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My son tested positive for HIV yesterday

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I am trying to be supportive right now.  He is devastated.  He mistook my anguish for disgust and is worried that his brother and parents are disappointed.  He's a young college student with a bright future ahead of him.  I am trying to get educated on this and be as supportive as I can.  I am worried about his mental state and possible suicidal thoughts. I found this site and trying to steer him here.  He is going for further testing on Monday to see how much of the virus he has.  This is so hard.....

Hi Dad,

it is a good thing that you found that site, and we hope that your son will join soon as he may have millions of questions. There are many people on here, that have been carrying this virus for years as well as newbies like your son, that can answer those questions. He still has a bright future ahead of him.

Maybe you or his brother could go with him when you visit the doctor for the results, he will need comfort and having a supportive family member that understands and follows him through this can help him a lot.

His mind may go through many different states, from anxiety to anger, from throwing the towel to battle, from laughter to sadness, but when he realizes that there is care for him, that there is support from his family and even from strangers like us, then things will go better.


Hello Dad,

First I am sorry to hear about your son testing HIV positive. The next time you see your son, you hug him, you squeeze him, you let him know you are there for him, and above all, look him squarely in the eyes, with one hand on each shoulder, and tell him you love him. If you both break down and cry, thats fine... It's all part of the process.

Not only is your son devastated, he is most likely terrifed, he probably feels guilty, dirty, angry, embarrassed, and he is most likely wondering"what next". I remember all these emotions, and many more very well, and that was close to 22 years ago, when I received my HIV positive diagnosis. Just be there for him. Let him know that he will get through this difficult period of time, and that you will be there for him.

Make sure to read the lessons portion of the site :

Stay in touch with us, and let us know how your son is doing !!

Take care of yourself------Ray

I posted this a while back ;

When the Diagnosis Is Scary
Recent Feature Article

 By Jessie Gruman
Published: January 14, 2007

The first 48 hours after you or a loved one receives a serious diagnosis can be terrifying. Receiving bad health news sparks great personal upheaval. Some people rage against the unfairness while others wither from sadness. Some people lose their faith and others find it. Some are torn between their fear of pain and their fear of death. Families are wracked by the threat of loss. It is a time when nothing is certain, and the future looks dark.

But no matter how devastating the diagnosis, critical actions must be taken in the short window of time following it. Among them: learning about the condition and its treatments, deciding whether to involve others, finding the right doctors and hospitals, seeking other opinions about what is wrong and what to do about it, managing one’s work life, paying for care and finding relief. But first you will have to deal with the initial shock.

I am all too familiar with this process. Four times, I have been diagnosed with life-threatening conditions. Each time the news stopped me cold, forcing me to rearrange schedules and responsibilities while under tremendous physical and emotional stress. Each time, I have stood in awe of how much energy it takes to get from the bad news to actually start on the return path to health.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned about this period from my own experience and that of others, as well as from the advice of professionals:

Protect Yourself
This is a crisis: Treat it as one. Don’t try to go on as if nothing is happening to you. Stay home from work for at least 48 hours—and cancel your social engagements until you get your feet back under you.

If you usually exercise, keep it up—if you feel like it. If you don’t exercise regularly but feel closed in or agitated, go for a walk. If nothing else, it will remind you that the world is carrying on in spite of your news. Eat—even if you aren’t hungry; you don’t need a hunger headache. Breathe.

If you need family or friends to be with you now, tell them so. Conversely, if you need to be alone, tell them that. If you are with others and are suddenly overcome with grief or fatigue, excuse yourself, go into another room and close the door.

Remember, you owe no explanations to anyone right now. It’s your choice whom to tell and what to say during these first few days. You also are not responsible for taking care of others who are distraught over your news. Ask a family member or friend to call people you want to know about your diagnosis but with whom you don’t want to talk right now.

The only task you must accomplish during the first 48 hours is to set up the next doctor’s appointment. You need to know when you’ll have more information upon which to base your next steps. Write down questions for your doctor, employer and insurance company as you think of them—including any worst-case scenarios you are imagining.

Educate Yourself
During these first days, stop researching your diagnosis online if it is confusing or frightening. Unless you have an acute emergency, you have some time to collect and digest that information.

