Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Disclosure = Selfish?? huh?

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Hi all,

So I went to see a therapist yesterday for the first time since finding out I was POZ back in May of 2012....we talked through a lot of the issues that I was feeling, and although most of them have been resolved, I have some lingering self-anger and guilt over having put myself into situations that were not safe, and ultimately led to my status.   The therapist was semi-helpful...but kind of annoyed me because she kept talking about me having 'AIDS'...which is not a big deal, but for some reason bugged me.  She also had me talk to her for about ten minutes to explain about HIV/AIDS because she was not 'informed' about it (I live in a very small town).....

One of the biggest struggles I've had was whether or not to disclose to my mom.  Her brother died of AIDS-related causes in June 2011 and that has had a lot to deal with my guilt as my Uncle was very adamant that I protect myself always...and I didn't.   Anyway the therapist's take on the situation was that it would be 'selfish' to disclose because it would be more about me, and ultimately would just make my Mom worry more....I feel guilty for not telling her because at his funeral she was so upset that he never talked about his health with her, I want to build a closer relationship with her and feel bad keeping something so 'big' secret from her.......I did make another appointment with a different counselor who has HIV/AIDS listed under his 'specialties' so maybe that will help.

So I left the appointment more conflicted than ever....was curious to hear some other thoughts on it from those with experience.   Did you disclose, if so how did it go?  Are you not planning on it, and for what reasons?   Thanks so much!!

Wow, Jim, sounds to me like you might want to find another therapist.

As a mother, I can tell you that I would be absolutely devastated if my daughter were to become hiv positive and didn't tell me. Even though I've drummed condom use into her head since she was a teenager, I would not be disappointed in her or angry with her.

We're all human and we all make mistakes. It's a mother's job to help her children when they make mistakes - no matter what age they are - to get through the aftermath and lend support in any way we can. Even if that only means listening and administering plenty of hugs.

I don't see where this therapist gets off saying that disclosing to your mother would be "all about you". Well, duh! It IS all about you and rightly so. Your mother is going to want to be there for you. You already know that it made her sad that her brother kept her in the dark - don't do that to her yourself.

Just make sure that you make her understand that being diagnosed in 2012 isn't anything like being diagnosed in the early years, when your uncle was likely diagnosed. You have every chance of living a long, full life and dying of causes unrelated to hiv - like, you know, old age. Or you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.

Your mother is going to worry about you regardless of your hiv status. I worry about my daughter and she's 25, in a stable relationship and has a good job. I still worry. That's what we mothers do best. We want to protect and be there for our children and it can be a hard blow when we find out that our children aren't telling us about important developments in their lives. It says to a mother - "I don't really trust you and I'm not sure you really love me".

Another thing about this therapist - if you do see her again, tell her upfront that you don't appreciate her constant reference to aids instead of hiv. Explain to her the differences. I do this with people all the time. Just be polite about it, but firm. But yeah, your plan to find a new therapist sounds good to me. Good luck.

I agree with Ann on all counts - especially trying to find a new therapist if one is available in your small town. Can you go outside the town?

Absolutely confide in your mom when you're ready. I withheld the info from my mom because she'd been through a near-death cardio event. It was more than a year before I disclosed and the first thing she said was -- "Why did you wait so long to tell me?" and of course, understood when I explained that I didn't want to contribute in any way to her health challenges.

Everyone assured me my news wouldn't rock her the way I envisioned. So, here it is 8 years post-disclosure to her and HIV is never a topic because we're too busy talking about family, wildflowers, presidential elections and more.

Your therapist needs a tad more training in the definition of selfish along with AIDS and probably other stuff, too. Just like auto mechanics, lawyers and doctors, there are varying degrees of skill for sale.


Hi jimbalaya

Im sorry that you had a crappy therapist.Im sure that a different counsellor will make a difference.

I do agree with take your time and wait until you feel readyIt doesn't need to be today, tomorrow ...just when you feel the time is right.Your mum sounds like a kind and caring person.

Best wishes


Thanks all for the kind replies!   I do have another appointment in 2 weeks with another therapist who has listed under his 'specialties' HIV/AIDS and gay & lesbian I'm sure it will be a better fit for me.   :) 

I agree....and went to my HIV support group last night, and felt a lot better's amazing how being around supportive people who have been in similar situations can help so much!   Thanks to all who responded.   :)   


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