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Author Topic: HIV+ and married with child  (Read 7077 times)

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Offline RiderMan

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  • Posts: 13
HIV+ and married with child
« on: December 07, 2012, 10:33:48 AM »
Hi...I just joined this site today, I wanted a forum where I could share my story and hopefully get feedback, based on the posts I have read we are all in a similar position.  I was diagnosed HIV+ in Sept 2012, I contracted HIV in Aug 2012 (so I got tested right after, I assumed something was wrong). I am married with a child; my marriage has been rocky and in August I was depressed and did something selfish, I met a woman and had sex (met online).  I am not a promiscuous person, in fact this was the 1st time I cheated, and I am going to pay the price forever. Since finding out my diagnosis, I have not told my wife...we are not intimate so there is no risk.  I know that if I tell her she will freak out, definitely kick me out, fight this in court and request full custody.  Is it possible to keep this a 'secret'? I am not on meds (yet) so assume that when I do start the meds will be a giveaway but am trying to see if this is even possible to do (i.e. taking meds at work and not at home etc).  I don't want to lose my family and I want to be a present father for my child.  Thanks in advance for your thoughts/views...
08-27-2012: contracted
10-17-2012: Positive
10-17-2012: CD4 - 555  VL 7700
11-06-2012: CD4 - 595  VL 20000

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2012, 10:36:33 AM »
Hey RiderMan;

First, I am sorry you need to be here, but welcome. In terms of how you contracted - there is no judgement here. We have all had different journeys.

Starting with your diagnosis - was that confirmed with a Western Blot?  Also, do you know your viral load and CD4 count?

Now, more to the point of your post.  I am also in a hetero relationship with a child - and I have to say that coming home and having to disclose was one of the hardest things I have had to do in my life - and my partner was fully aware of my "outside activity".  I thought my relationship would be over - and to be honest, it has gotten more intimate in an emotional way (our sex life has diminished while we figure out how to be safe - but we are working on that). So, while my situation is different I have some compassion for your situation and I am sure others here do too.

My interpretation of your question has two elements.  First is the logistical part that you mention - can you take the meds at work, etc.  The second, and I think more difficult part, of the question is the emotional/psychological part. 

Regarding the logistical part - you may be able to keep this a secret, but it would take some work.  The meds are one thing, the doctors appointments, insurance paperwork, etc. could be another challenge.  Really knowing if this could be kept on the down low would require way more detail about your life than you want to post here.

The emotional and psychological part would be harder for me anyway.  Based on my own experience, I can imagine that keeping this secret, along with the fear of losing your family/relationship with your child, is weighing on you. Also, the challenge with secrets like this is that they build on each other and become heavier and more complex and at some point the secret is out and looking back it was better to divulge the original secret - as hard as it seemed at the time.

Obviously I don't know all the details about your situation - but my first inclination would be to get some individual counseling, I think it would help to have someone to talk to.  I strongly recommend talking to someone that is familiar with or specializes in HIV issues.  That person may be able to help you think through the issues and outline a thoughtful plan.

Wish you well,
JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD

Offline mecch

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 12:46:22 PM »
Sorry you had to join our group here.

Diagnosis is quite the shock.  You know, you don't need to rush into disclosure to anyone!  That's my opinion, based on the fact you aren't having sex with your wife. 

Why not take the time to adjust to two major changes, one just happened - you got HIV.  The other one will come eventually - how to move forward with your marriage (or not) and family.

I would encourage you to try to separate these two issues as much as possible. Obviously, quite interrelated.  But really, HIV diagnosis must be quite a blow so it will take time to figure that all out.  And you do NOT want to bury your head in the sand about the diagnosis.  And if all the stress and fear of the marriage crisis is going to make it more difficult, than wait on that disclosure. 

I guess it would be best if you can be a good "position" when you disclose: strong, knowledgeable about HIV, knowledge about your own likely prognosis, and clear about the future of living with HIV.  So, a few months of labs, figuring out how the insurance (or none?) will work out, etc etc etc etc. 

