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Getting past the falsehoods!
Dec 13, 1999

Dear Father DeMartini,

After a sexual encounter with a stranger (who moved out of state and can't be found) last year I became ill for 3 weeks in August with what they call 'ARS'. I did not know what this was at the time, or that I had it, but my doctor alerted me to this. I have since taken the ELISA HIV test about 12 times including 1 year after this encounter and all were negative. I realize that the test is false and that there is little I can do except to keep taking it. I have abstained from any realtions since my illness, and the thing that bothers me as an honest Catholic is the wall of lies that surrounds HIV/AIDS! I see many postings from people who take well over a year to test +, and yet the health departments and MD websites say its not possible, or a "statistical outlier". How do I deal with all the untruths told about this disease starting with these crummy HIV tests on up?

Thanks Fred

Response from Father DeMartini

Dear Fred--As I read your honest letter, I sense a lot of fear and anger. I hear that you are concluding that because of your behavior with a stranger you are definitely positive and that all the tests are false. Perhaps, in addition to taking the test again, you can also talk with someone about how to forgive any shame and blame you still feel about this relationship you had. Sometimes we can believe that we deserve punishment when we do or say something wrong and that no good should come to us (like remaining HIV-) until we are appropriately punished and pained. I don't personally believe that God, who sent his Son to redeem us, wants us to suffer but rather to enter into this act of love and be open to healing and forgiveness. I pray that you can consider this perspective and if you need help in finding someone to talk to in your local area please contact me at ncan@sonic.net. I will keep you in my prayers. Fr. Rod



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