HIV+ dating & needing to disclose
May 27, 2009
I have been HIV+ 6 years. I am currently attending college in Ohio but am originally from California. I mention this b/c I know Ohio law regarding disclosure is different and I am hoping I have not already put myself in a predicament. I have been dating a classmate for a little over a month, and our relationship is beginning to get more serious. I need to disclose my status, but I would like guidance b/c the situation is slightly unique. Let me preface my first question with the fact that, in the heat of the moment, we have almost had protected anal sex once, and I have received unprotected oral sex on one other occasion. So my first question is, under Ohio law, at what degree of sexual contact, ie oral vs. anal, or does it not matter, have I risked putting myself in the position of being prosecuted if the other party desires upon disclosure? Secondly, being that I am solely HIV+, do not have a dual-diagnosis, or any other STDs that would adversely affect the probability of transmission, and having been undetectable for years, again adding to the improbability of transmission; Is there a resource specifically addressing disclosure among magnetic couples? Or to prepare to do so, will I just need to pull important information from numerous and various resources? On another note, I do have a vague idea on how I am going to approach the situation, but would greatly appreciate any additional advice you may have. In Ohio, there is an agency (CATF) that performs free Oraquick HIV testing certain times and days of the week. Additionally, my social & case manager is located here. Ideally, I would like to contact them ahead of time and inform them what day and time I plan on disclosing. And have this additionally match the day and time the free testing is offered. So ultimately, the idea is to disclose from within the home, but be able to offer immediate and instantaneous testing and expertise to help alleviate any unnecessary distress on my partners part. Does this sound like a good way of approaching the situation? Let me just say, this is something that scares the living bejesus out of me... so perhaps Im ultimately looking for some guidance as far as what I should expect for possible outcomes. I know there are many factors, especially considering that different individuals will respond very differently by nature. But what I keep running through my head is the fact that he is 22 and I am 29, perhaps giving me reason to discount whatever maturity he may have in approaching the matter. And just as I am, he is also very strong-headed and willed. Add in the fact that he is a classmate, if the reaction is adverse, I could ultimately be jeopardizing my continued admittance and scholarship to school. And finally, with him interning at the Supreme Court of Ohio, and readily having access to legal discourse, I could effectively be sealing my own fate. Of course, that is whether or not I have surpassed any legal guidelines, in addition to how he reacts in the first place. At this point, given whatever Ohio law may be, should I consider just cutting ties & anonymously disclosing?
Please help - Dazed & Confused.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Unfortunately Ohio is not all that enlightened when it comes to HIV/AIDS. It's my understanding the disclosure laws there are quite unreasonable and border on the outrageous. For instance, I believe it's a felony for an HIVer even to spit on someone, even though this activity does not pose a risk for HIV transmission. Basically any type of sexual activity is covered under Ohio's disclosure law. My advice to you is to disclose your status to your new boy-toy, not because you are fearful of Ohio's outrageous and scientifically indefensible law, but rather because it's the right thing to do. Also, the longer you wait, the more difficult disclosure becomes and the greater the chance Mr. Right (or Mr. Right-now) will feel betrayed and end the relationship. Take a read through the chapter in the archives of this forum for some disclosure tips and testimonials.
The option of cutting ties and anonymously disclosing using a service such as ISNPOT.org (see below) is available to you. However, it's not the option I would choose, particularly if you have feelings for your buddy and don't want to completely screw up any chance for the relationship to evolve.
Whatever you decide, good luck!
How do I anonymously tell a partner I may have exposed him to an STD??? (INSPOT.ORG) May 5, 2009
Dr. Bob, HELP!!!! I did something stupid and now I've got syphlis!!!! I'm still waiting for my HIV test!!! What really worries me is that I've had sex with several friends and we sort of forgot to use a condom. But I know these guys really well and know they are healthy and usually play safe. I just can't tell them in person that I have syphilis and my health department wants to know my name. I don't trust them to keep the information confidential if I give them these guys names. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Response from Dr. Frascino
Hi Too-Embarrassed-To-Tell-Them Guy,
You sort of forgot to use a condom???????? Hmmmmm.....Early Alzheimer's I presume, right? Otherwise I'm sure you wouldn't take such a risk. (Learning a lesson like this the hard way is indeed painful and I'm not only talking about the walloping dose of penicillin that's going to be injected into your butt, either! I'm hopeful your experience will make others think twice before "sort of forgetting to use a condom", even with friends.)
Actually there is a way to notify your contacts! Check out the Web site called InSpot.org. There you can send an anonymous e-mail to your sexual partners advising them they may have been exposed to an STD. Yes, it's truly anonymous and cannot be traced back to you. There are a variety of very simple messages to send. My favorite is "I got screwed while screwing, you might have too." Dr. Bob says, "Check it out!" Don't delay! Your contacts need to be told and treated ASAP!
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