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Author Topic: Haven't told family about my diagonsis  (Read 2165 times)

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Offline Jenna106

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Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« on: December 18, 2011, 12:57:07 PM »
Hi everyone, I'm new here. I have been checking out these boards for awhile and I just recently decided to join.

Here is my story.

I'm 24 years old and I tested positive a year ago. I moved to Las Vegas shortly after graduating high school. I attended college there and I had  unprotected sex with a male friend in 2009.  He moved away from Vegas shortly after that happened. Last year around this same time, he contacted me and told me that he had tested positive. I underwent testing and tested positive.  I haven't told my family about it and I do feel bad for not telling them. But I am scared and unsure of how they will react.  I plan to tell them after Christmas. My parents, siblings and their families all live in New Mexico. I'm leaving on Wednesday to spend two weeks with them.

I would appreciate any kind of advice.

Offline newt

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 01:27:53 PM »
Personally, me, I think tell yer mum first, on her own. She is most likely to know where your news fits with other family news. If it's a big family gathering other people will have stuff to tell which might eclipse your announcement.

How you are about having HIV will affect how other people are about it. Go armed to answer questions and be prepared for (but resist) the special knife and fork for you crap << this sometimes happens, it's horrible, but happens not often in my experience. 

I told my sister-in-law cos, rightly or wrongly, rationally or irrationally, she is parent to my nephews/her sons and has a right to make judgements about saftey/ask questions, but we both agreed not to tell my brother, not yet anyway, cos he can be kinda dramatic and lecture a lot. I told my mum and she just said it was "a little bit of AIDS and would pass" so is worth expecting (but personally I reckon not preparing for) the odd really off-the-wall reaction.

Regardless of how different family react, you in your heart of hearts will know who in your family loves you, and this in the end is what counts, and you will know when you are home at Christmas whether you need/want to tell just then.

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline LM

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 01:35:20 PM »
Hi Jenna, sorry about the diagnosis, but welcome to the forums.

I haven't told my family, so I can't share my experience, but I believe that, first of all, you should only do it if you're ready for it. I think it's important that you feel ok about it first, so that when you tell, you can comfort your family in knowing that you are fine, and that you are not dying or something. If you seem scared, they'll be scared. But if you're close to your family, I'm sure they'll be right behind you and support you and whatever you need.

One possibility, in my opinion, is that instead of telling them all at once, you could maybe tell someone closest first, to test his/her reaction and so that you have support by the time you tell the others. That could decrease the burden on you, so it's a thought. But take your time, you don't need to rush about it.

Offline Jenna106

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 01:43:21 PM »
Thank you Newt and LM for your suggestions. I think maybe telling my mom first might work. We are very close. I would have to find a way to get her alone to tell her and maybe she could help me tell the rest.

Offline surf18

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2011, 03:36:15 PM »
You may be good just telling your mom. You'll have her to lean on. I told my parents day of dx but only because I work with my dad in a family biz. After I was told I obviously coukdnt go back to work. He was freaking out with worry of where I was. He was going to local hospitals and all. I finally answered my phone and said fine get mom and I'll be over in 15 minutes.
My mom thought I should tell my sister who I'm close with but I do not plan on it.
Why burden her with worry?
Do what feels best for you and that may not be telling every one.

Offline eric48

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 05:47:02 PM »
Hi and welcome

One quick question helps sort out things.

If you intend to tell someone (you mum for exemple), ask youself about the opposite.

If she had a condition that is manageable and not life threatening and which does not impair one's daily life would she tell you or keep it for herself.

Once you answer this question you know what to do with your loved ones.

I disclosed my condition to ... my dog.

I do feel much better now and he seems OK with it ;-)

Hope this helps

Eric
NVP/ABC/3TC/... UD; CD4 > 1000; CD4/CD8 ~ 2.0   safety stock : 3 months (2013: FOTO= 5d. ON 2d. OFF ; 2014: NCT02157311 = 4d. ON, 3d. OFF)

Offline leatherman

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2011, 05:48:33 PM »
it's hard to give much advice about this because everyone and every family is different. All you can do is listen to each of our stories (because that's how it worked for us and who knows if it'll work for you) and "guess" how your family members will react. Some of us have told all our relatives, including minors (it's hard NOT to disclose to everyone when you're lying in a hospital possibly dying from AIDS ::) ), some have only told a few, and some have told none.

instead of telling them all at once, you could maybe tell someone closest first, to test his/her reaction and so that you have support by the time you tell the others.
one of my friends and fellow volunteer here at my ASO took the exact opposite approach. After everyone ate Thanksgiving Day Dinner and were about to push away from the table, he up and told the whole crowd. :o He said that way he didn't have to repeat his story to each and every relative, and they could all freak out and question him about it right there in front of everybody.

Of course to do that ("pulling a James" is not what we call just spewing out information LOL) you have to be strong, and you have to know all the facts you'll need to combat all the crazy stuff your relatives might be thinking about HIV.


However, I can give you a little bit of real advice to use for whenever and whoever you tell.

regardless of how you choose to disclose, I would suggest that to be forewarned is to be fore-armed. Since you know you are planning to tell "some" relatives you really ought to know enough about HIV and meds etc to relieve some of their immediate fears and to answer some of the immediate questions. Then make sure to send them to a reliable site (like this one  ;) the AidsMeds Lessons http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/Introduction_4702.shtml) so that they can learn more about your issues and HIV.

