Dec 7, 2011
In the last 30 days I found out that I am HIV+. I was able to tell some of my family as it was very hard to deal with by myself but not my roommates. I was afraid that I might have Non-Hopkins lymphoma and was so worried about it that I couldnt really think past the possibility of dealing with both sicknesses. Luckily, I went back to my oncologist yesterday and he informed me that my Bone Marrow Biopsy came back negative for any cancerous cells. (I was very happy yesterday for a change) Anyway, when I was told about my HIV status I freaked out and knowing I had to go talk to an oncologist I told my roommates that I was being depressed and worried and carrying a bottle of Xanax everywhere because of my symptoms of Cancer. (I know not the best idea) So when I came home from the doctor yesterday one of my roommates asked about my doctors visit knowing that was the day I found out my results and under a lot of pressure and questioning that I didnt have a good excuse for I came out and told him that I was Positive. I then had to wait for his girlfriend (my other roommate) to come home and tell her too. I felt immediately bad about the choice to disclose but they seem to be fine and are going to get tested out of curiosity in the next couple days. One thing that really got to me though was that my roommate made a comment about how he was glad I told him because he felt like he had the right to know. My question is whats the risk that my roommates can get HIV from me because they live with me and also does my roommate have a point, does he ethically, as a roommate have a right to know? I know legally he doesnt but put it this way, if I lived with you and never disclosed to you and after we moved out you found out I was positive would you be offended?
Response from Mr. Cordova
Thanks for writing in. You have no ethical obligation to tell your roommates (unless you're having sex with them). You cannot transmit the virus through casual contact, and you are only required to disclose your status to your sexual partners.
It may be helpful to sit down with your roommates to make sure that they understand how HIV is transmitted.
Our Just Diagnosed is a great resource for you, and I encourage you to check it out, if you haven't already.
As for whether or not I would be offended - I wouldn't say that I would be offended, but I would wonder why you didn't feel comfortable enough with me to share that information. Either way, other than your sexual partners, it is always your choice whether or not you disclose.
Having just been diagnosed 30 days ago, I'm sure this must seem overwhelming. Rest assured, it does get better. While certainly a new chapter in your life, the book is far from over. I hope this helps.
In health, Richard
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