My sisters have disclosed my status to anyone and everyone they speak too


I am sitting here astounded and flawed each time I find out someone else knows my status because one of my sisters feels they have the right to simply state their brother - as they say has AIDS. I am HIV Positive but have suffered no medical issues from HIV except the stigma I experience daily . I did not disclose to my sisters but to a gay couple when I was newly diagnosed in September 2002. I spoke to them in confidence and one of them spoke to my younger sister about my status. She then told my older sister and they spoke to whoever freely about my disease yet they NEVER reached out to me to ask if I needed to speak about it.

I sit here frustrated asking how could my own sisters do this too me. I slapped my younger sister in June after they called me an "AIDS Crack Whore" and now I have to go to court for domestic violence. I might ad I do not use drugs anylonger and did only for a short period after my mother passed away in April. I do seek counseling regularly and I am sorry for my actions and will now have to pay the price for them. I try to move forward and I now a realize a relationship with either of them can no longer be a reality.

What can I do legally to let them know, I mean business and that what they are doing is just wrong. I will say this, I am very comfortable with my status (the world is not) but I believe it is my own personal business to disclose when I need to and if no stigma existed I would gladly disclose to anyone and everyone. I have grown a great deal as a result of my being positive. I have learned to be humble, grateful and patient. I am, however, running out of hope however that I will ever have a life of peace and happiness. I am becoming more depressed and do not see this as a life of abundance with good quality regardless of my superior blood counts.

Thank you.


Dear Writer,

Unfortunately, I hear stories like yours quite a bit in my law practice. Your sisters' behavior is unethical and hostile, and I am very sorry for the damage they have done to your relationship with them and others. However, I am afraid there is probably nothing "illegal" about what they are doing. As individuals, your sisters are not legally obligated to keep your status a secret. HIV confidentiality laws in some states and the federal Privacy Rule under HIPAA prohibits "covered entities" (hospitals, doctors, social service agencies, etc) from wrongly disclosing one's HIV status, but does not protect you in most circumstances if a friend or relative discloses your status. You may want to consult with a tort or personal injury lawyer to see if they can be sued for their disclosures and harsh statements (although these cases have a high burden and are harder to win). In any case, I highly recommend looking into a family mediation program. Most cities have mediation programs available through the court system that aim to help families resolve serious disputes. Please stay strong and I wish you good luck in this process!