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Author Topic: I need a little advice...  (Read 2803 times)

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Offline HippieLady

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  • Posts: 219
I need a little advice...
« on: February 17, 2011, 09:58:15 AM »
I have a son from a previous marriage, he is 16 years old now and he lives with his dad.  He comes to visit us on holidays and sometimes in the summer if he doesn't already have something "cooler" going on where he lives.  I wouldn't stay we are very close, there have always been factors working against us...but we are trying.

This summer will be his first visit since my diagnosis and I'm not sure how to handle it.  Either I don't sit him done and tell him, move all my meds upstairs into my room and keep it all hush-hush.  Or I tell him what's going on and be honest.  I know he's old enough and mature enough to understand, so that's not the problem.

The problem is that I don't trust my ex with this info and I feel like it would be unfair of me to tell my son but then ask him to not say anything to his father.  I feel like he would need to maybe talk to someone about it once he went back home.  I just worry what my ex would do with this information if he felt spiteful.  The worst he could do is make me look like an even worse person in my son's eyes or even worse refused to let me see him until he's 18.

I'm not super good at keeping secrets about myself.  The handful of people I've told so far have all reacted in a positive way.  I don't have many close friends but I know the ones I do have are quality.  It will be hard to spend a month or so with him staying here and not say anything at all.  Not to mention having to watch what I say in general about my health and virus.  Since I have younger children at home, I already have a code word for HIV when we talk and the girls are hanging about.

So that's the problem I'm having and it's causing me to worry a lot instead of just being excited for the summer visit.  Any thoughts, pearls of wisdom or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Hippie
~Katie~
Diagnosed HIV+ April 30, 2010

Current CD4-638  VL-UD  11/2013

Offline GSOgymrat

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  • Posts: 5,047
  • HIV+ since 1993. INTJ
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2011, 10:38:19 AM »
I recommend being honest with him. This is obviously weighing on your mind and I think keeping your HIV status a  secret from him will only create further distance in your relationship. At age 16 he should be able to understand the situation. If you don't tell him now exactly how long are you going to keep this from him? Of course be prepared to answer all potential questions he may have. I would also be honest with him that you have concerns about how his father will react, however do not tell him to keep this a secret from his father.

Offline surf18

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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2011, 11:28:21 AM »
If it was me I wouldn't tell him. You don't need the added drama of this and possible judging to an already complicated relationship. It's no ones business.

Offline Bud Hardy

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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2011, 11:30:07 AM »
Hey Hippie,

I know you hit on a really important issue related to disclosure; where to tell a person that you have disclosed to, that they can go to off gas, to be clear whom you give them permission to talk to about your HIV.

Clearly there is tremendous suprise and shock related to finding out one is HIV+, or that your parent or close friend is HIV+. Once the news settles in, everyone needs someone to talk to.

You know your son better than any of us, I feel it is okay for you to say to your son that he does not have your permission to talk to his father about your disclosure. At the same time you and your son need to talk about who he can talk to once the shock and surprise passes.

Who do you feel okay about you son talking to about your HIV, and who in addition to your ex-husband don't you feel okay about your son talking to?

Offline pozniceguy

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  • Niceguy Dallas
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2011, 01:18:52 PM »
16 yr olds today are pretty well informed about many things  but there is still a lot of bad information floating around among them.   you can be sure he already has some information about HIV  you just don't know how accurate or  positive/negative it may be.
I would try to engage him in a conversation about the overall subject of STD   , probably will be a little reluctant to talk to his Mom,  but be as patient as possible... try to get a feel for his attitude about being infected.... does he have friends?  does he know of anyone?   similar lines of discussion     .... at some point the opening will arise to announce your status.  he may have uncomfortable questions  about  who? how ? etc   .   lay down whatever "guides" you think will help him deal with knowledge....  sort of a "don't ask don't tell"  situation concerning your ex husband.....  in any case he will know at some point , so being honest and up front is probably the best  approach.

good luck,  many other issues with 16 yrs olds are at least as difficult as this one....

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2011, 02:28:56 PM »
Hippie, from what you have described of the situation it seems that your relationship with your son needs some continued strengthening.


I would suggest that before you disclose to him about your status you allow some time for his settling in during the month-long visit. See where things are now in your conversations with each other. Although obviously it's something very important to you to disclose, there really doesn't have to be any rush about this.

Think about it -- are you telling him something he really needs to know now or is this about something you want. It's your relationship with him overall that is the most important thing and I would urge you to keep that in mind as you consider when to disclose.




