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Author Topic: Best friend tested positive last month.  (Read 2968 times)

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Offline Eleonore

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  • Posts: 4
Best friend tested positive last month.
« on: July 01, 2012, 04:10:07 PM »
Hi there, and first let me start by saying that this is an awesome forum and such a great resource. I joined years ago after I made a really unwise decisiom, got PEP from my doctor, and thankfully tested negative. I'm now a trained nurse, and the things I've learned from this site have allowed me to offer advice to newly diagnosed patients, and to challenge some of my colleagues misconceptions about HIV. I'm really glad to have found this site.

Unfortunately, my best friend tested positive last month. It might sound stupid but I'm struggling with a lot of...guilt, I guess. He's never used condoms and part of me feels like if I'd nagged him more, if I'd known the right things to say, that I maybe could have prevented this. He's always had regular tests, and we tried to convince him that that would NOT protect him from HIV, it would just mean he'd know sooner. In spite of that, I never thought he'd actually catch it - only he, me and another friend know, and we're all kind of still in shock about the whole thing. I didn't tell him about my own risk - I kind of feel like again, if I had, maybe this wouldn't have happened. Maybe it's just me being protective but I feel like I've failed him - he's 2 years younger than me and I've always kind of seen him as my wee brother.

He's also struggling - he doesn't want to talk about it, except when he's drunk, when he gets very upset and fearful. To him, HIV automatically means AIDS, which to him means impending death. I've tried to encourage him to go back to his doctor, to read about treatments and  about the average life expectancy getting better and better, but he's just trying to keep it out of his mind, until it forces it's way back in again and we have the scared 3 am phonecalls.

Is there anything I can do to help him cope? I've let him know he can always talk to me, that no-one blames him, that we still all love him to bits but I just hate seeing him so scared.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 06:45:46 PM by Eleonore »

Offline Jeff G

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Re: Best friend tested positive last month.
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 04:58:55 PM »
I'm sorry about your friend . He is a lucky guy to have your support and concern .

There is nothing you could have done to prevent your friend from becoming HIV positive . You shared the fact that he has been testing regularly in the past so he knew the score and realized the risk of unprotected sex . I know me saying this is probably of little comfort to you and I'm sure you know in your heart you did what you could .

The best advice I can give you at this point is perhaps try and steer him towards checking out this forum and continue to encourage him to see the doctor again for the necessary lab work he needs done . Tell him you got some advice from a old guy who has been poz for 28 years and give him my best wishes and regards .  Best of luck to you and you friend .
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 05:02:29 PM by jg1962 »

Offline Eleonore

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Re: Best friend tested positive last month.
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2012, 05:05:27 PM »
I'm sorry about your friend . He is a lucky guy to have your support and concern .

There is nothing you could have done to prevent your friend from becoming HIV positive . You shared the fact that he has been testing regularly in the past so he knew the score and realized the risk of unprotected sex . I know me saying this is probably of little comfort to you and I'm sure you know in your heart you did what you could .

The best advice I can give you at this point is perhaps try and steer him towards checking out this forum and continue to encourage him to see the doctor again for the necessary lab work he needs done . Best of luck to you and you friend .

I know intellectually there's not much I could have done, but I just wish I could have been more help to him. I've known him since he was 10 and I've been clucking over him like a mother hen since then, so it's hard to stop, even though I know he's an adult now. I've sent him the forum url before, so hopefully one night he just gets curious and brings himself on. I've also found out that there's a support group in town once a month, and we're near to a big city that has some brilliant support services, so I'll just pass on the info and hope he just thinks "what the hell, worth a go!" one night. Maybe talking to folk like yourself, and seeing that he's really, really not alone would help. Tah so much for the advice. :)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2012, 05:12:57 PM by Eleonore »

Offline Ann

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Re: Best friend tested positive last month.
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2012, 09:29:33 AM »
Hi Ele, welcome to the forums.

Stop feeling guilty. All the nagging in the world wouldn't have made him use condoms if he didn't want to.

We could put free condoms out on every bar, every restaurant table, every service counter in every shop in the world, but if a person doesn't want to use one, they're not going to no matter what. A lot of people think "don't need 'em - that's never going to happen to me!" Stop feeling guilty. You did as much as you could - but ultimately, the responsibility for his sexual health lay with him and him alone.

I see you joined us in 2009 - and yet you never posted until now. Wow. Congratulations! You're one of those rare people who joins after a risk but never feels the need to go on and on and on.....! You've read the Am I forum, so I know you know what I mean. You're like a breath of fresh air! ;D Good to hear you tested negative, btw.

