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Author Topic: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet  (Read 2901 times)

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Offline katiej81

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  • Posts: 3
I first want to say how grateful I am for finding this website and somewhere to express what I'm feeling right now.

Iím considering talking to my sister. Although I could, I donít want to pretend that I donít know - I want her to be aware that she can turn to me if she wants to, even if she just wants me to forget that I found out and carry on as normal. I donít know what kind of support net she has at the moment, or whether she has one at all but I just want to her to know that Iím here for her if she needs me and that my love is unconditional and this doesnít change anything about our relationship. I just donít want her to feel like I have intruded, because itís none of my business really, although I just want to be there for her. If I was in that situation I know I would find it hard to tell family and just think that if I tell her that I already know it might get over the difficult hurdle of her trying to find a way to tell me.

Iím not quite sure why I have posted this, but just felt like I needed to get it off my chest and get some opinions as I of course I cannot talk to my mum about it and our dad passed away after an accident when we were little so nobody to talk to there.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 02:10:18 PM by katiej81 »

Offline ImisstheOldTimes

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  • Posts: 74
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 06:25:35 PM »
Katie, honestly I would let your sister tell you when she is ready. For now, let her know how much you love her and that you are always there if she ever needs anything. I know with the diagnosis of my father being about a month ago, how shocking it can be and how you aren't sure what to say. My thoughts are, let the people you love, know all the time, you never when you will lose them...
Life is a BANQUET, and most poor suckers are starving to death!

                             ~Auntie Mame

Offline MoMorrison

  • Member
  • Posts: 57
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 06:32:04 PM »
I would wait for her to tell you when she is ready. I understand how you want to help her and let her know that you will be there for her, but I think the decision should be hers to make. I agree with IMTOT, just let her know that you love her no matter what, hearing those words will eventually get her to open up. I have yet to tell my family, but I know that their love would be unconditional no matter what. I just need to muster up the courage and strength to be able to do it. Hang in there and just show her how much you love her and she will open up. Best wishes.
Jan 2011 Tested HIV positive
01/2011 CD4 189 / VL 79,000
03/20/2012 CD4 133 (10%) / VL 46,000
03/28/2012 started bactrim ds
04/04/2012 started complera
05/24/2012 CD4 255 (17%) / VL 53
06/25/2012 stopped bactrim ds

Offline forrest

  • Member
  • Posts: 162
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 09:29:57 PM »
Hmmm. See, I was leaning the other direction... since it was an accident... and that by her going to her, at least it would some support from a family member where maybe her sister is afraid to tell her... but then if she told her, it could possibly be a relief.  However... even with that said, I can also see both IMiss and MoMo's viewpoint too - on just waiting. 

With just waiting, maybe casually drop little hints at your sister when they are appropriate (as to not draw attention to them)... In a casual conversation with my friend and also my aunt (both of whom I have not disclosed), I have told them that I was going through some things... and they have both told me that no matter what, they will always love me and it doesn't matter what I ever tell them... they will not hold me in judgement and they will always love me. 

So, maybe when you are able... in conversations with her... just reinforce with her that you'll always love her and not stand in judgement? Or, when having conversations with her, maybe talk how you were loving and non judgmental in other situations... where she can then see or say to herself.. "wow... you know, she'd be that way with me, too, if I told her"

I could see both ways... but after learning more about your two's relationship and history, I may then sway one way or the other - just hard to know for sure in a paragraph or two  ;)

Good luck!
2011-03-26:  Tested Positive

Date           |VL        |CD4 |4%  |CD8 |8%  |C4:C8
2011-04-06 |48,653 |603 |32.0 |646 |35.0 |0.61
2011-05-23 |64,324 |577 |36.0 |576 |36.0 |1.00
2011-08-02 |18,319 |574 |36.3 |587 |37.2 |0.98
2011-12-06 |10,375 |480 |30.1 |616 |38.7 |0.78
2012-02-22 |  9,674 |570 |33.6 |655 |38.7 |0.87
2012-05-04 |  8,439 |559 |30.4 |706 |38.4 |0.79

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,343
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2012, 09:31:48 PM »
Hi Katie,

Glad you posted. You wrote the best advice to follow "I just donít want her to feel like I have intruded, because itís none of my business really..."

How it is that you "accidentally" found out either means you saw something, heard something, or someone violated a HIPAA law, and no matter what the reason, it's not good.

I hope you read this before you decide to engage her. Please don't do it. Let her have as much control in her life as she can possibly have. Consider never outing just how it was that she was outed unless it was a HIPAA violation in which case it might be worth her putting the institution responsible for the leak on formal notice. However, that would be her decision to make if that is the cause.

So, if she takes one month or one year or one life, please let her have her privacy, her dignity, her choice.

Em

Offline spacebarsux

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  • Posts: 1,350
  • Survival of the Fittest
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 07:38:15 AM »
Hi Katie,

Glad you posted. You wrote the best advice to follow "I just donít want her to feel like I have intruded, because itís none of my business really..."

How it is that you "accidentally" found out either means you saw something, heard something, or someone violated a HIPAA law, and no matter what the reason, it's not good.

I hope you read this before you decide to engage her. Please don't do it. Let her have as much control in her life as she can possibly have. Consider never outing just how it was that she was outed unless it was a HIPAA violation in which case it might be worth her putting the institution responsible for the leak on formal notice. However, that would be her decision to make if that is the cause.

So, if she takes one month or one year or one life, please let her have her privacy, her dignity, her choice.

Em

Precisely.

That said, once she does tell you, whenever she decides to, just let her know (in your own way) that you love her and will always be there for her when she needs you.
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline katiej81

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  • Posts: 3
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 02:25:53 PM »
Thanks for replying everyone. I've had a bit of time to think about things and let it settle in. I'm not going to say anything, as my sisters private should be just that - private.

It was a silly way to find out - we were both visiting my parents and had matching toiletry bags (you can tell it's not long since christmas!). I picked up hers by accident when I was getting ready in the bathroom. I put it back as soon as I realised but had aready seen her medication. I work in healthcare so knew what the drugs were used to control.

I'm actually glad I know and she isn't aware of it, because it's given me a chance to take it in and come to terms with it, so if/when she does decide to tell me I won't need time to take it in myself.

Thank you again for the replies, they're very supportive and wise - I wish everyone the best for themselves and their loved ones.

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,343
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 10:49:49 PM »
Hi Katie,

I hope you stop back in and get this post. What a fine sister you are. The fact that you're in healthcare is a double-edge sword in this instance-- you know how important the privacy factor is and yet, this is your sister and you know she's simply got a stupid virus. I've found people in the healthcare field ( not just HIV-related professionals ) to be among the most understanding. This doesn't mean you won't be concerned for her, be sad for her, etc.

You're probably wondering how long she's had it and if she'll ever confide in you. My sister was the first person I told---painful it was. I've talked to people who've never told a soul---I can't imagine that, but I do understand it's a matter of personal wiring, family dynamics, surrounding cultural norms or stigma and we can only hope that over time it will get easier for all of us including loving siblings like you.

Em

Offline katiej81

  • Member
  • Posts: 3
Re: Accidently found out sister is HIV+, but she doesn't know yet
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 02:07:39 PM »
Thank you for your reply, Em.

I can't imagine it's easy to tell anybody, and must admit if it was me I would more than likely keep it a secret for a very long time. Websites like this are invaluable though, it's brilliant to know there is somewhere for everybody to come together.

Thanks again :)

 


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