Andy Velez

Offline NycJoe

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  • Posts: 249
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2011, 02:55:35 PM »
While a possible spiteful ex is most definitely a serious consideration especially where a child is concerned, I appreciate you wanting to share with your son.  As Andy said, take your time and really think about it.  Hopefully in time you will come to whatever the right decision is for you and your family.  Good Luck.

Joe

Offline David_CA

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  • Posts: 3,246
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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2011, 04:31:04 PM »
Hey Hippie,

I guess it's sort of the issue many of us have about disclosing to our parents... but in reverse.  I also don't like keeping secrets.  I also don't like my business being out for all to know and discuss as gossip.  I disclosed to my parents and sister because it bothered me keeping it a secret.  I'm much closer to my mom both in terms of us living in the same city and having a closer relationship.  On the other hand, my dad is a Dr and should know about HIV and has always seemed to accept me and anything I've done.  The point I'm trying to make is that, to me, the closeness of the relationship, how well or badly the other person will deal with it (will they cut off contact, blab to others, etc) determined whether I disclosed to close family and friends.  Perhaps you can play it by ear.  Depending on the length of the visit, maybe tell him part-way through.  Another thought is to just let it go this time and develop the relationship with your son a bit more and tell him on another visit.  Good luck with however you handle it.

Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
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  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
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06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2011, 04:46:41 PM »
If you feel you need his support, then tell him. Otherwise, let it go a few years until he is an adult.  When he is 18, even if he stills lives with his dad, he will feel more his own man.

If your ex makes any attempt to bad mouth you, he will probably have a bit more equanimity at 18, than at 16, to form his own opinions and not feel obliged to take shit from anyone.  And you'll be more adjusted to your HIV+ status.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline woodshere

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  • Posts: 1,477
  • ain't no shame in my game
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2011, 04:47:14 PM »
The final decision of course is yours.  In the end what I would do or anyone else doesn't really matter as we don't know the personal relationship you have with your son.  Here are just some questions I would ask myself?

What will be gained from telling him?
Do you think it will strengthen your relationship?
Are there more important things to work on in building a better relationship with your son at this time?
Should your ex find out how likely would he be to use it against you and is it worth the risk?
Is this more for you or for him?

Let your answers serve as a guide.  You may decide you need to tell him, but the opportunity may never arise during the visit.  Or you may decide not to tell, then you see an opportunity and do it. There are no rules or instructions on when and how to disclose.  I have always said that when you disclose to someone you are close to, you know when the time is right.  Best wishes for whatever you decide.
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline Jeffreyj

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  • Posts: 1,403
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2011, 04:59:30 PM »
Wow, tough situation.

At the end of the day, you must do what is best for yourself. That said, whenever I have told someone over the years, I have never had a bad experience with it. And most importantly, I always felt better, relieved that I told the person the truth. I have learned that the truth and HIV go very well together in these types of situations.

I wish you well in this difficult situation.
Positive since 1985

Offline anniebc

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  • Posts: 5,955
  • AM member since 2003
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2011, 05:05:27 PM »
Hi hippie

This is always a hard question for anyone to answer, but from what I have read I have to go with what Woods has said...I think the questions he has put down for you really need to be asked and dealt with first, and you have to be totally honest with your answers.

Are there more important things to work on in building a better relationship with your son at this time?
Should your ex find out how likely would he be to use it against you and is it worth the risk?
Is this more for you or for him?


Aroha and hugs
Jan :-*

P.S..if you are in need of some comfort..I hear cream puffs work a treat... ;)
« Last Edit: February 17, 2011, 05:07:53 PM by anniebc »
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline drewm

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  • Posts: 1,169
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2011, 05:09:27 PM »
I hope this helps...

My disclosure is on a need to know basis. It's purely a judgement call most of the time but so far I am doing pretty good at telling those who need to know and the response has been good. I understand that this is a very personal decision that you will have to make and I hope for you the best.
Diagnosed in  May of 2010 with teh AIDS.

PCP Pneumonia . CD4 8 . VL 500,000

ATRIPLA - VALTREX -  FLUOXETINE - FENOFIBRATE


Numbers consistent since 12/2010 - VL has remained undetectable and CD4 is anywhere from 275-325

Offline drewm

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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2011, 05:13:50 PM »
One more thing I want to add. There are a lot of posts here about education and this is so important should you decide to disclose your status. I had one friend, in particular, who thought we should be making funeral arrangements. It's part of it. A lot of folks have no clue about the advances that have been made and/or the realities we face everyday.