I'm glad you found us and I'm happy to hear that you've been "paying it forward" with what you've learned here. I hope we've prepared you to be a good support system for your friend. If you haven't already found them, you and your mate might like to read through the Lessons and Treatments sections of this website. They're written in plain English so your mate will be able to understand and digest them, despite his current state of mind. If you can't get him to visit here, you can print some of the lessons out for him to read. They're all available in a printable version. Maybe once he reads a bit of hardcopy, he'll want to come here to see for himself.

Let him know that there are quite a few people here from your part of the world. I'm nearby; I live in the Isle of Man.

Hang in there and thanks for being there for your mate. I'm always very appreciative when I hear of a negative person supporting one of us pozzies.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Best friend tested positive last month.
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2012, 12:06:39 PM »
Thanks for sharing your story, sad as it is.  Seems like you have ALWAYS done right by your friend.  He'll need your knowledge now to get over his fear and ignorance about HIV.  I don't understand why you feel guilty.  He made his choices. As I said, you seem like a fine friend. 
This may seem odd but you may as an HIV- person be over-dramatizing the diagnosis and that might be contributing to your need to feel guilt.  Sooner or later most HIV+ people get over the drama and all the judgements, or guilt, or shame, or anger, about how they became HIV+ and the fact that they are now HIV+. 
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Eleonore

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: Best friend tested positive last month.
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2012, 02:09:39 PM »
Thanks for sharing your story, sad as it is.  Seems like you have ALWAYS done right by your friend.  He'll need your knowledge now to get over his fear and ignorance about HIV.  I don't understand why you feel guilty.  He made his choices. As I said, you seem like a fine friend. 
This may seem odd but you may as an HIV- person be over-dramatizing the diagnosis and that might be contributing to your need to feel guilt.  Sooner or later most HIV+ people get over the drama and all the judgements, or guilt, or shame, or anger, about how they became HIV+ and the fact that they are now HIV+.

Yep, I definetely agree here, mecch. I had a horrible experience with PEP and counting down the days til I could test, so that's probably colouring my reaction to this, which I need to be careful about - I don't want to seem too worried because I don't want to give the impression that HE needs to be consumed by all this. Right now, it seems like the best thing I can do for him is cheap vodka and takeaways and a listening ear, so I'll keep up with that, and make sure I'm not catastrophising this out of proportion.

Offline Eleonore

  • Member
  • Posts: 4
Re: Best friend tested positive last month.
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2012, 02:18:21 PM »
Hi Ele, welcome to the forums.

Stop feeling guilty. All the nagging in the world wouldn't have made him use condoms if he didn't want to.

We could put free condoms out on every bar, every restaurant table, every service counter in every shop in the world, but if a person doesn't want to use one, they're not going to no matter what. A lot of people think "don't need 'em - that's never going to happen to me!" Stop feeling guilty. You did as much as you could - but ultimately, the responsibility for his sexual health lay with him and him alone.

I see you joined us in 2009 - and yet you never posted until now. Wow. Congratulations! You're one of those rare people who joins after a risk but never feels the need to go on and on and on.....! You've read the Am I forum, so I know you know what I mean. You're like a breath of fresh air! ;D Good to hear you tested negative, btw.

I'm glad you found us and I'm happy to hear that you've been "paying it forward" with what you've learned here. I hope we've prepared you to be a good support system for your friend. If you haven't already found them, you and your mate might like to read through the Lessons and Treatments sections of this website. They're written in plain English so your mate will be able to understand and digest them, despite his current state of mind. If you can't get him to visit here, you can print some of the lessons out for him to read. They're all available in a printable version. Maybe once he reads a bit of hardcopy, he'll want to come here to see for himself.

Let him know that there are quite a few people here from your part of the world. I'm nearby; I live in the Isle of Man.

Hang in there and thanks for being there for your mate. I'm always very appreciative when I hear of a negative person supporting one of us pozzies.

Ann

Thanks, Ann - I need to stop it with the guilt thing I think, and just focus on being a good friend, because at the end of the day it's all about supporting him. He's always been there for me and I'm glad I can repay the favour. I'm glad I found this site, so I've got a resource I can pass on and go "No, it's not alarmist, it's not judgemental, seriously, give it a bash." I've been quite surprised by some of the things I've read in the Am I Infected forum, but the lessons from you guys really are a godsend to us worried wells - it helped me keep things in perspective for myself at a time when I was really frightened, and I'm really grateful. :)
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 02:21:50 PM by Eleonore »

 


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