was a big day that I'll never forget. It's been very hard to deal with the news of HIV because he contracted it while having (what he wants to call) a "one time encounter" earlier this year.

A million emotions have overcome me and I have been in desperate need of some support. Per his wishes, I haven't shared the news with our family or friends. I do respect his need for privacy and understand that he is still absorbing his diagnosis. I know what I am dealing with is difficult, but he is dealing with a lot too, and more than anything, I want to be supportive. It has been especially hard for me to cope especially since I am also working though the betrayal I feel. (Putting all of this in writing, I feel like a naive desperate housewife!)

I love him with all my heart and I will stand by him until I can no longer stand. I was angry and thought of how he has ruined our lives, then I was very sad. I can't put my current status into words, but we have made some positive changes! We are starting to live like each day could be the last. We are having fun and enjoying each other. Too bad it has taken something like this in order for us to realize how fragile every moment really is. I have decided to have a positive outlook and to roll with the punches.

We have been each seeing individual therapists (for a few months) and had our first couples session a few days after he gave me the news (the appt was already scheduled). Obviously we were already having some marital issues. I expect that this is going to help.

We have been to see our family doctor and look forward to seeing an infectious disease doctor early next month. My first test was negative and will be re-tested in 3 months. We were given his viral load today of 12,000. We won't know about his CD4 until we see the specialist.

I wanted to learn as much as I could about HIV when I got the news and I stumbled across this web-site and forum. I have to say, and this is the real reason that I am writing, is that I admire and appreciate you and what you are doing. I have learned so much here and from your advice (to read the archives and find a local support group, etc.). Sometimes the things you write make me laugh (you have a great sense of humor) and other times I find a lot of understanding and inspiration in your responses. I just want to say thank you, from the bottom of my broken heart (hopefully someday to be mended). I find myself wanting to preach safe sex to everyone I come into contact with. I can't really do that on a daily basis at work, but maybe in the future this will allow me to get involved somewhere, somehow.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you. Keep up the great work!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

How could I not reply to such a kind posting?

You are far from a "naive desperate housewife." Your desire for support is completely understandable and your decision to stand by your man despite his indiscretion and its tragic consequences is praiseworthy! Yes, your husband will need a period of time to adjust to his new reality, but also, so will you. I would suggest you go with him to his appointments with the HIV specialist. The HIV specialist is at least one person with whom you can talk about any subject, including the need for support! He may also be helpful in encouraging your husband to begin to establish a support system, whether that's close friends and family or perhaps a confidential support group. You both need and deserve support. Continuing with couples counseling is also an excellent idea to help deal with issues like betrayal and anger.

I'm delighted you have found the information here to be helpful. You should encourage your husband to review the information in the "Just Diagnosed" chapter that can be easily accessed on The Body's homepage under "Quick Links."

In addition, the archives of this forum have a section devoted to magnetic couples that you both might find helpful. As you may already know, I too am part of a magnetic couple. I've been "virally enhanced" since January 1991. My life partner Steve (Dr. Steve, the expert in The Body's Tratamientos forum) is HIV negative. We've had an amazing 15 years together and now that the California Supreme Court has cleared the way, we even plan to get married. So there can indeed be life, happiness and incredible sex, even with HIV as an unwelcome guest in your relationship.

As for your desire to "preach safer sex," I can assure you there are unlimited possibilities! Once your life settles down a bit, check with your local AIDS service organizations and I'm sure they will help you find a rewarding volunteer opportunity.

Will your broken heart mend? I certainly hope so. I can tell from your kind post you have a very good heart indeed.

Good luck to both you and your husband. I'm here if you need me. Let's get through this together, OK?

Dr. Bob



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