Some people will fear "losing you" and you need to let them know that you aren't, necessarily, going anywhere.
Diagnosed in  May of 2010 with teh AIDS.

PCP Pneumonia . CD4 8 . VL 500,000

ATRIPLA - VALTREX -  FLUOXETINE - FENOFIBRATE


Numbers consistent since 12/2010 - VL has remained undetectable and CD4 is anywhere from 275-325

Offline leese43

  • Member
  • Posts: 257
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2011, 06:27:31 PM »
I told my 15yo son two weeks ago, it was a real non event. lol. I explained that I'd prefer that he didn't tell his father or his father's family. I said that it was on a need to know basis and that I should be the only person to tell about my situation. Explaining it that way meant that I wasn't asking him to lie and there's no reason why they'd ever be suspicious enough to ask questions.

 I also told him the people who knew about my status, which include his grandparents and aunt, and I let him know that he could always talk to them as well as myself. 

I followed it up for a couple of days after to make sure he was ok, he seems cool with it all and life has gone on as normal.   

Best wishes

Leese

Oct 04 - Neg
Aug 05 - infected
Oct 05 - cd4 780, vl 60k
Apr 08 - cd4 430, vl 243
Jul 08 - cd4 550, vl 896
Nov 08 - cd4 730, vl 1.8k
May 09 - cd4 590, vl 1.5k
Sep 09 - cd4 460 vl 34k
Dec 09 - cd4 470 vl 42k
April 10 - cd4 430 vl 88.5k
July 10 - cd4 330 vl 118k
Aug 10 - started reyataz/truvada/norvir
Aug 10 - cd4 380 vl 4k (12 days after starting meds :))
Sep 10 - cd4 520 vl 1.5k
Oct 10 - cd4 590 vl 44
Jan 11 -cd4 610 vl <40 cd4% 50
May 11 - cd4 780 vl UD

Offline HippieLady

  • Member
  • Posts: 219
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2011, 07:05:51 PM »
I thank everyone for the advice and wisdom.  I'm thankful for this site and the ability to call on the experiences of others, without which I would definitely be lost.

Woodshere:  I will ask myself all those questions before I say anything.  You bought up some good points I need to dwell on a bit.

My husband leans more towards no one else need to know but us.  I think it would be best to wait and see how the visit pans out.  He doesn't live close to me and we haven't be able to see each other a whole lot over the years.  I have no idea what his support network is like at his dad's house and I would never want to burden him with any unnecessary thoughts about my health or wellbeing.

I was just caught off guard with the sudden talk of a summer visit and how I was going to handle "the talk" if and when it came up.

Thanks again for all the advice and suggestions.
Hippie

~Katie~
Diagnosed HIV+ April 30, 2010

Current CD4-638  VL-UD  11/2013

Offline woodshere

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,477
  • ain't no shame in my game
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2011, 07:24:16 PM »
I I think it would be best to wait and see how the visit pans out.  He doesn't live close to me and we haven't be able to see each other a whole lot over the years.  I have no idea what his support network is like at his dad's house and I would never want to burden him with any unnecessary thoughts about my health or wellbeing.


Sounds like a plan!
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline WillyWump

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,245
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #17 on: February 17, 2011, 08:05:03 PM »
Hey Hip,

I'm a little late here with my take on it..

But kinda agree with Andy, and would even take it further and say work on your relationship with him further, maybe over the span of several months or a year, maybe 2. Spend more time with him, etc.. really get close with him. Then after you've built that strong bond you could consider telling him.

IMHO, some 16 y/o really dont have a good grasp of exactly what HIV is and does and does not do (but you know your son better than me), I am just basing this on the fact that my son at 16 was nowhere near where he needed to be to absorb a parent with HIV. On the flip side Leese just relayed her story of disclosing to her 15yo, and that it went well.

Again, jsut my opinion, but think you should not disclose right now until the relationship is strengthened somewhat. Just food for thought. :)

Good luck Sweetie

-Will
POZ since '08

Last Labs-
11-6-14 CD4- 871, UD
6/3/14 CD4- 736, UD 34%
6/25/13 CD4- 1036, UD,
2/4/13, CD4 - 489, UD, 28%

Current Meds: Prezista/Epzicom/ Norvir
.

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 5,053
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2011, 10:48:06 PM »
When you decide to tell him, you could use the opportunity to talk to him about safe sex and how to stay negative.  I believe the statistics are half of teens have had sex by age 16??  However, you can have that conversation without telling him about you. 

