Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
   
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
          
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


I NEED ADVICE!
Aug 31, 2000

My wife and I don't know what to do with information we think we have discovered about my brother. He has been taking bactrim and viracept(most recently). He has been very secretive about his having been sick for the past two years. He says that he has some type of infection and polyps in his colon. My wife and I researched the medication and found that they are used to treat HIV. No one else in my family has a clue, and we don't know how to approach him or my parents. We think he could be putting others in danger by not letting family and friends know. For example, he had some rectal bleeding, and if we did not suspect anything, this disease could be transmitted to another family member. How do we confront him and yet let him know that we will always be here to support him?

Response from Mr. Kull

This sounds like a confusing and complicated situation for you. As long as your approach to your brother clearly stresses your concern and support for HIM, your chances of having a favorable outcome increase. Whether or not you say something to him and how you actually address this situation needs to be a personal decision. You know your relationship with your brother much better than I do.

That being said, here's my advice:

How did you find out he was taking these medications? You run the risk of alienating him if he feels that his privacy was violated. While Bactrim and Viracept are used to treat people with HIV disease, you do not know that your brother has HIV until he tells you. There might be another way of letting him know that he could talk with you about anything without telling him about the meds. I don't suggest that you lie. Just use your knowledge judiciously.

Your brother has a right to his privacy. There are a host of misconceptions and prejudices about individuals with HIV. People with HIV are still stigmatized in the world, which reinforces a person's fear to disclose his/her status to others. It often takes time for a person to come clean about their status, especially to their families, with good reason. Give him space and time.

It is unlikely that your brother, if he is HIV positive, is putting others in his family at risk. There have been several studies of rates of transmission from an HIV positive person to members of his/her family through casual contact. None of these studies found that family members became infected through casual contact.

I would suggest that confronting your brother would be a problematic tactic. Confrontation tends to increase a person's defenses. He also might feel defensive if you suggest that he is putting family members at risk (which is not the real issue in my opinion). Maybe this is about your relationship and how you feel left out of something serious in your brother's life.

Try letting him know your concern about his condition and that you "will always be here to support him." Whether or not he tells you that he is positive at that point is up to him. But at least he will know how much you care. What a difference that will make for him.

Good luck.

RMK



Previous
HIV Testing
Next
unprotected sex

  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS


 
Advertisement



Q&A TERMS OF USE

This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint

Advertisement