But over the next few weeks, you will need to learn more about your condition, its probable course and how to manage its progression. Some people prefer to know only the basics; others want comprehensive knowledge. Either way, you need to know enough to weigh the choices your doctor offers. If it’s easier to assign this task to a friend or family member, do so; but somebody must do it.

These are some of the basic questions you should ask:

• How does this disease or condition affect the body?

• What causes this condition to progress or get worse?

• What is the time course for its progression?

• What tests and procedures are commonly used to determine the course of treatment?

• What effect does each treatment have, generally? Does it cure this condition? How often? Does it slow down its progression? How much?

• What complications and side effects are common—and uncommon—with each treatment?

Once you know the answers to these questions, discuss with your doctor how this condition affects you specifically—and the best ways to treat it, given your age, sex and medical history. Then you can start searching for information about managing the illness—that is, learning how others cope with it.

Designate a Partner
A partner can help the person who has received the diagnosis cope with the situation: He or she can handle appointments to see the doctor, collect test results and other mutually agreed upon tasks. (See below.)

Designating a partner is a good idea, because the distress of receiving a serious diagnosis can affect your ability to listen and to understand unfamiliar, technical information; a partner can write it down to be revisited later. It’s hard to question or disagree with a doctor who seems to hold your life in his or her hands; a partner can request clarification and ask hard questions. Having someone do this steadies the person who is ill and makes him or her feel less isolated.


The Partner’s Contract

If you’ve agreed to take on the partner role, your commitment must include the following basics:

I agree to:

• Attend appointments, freeing at least two hours past the time each is expected to end.

• Confirm 24 hours ahead of time that I will be there. Go over arrangements about transportation, and confirm the address and other details.

• Ask the diagnosed person what role to play. Should you, for example, participate or sit quietly and just take notes; ask questions if something isn’t clear to you; ask specific questions so he or she doesn’t have to ask them?

• Arrive at the assigned place 15 minutes early with paper and pen.

• Provide readable notes of the appointment that day or the next and be available to discuss what occurred.

I will not:

• Talk to others about what happened during the doctor’s visit or express opinions about decisions without permission—even to family members.

• Forget an appointment or be late. Doing so can have untold meaning to the diagnosed person.

• Take on this responsibility if I am unable or unwilling to fulfill it fully.

Adapted from “AfterShock: What To Do When the Doctor Gives You—or Someone You Love—a Devastating Diagnosis” (Walker), by Jessie Gruman, out next month. Gruman is president of the Center for the Advancement of Health.

My advise would be...

give your son a big enormous hug and a kiss (in latin america father kiss his son on the cheeks) and look at his eyes... and tell him how much you love him, how proud you are and have always been of him and that he can count with you any time.

Your son will be fine, if he is young it might be that he has a long way before he ever needs meds... hiv is a hard path, but not the hardest in life... believe me, it is just long... very long. Which is actually good, because that means your son still have lot of time to be who he wants to be and be happy. Everything will be fine, expect to see him grow, going to university, having a nice job, marrying, nothing of that will change that much. you will see.

Juan Carlos 

Joe K:
Hurting, please take the advice that Juan offers, because that is all your son needs right now.  He needs to know that his having HIV, DOES NOT CHANGE, NOR WILL EVER CHANGE how you feel about him.  His reactions are very normal and you are wise to monitor his mental health and please take action if you feel it is warranted.  As someone who has battled major mental health issues I cannot over emphasize the need for you to remain vigilant.  I do not mean to alarm you, just prepare you.

Other than telling him how much you love him, there is little you can really do right now, other than to make yourself available if he needs you.  He is going through a life-altering situation and it will take time for everything to sort itself out.  Everything you have described is very normal for both the person and family as we can never be prepared for such situations.  So you do the best that you can and you rally your family to support your son, because his knowing that his family is firmly behind him will provide a strong foundation on which he can adjust to becoming poz.

Just give it time and don't be so hard on yourself.  There are no books or 12-step programs for becoming poz and we each must find our own way.  Hopefully your son will find his way here so he can see that having HIV might change your life, it is hardly the end of it.  Envelop him with love and support and then just stand back and let him take the lead.  When he knows that you are all there for him, it will be just that much easier for him to come to you all for support.  Right now, simple is better.  Right now, love can almost conquer all and what it cannot, is at least cushioned by the love surrounding it.


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