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en and baby at risk? What do I do?

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My ex husband has hiv and we have children together. I have tried to be the most supportive ex wife to him as possible.  We are friends.  He has chosen to not disclose his status to anyone.  The only one who knows is me.  He has dated numerous women since our divorce.  In the beginning, I was very upset.  because he told me specificaly he was not disclosing his status but using condoms all the time.  I was upset that these women did not know and I felt awful that I did.  However, after reading many posts and thinking about it, I came to agree with the conclusion that it is up to everyone's own personal responsibility to practice safe sex and ask their partner to get tested with them etc.  I bought into this, until now.  Until when my ex's latest girlfriend called me to tell me she was pregnant and lost his baby, she wanted a women to talk to.  As I told you, I have tried to remain civil and friends with my ex, so this included his girlfriends etc.  I was so distraught.  I immediately called my ex and confronted him and he said she was lying.  but the thing is, I know she was not lying.  I could just tell.  My ex is an ex drug addict, and also has lied many times in his life.  I know deep down he was sleeping with this women unprotected and she was pregnant.  Now, she may have HiV and the worst part is what to do when she gets pregnant again? She will, I just know it.  Then who's responsibility is it to protect that baby?  HIV testing is not mandatory in pregnant women and besides, what if she tests negative and then becomes positive during her pregnancy after the test?  On top of it all, I am fearful of what my ex would do to me should I ever reveal his status to her or anyone.  Also, can I legally get in trouble?  This has gone too far and I don't know how to justify it any longer.  Is this really not my problem?  Where do you draw the line on saying it is up to everyone's own self to be safe.  How do i turn the cheek on this one?  but if I don't, how do I protect my own self and children's lives from him.  If I destroy his life with this disclosure, he will flip his lid.  But when this women finds out, will she be mad at me?

Hey Onebet,
I fully understand how you feel. But tru to take a deep breath and try to calm down a little.

First, I don't know where you reside, but HIV tests are routine for pregnant women in my state. They may be in yours too, I don't know. Here in New Mexico, the woman has to opt out of the test, or its done as a matter of course.

Second, somehow this woman needs to be tested. If you lived here, I would tell you to contact the local public health department HIV/STD prevention bureau. The way it works here, your ex wouldn't be told you had reported this, but the woman would be contacted and advised it was possible she may have had contact with someone who might have a communicable disease. The preventionist would them advise the woman to be tested, which is free here.

Third, even if she is positive, by beginning ARV therapy at the second trimester, monitoring the woman's viral load, performing a C-section if the viral load is too high and presents a risk during natural childbirth, then administering a pediatric dose of AZT to the infant for a period of time after it is born, the chances of the infant being negative are greater than 99 percent. I know there are no guarantees, but I personally know seven HIV-positive women who have given birth to healthy, HIV-negative babies, so I know it does happen.

Although I don't like bringing this up, in some states it is a criminal offense to knowingly expose someone to HIV. Just saying . . .

I don't know if any of this helps. But I wanted you to know I at least understand where you are coming from.



Thanik you for the information.  I called the state health department about six months ago when I knew she was at risk, and they were the one's who told me they would not notify her and she is 50% responsible for her own health and safe sex.  So, that was what made me realize she was.  But, this is different, if she gets pregnant again, I feel that is a different story.  She will not be able to protect the baby because she will not know....

Tim Horn:
Hi onebet --

Did you, by chance, raise this issue in the old Forums?  If you did, it's nice to hear from you again, although I'm not sure my "advice" is going to change much.  If you didn't, well, let's just say that you're not alone in this predicament. 

The short and long version of my response is that this is a dilemma that you need to work through with your ex... not your ex's current GF or other ex-GFs. Your ex's secrecy may or may not be putting his GF in danger. Personally, I do think it's irresponsible to enter a committed relationship without disclosing the fact that one has a chronic sexually transmitted infection.  But I do think its unethical -- as you're dealing with private medical information -- to take things further than you've already done (that is, contacting the health department to see if they can intervene). 

The next step, I'm afraid, is having it out with your ex.  If he's so unwilling to disclose his status -- and you remained worried and anxious about his poor judgement -- it may be simply best for you to cut him out of your life.  As his friend, he should be open to your advice, concerns, and healthy support of his relationship.  Instead he seems to be leaning on you for atonement and enabling.  Sometimes people can get so wrapped up in unhealthy behaviors that it takes some real "tough love" to show them how unreceptive they're being to the support and help they really need. 

So you tell your ex's current GF about his HIV status.  This will only result in high drama and won't necessarily stop your ex from hiding this important information in future relationships.  If I were you, I'd spend some time thinking about how to have a healthy and productive conversation with your ex while he still has your trust.  If you wait until after you've "spilled the beans," he won't have much of an incentive to really listen to you.  What's more, when confronting your ex, I would definitely start the conversation by expressing how his secrecy is making YOU feel.  Tell him that you're trying to be a friend to both him and his GF, but that the potential ramifications of his secrecy are making you feel angry/scared/trapped/helpless (etc).  I guarantee it... he'll be more than likely to respond compassionately and thoughtfully if you talk about how this is affecting you, and not how you feel this is hurting his relationships.  His relationship is his business; his relationship with you is your business.

Tim Horn 

Do what your gut tells you. But first, you need to get as far away as possible from this loser. You owe it to yourself and your children. Lose his number.


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