Don't go into this thinking that they will be immediately supportive. (that's a toss-up. Maybe they will and maybe they won't) Since others in your family don't have this issue, you'll find that your family members are woefully lacking in "real" knowledge about HIV (one usually knows about diseases they and their family have, so they won't know about HIV .... yet! ;) ). You'll need to be strong to help them learn. Then they can be strong to be the support you need.

and one last thought - remember that once you tell ONE person, the cat will be out of the bag. No matter who you tell, once they know that then it's on  their head whether they tell their spouses, friends, your siblings, their co-workers, church members, etc. For example if you only tell your mom, she may need her own support and will tell your father and your aunt (your mom's sister). Then those people may tell others and so on and so on, until probably everyone knows the deal anyway. (hence why my friend "pulled a James" told the whole family in one fell swoop and moved on with his life.)

best wishes for whatever you decide is best for you and yours.  :-*
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 05:49:10 PM »
lol @ eric  ;D
what a good doggie you have  ;)
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Jenna106

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2011, 06:43:57 PM »
Good advice leatherman on knowing about the meds and other info. I do plan to explain to everyone about those aspects after I tell them. At this point, I plan to tell my parents and siblings.

Offline leatherman

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2011, 07:57:30 PM »
Good advice leatherman on knowing about the meds and other info.
the biggest things to explain are probably how it isn't a death sentence since there are sooo many meds. (it ain't 1992 anymore you know. lol the science is greatly advanced) and how it is NOT contagious except through blood, sexual fluids and breast milk. You gotta give them the tools/knowledge to understand that you've got a disease that must, and can, be managed; and that you aren't a risk to any of them or theirs. After that, they'll have plenty of time to think about it, and come back to you with questions ;)

I'm really hoping it goes well, and am anxiously waiting to hear back about how it goes. Remember we'll be here to give YOU some support  :-* no matter how they take the news, or especially if they freak out about this news.
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline MzLady

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2011, 08:43:46 PM »
I had a hard time deciding if I wanted to tell my family or not. One thing I have to say is make sure you trust that person before telling them. I told one of my sisters that I was HIV positive and asked her not to tell any other family members becuase I was not ready for that yet. Well I would say six months later I was ready to tell my other three sisters and my mom. I called my oldest sister to tell her, well when I told her she just said ok. I asked thats all ok, no questions? She said that she already knew because my sister had told them I felt so betrayed and hurt. But in the end my sisters and mom are okay with it and do not treat me any different. That being said make your choice wisely. :)

Offline tednlou2

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2011, 02:55:14 AM »
I wish you the best in telling your family.  This is something I ponder all the time.  I listen to the folks here who say coming out of the HIV closet is a major step in reducing stigma.  And, I believe that.  For me, the only people who know are my partner, my brother, and his partner.  Well, at least as far as I know.   

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2011, 05:13:18 AM »
Good luck and congrats on the courage to say what you want to say!

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Lugzsoo

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2011, 06:16:39 PM »
Hi

 Jenna106

Hugs to you
And tell family members that love you and trust you know how they are .


Offline Jayad

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  • Posts: 26
Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2011, 11:31:39 PM »
It was the hardest thing I had to do. People say its much like coming out o your parents that you are gay. My parents surprisingly took it well. I kept if from them for about 6 months. They were upset I didn't tell them sooner and I had to go through it by myself. Great parents will understand as mine did.
April 21, 2010-Tested Positive
May 26, 2010-CD4-692 (39%) VL 17100. No Meds.
September 8, 2010-CD4-551 (37%) VL 10241 Still no Meds
Found to have resistance to Videx, Rescriptor, Sustiva, Viramune, Viracept.
December 1, 2010-CD4-476 (34%) VL 38000.
December 5, 2010-Started Combivir.
January 13, 2011-No CD4 Count Done. VL 190!!!!!!
January 15, 2011-Started Viread and Intelence
Feb 15, 2011-Undetectable!!!
April 15, 2011-CD4 898 (43.4%) U/D

Offline Jenna106

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  • Posts: 9
Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2011, 10:01:29 AM »
Hey again everyone, thank you for your kind words. I told my parents and siblings the day after Christmas. My parents took it hard and were a bit upset that I didn't tell them sooner, but they are supporting me as my siblings are too. They were some tears, but I told them that isn't a death sentence for me and that meds have advanced and other things.

Offline wolfter

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2011, 10:11:00 AM »
Glad it went well.  It's always a toss up but I think we all instinctively know what our individual relationships with family allows. 

Best Wishes
Wolfie
Complacency is the enemy.  ;)  Challenge yourself daily for maximum  return on investment.

Offline TonyDewitt

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2011, 10:22:14 AM »
Jenna,

I'm relieved to hear that they are being supportive - if you ever make it to NJ, feel free to drop me a line.

Happy New Year

Offline leatherman

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2011, 10:23:53 AM »
good deal, Jenna!

Just remember that coming to grips with this diagnosis and the info you told them will take some time to sink in really good, and for everyone to adjust to the new "normal". But we adjust to the new normals nearly every day because every day things keep happening that change our plans. ;)

were a bit upset that I didn't tell them sooner
that's actually the reaction I got from most of my friends back when I told them. I was really surprised at how upset people were that I was "withholding" this info from them. I guess it just goes to show that I have been very lucky to have good friends who truly love me.

best wishes to you and your family heading into 2012 ;) :D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline geobee

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2011, 11:36:18 AM »
Way to go, Jenna!  That must muve been hard.  But you did the right thing, since living with a secret is even harder.  Time to reward yourself  -- you did AWSUM!

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Haven't told family about my diagonsis
« Reply #20 on: December 30, 2011, 02:16:13 PM »
Great news, Jenna. A bunch of us have followed your thread and hoped all would go well. What a nice story to end the year on AND what a good way for you to start a new year -- with the support of family. Doesn't get any better than that. Em

 


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