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HELP WITH MY TEEN WHO IS HIV+
Feb 7, 2003

I want to be as honest as possible so that I can get to the bottom of what happened to my niece. In 2001, my sister died of AIDS. Her oldest daughter has full blown AIDS, and recently we found out that one of the children who I am a guardian to is HIV+. We have gotten care for her and she is being treated by a wonderful caring staff of physicans. We were told by the doctor that it would have been very hard for her to get be HIV+ by birth through her mother. She says she doesn't know how she got this. There was a man living with my sister who says that he got it from her, but we knew that he was a drug user. How do we get to the truth. We love our niece but this secret is haunting our family after my sister disclosed nothing to us. PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND.

Response from Ms. Breuer

There are not many ways to contract HIV. If you read the transmission section of this website, you will see that your niece's possible routes of transmission probably did not include birth or breast milk. That leaves exposure to contaminated blood, needle-sharing or sexual contact.

How she was exposed is a question that I'm sure haunts you, but I'm guessing that the harder you pursue it, the more she'll feel that she has to protect it. Focus on her future, ignore the mode of transmission for now, and help her to feel that she's loved and accepted as she is. You may never know how she became infected. In the long run, it doesn't make a difference, does it? Your plate is full helping her to cope with this and safeguard her health.



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