I wish you the best figuring out what is best.   

Offline alliance

  • Member
  • Posts: 159
  • hmmmm. . .
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2011, 11:01:51 PM »
Hi Hippy- this bug just keeps presenting us with challenges, doesn't it? I subscribe to the need-to-know policy. Unless he directly asks you, I wouldn't bring it up at least until he moves out of Dad's house. You're health seems to be better now, so theres no need for explanation right now, really. Of course, whatever you, his mother, decides to do will be right for him. :) By the way, I haven't disclosed to anyone new for over a year.
Take Care.
"The influence of each human being on others in this life is a kind of immortality."
10/10/12   CD4=378  %=32   VL=UD
5/10/12     CD4=426  %=32  VL=UD
11/15/11   CD4=296  %=29  VL=UD(20)
6/15/11     CD4=345  %=29  VL=UD(38)
3/15/11     CD4=317  %=31  VL=UD
12/1/10     CD4=315  %=28  VL=UD
8/11/10     CD4=250  %=25  VL=UD
6/10/10     CD4=380  %=24  VL=UD
3/4/10       CD4=340  %=22   VL=UD
1/11/10     CD4=312  %=22   VL =130
11/30/09   CD4=228  %=19  VL=1726
11/20/09    started atripla
10/15/09   CD4=281  %=18   VL=85,000

Offline wolfter

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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2011, 06:33:54 AM »
Another aspect to consider is the local domestic relations court system in your area.  I had a son when I was young and disclosure to my ex made my life a nightmare with the court system.  They're still in the dark ages and I almost lost visitation because of the issue as it created a potentially dangerous situation. 

You'll receive numerous opinions, but you'll have to rely on your instincts and maybe some legal advice.  In my case, I disclosed because I worried about the small possibility that I had already been infected while we were still together.

Best wishes.

Greg
Complacency is the enemy.  ;)  Challenge yourself daily for maximum  return on investment.

Offline next2u

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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2011, 03:14:27 PM »
follow your instincts my friend.

my other 2 thoughts.

have the talk with him. the safe sex talk with the real facts. no biases, no stigma...just wrap it up. emotional consequences etc.... then let it sit.

next time you see him gauge the situation accordingly, do a follow up and follow your instincts.

i dont like keeping secrets from people who are close to me either. let us know how it works out.

also, leese & wood's posts are definitely worth a re read and consideration.

best,
d
midapr07 - seroconversion
sept07 - tested poz
oct07 cd4 1013; vl 13,900; cd4% 41
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dec08 cd4 559; vl 63,020; cd4% 29.4
feb09 cd4 464; vl 11,000; cd4% 26
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Offline skeebo1969

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Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2011, 04:22:13 PM »


     A mean spirited, spiteful ex would really make me consider whether or not I would tell him right now, Hippie.   Keep in mind, your ex has his ear because he lives with him.  I would wait until my son was out on his own away from his father's authoritative influence.   I told my then 14 year old and her mother really made it quite the challenge just purely out of spite.

    Tread carefully on this...
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline deibster

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  • Posts: 155
Re: I need a little advice...
« Reply #23 on: March 03, 2011, 09:12:42 PM »
Hi hippie,
I have some experience in this area. My dad had a serious heart attack when I was in high school; he was hospitalized for a full month. The family dynamic changed, we weren't allowed to argue or even raise our voices at home. This led me to rebel in college and also added to my own depression in college.
So, I did Not tell my sons about my HIV until both of them were out of college. My younger son went to the Air Force Academy, a high-stress, year round college. I did not want my health problems in the back of his mind interfering with his studies. He also might have gone for pilot training, & again, I didn't want any extra stress or causes of depression on him during this training.
I talked to them about safe sex from the time they were 13 & 10, onward. They knew I was on a lot of meds, for depression & allergies. I told them about my HIV after they were both out of college and it was clear that my son was not going for pilot training in the air force. They asked me why I waited so long to tell them, but when I explained why, they completely understood my reasons. I still have a close relationship with both of them.  Hugs & best wishes, deibster
Poz since Dec 1992. Meds since 1995. Disability since 2005.

Prezista/Norvir, Epzicom, Cytomel, Prevacid, pravastatin, Fenofibrate, Remeron, Zoloft, Concerta, doxazosin, Allegra180, Nasocort, Centrum, Flax Oil, Fish Oil

 


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