I think you probably need to talk to a social worker or therapist to deal with this first blow and seperate out the issues of health and responsibility, from issues about family and marriage. 

Eventually, on the family and marriage front, I guess you'll need at least some marriage counseling, and it might be essential before disclosure that you have ALREADY spoken to a lawyer and be prepared for the worst reaction.  A bad reaction isn't the only possible outcome, but I guess you should be prepared in advance, to protect your rights. 

Does that make sense?
« Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 12:48:18 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2012, 02:01:35 PM »
You know, you don't need to rush into disclosure to anyone!   

[/quote

I agree.  I don't think my original post was clear enough about this.

JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD

Offline RiderMan

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 09:14:11 AM »
Thx JMarksto and Meech.  I really appreciate your insight, this is helpful and reassuring, nice to have people to 'talk' with during difficult times.  To answer some of the questions:
- CD4: 555 (Oct) and went up to 595 (Nov)
- VL: 7000 (Oct) and went up to 20000 (Nov)

I do have a Specialist that I will be seeing again in Jan. Also have a therapist that I am meeting for the 1st time next week.  No meds yet, but I have read up on the costs which is alarming. Not sure how people pay for this, it appears that even with a Health Plan that covers 80% that individuals need to fork out about $400/month ($4800/yr).  How does this work??

My biggest concern is losing my family. I know that if I ever shared this info with my wife that it would mean lawyers, child custody battle, probably exposing my condition to others (i.e. friends, co workers etc).  The risk is too high for me to take (that is my current mindset).  My wife does not suspect me of infidelity, so that in itself would be huge...add the diagnosis to the mix it would be a disaster.

To add to this drama, my brother died of AIDS back in 1996; he waited too long to get tested and the meds were not as solid as today.

On a separate note, this forum is great, I have read a bunch strings and it has been very helpful, everyone's experiences have helped me...I hope that I can help others too over the coming years.

Thx
08-27-2012: contracted
10-17-2012: Positive
10-17-2012: CD4 - 555  VL 7700
11-06-2012: CD4 - 595  VL 20000

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2012, 01:21:31 PM »
There are co-payment deals offered in the USA by the drug companies, which cut the cost to people who have large deductibles or high co-payments.
Also, obviously, if you are in the USA, there's that reality. But everyone around the world faces different challenges or easiness for affording treatment, as you can imagine.

I am really sorry to hear about your brother.  Remember to train your mind and emotions to rest in 2012 and the experience now, of living with HIV.  Its a world of difference to then.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline skycee

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 10:40:50 AM »
There are co-payment deals offered in the USA by the drug companies, which cut the cost to people who have large deductibles or high co-payments.
Also, obviously, if you are in the USA, there's that reality. But everyone around the world faces different challenges or easiness for affording treatment, as you can imagine.

I am really sorry to hear about your brother.  Remember to train your mind and emotions to rest in 2012 and the experience now, of living with HIV.  Its a world of difference to then.

Mecch I don't quite understand your last paragraph....please shed more light....
Infected September's 2012
Seroconverted October 2012
Elisa test- indeterminate 20th November. 2012
Rapid test - Negative 23th November 2012
Elisa test - Positive 10th December 2012
CD4 - 546, 12th Dec 2012
CD4 600+, VL 6702 26th March 2013

Offline mecch

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2012, 12:33:09 PM »
Mecch I don't quite understand your last paragraph....please shed more light....

Skycee
RiderMan's brother died of HIV/AIDS in 1996. 
Some of us mature people have vivid memories and pain and loss from the 80's and 90's when someone we loved died of HIV/AIDS.
This pain and fear and loss can overshadow today's experience of HIV.  I personally  had involuntary, unthinking fear and panic about HIV in 2008 when I got it, because all the history came flooding back. 
So its important to learn about HIV now, in 2012, what science and medicine knows about HIV now. What medicine can do. How doctors routinely tell newly HIV+ people to go right on with scheduled plans, and plan on living a long life.  So, its a different experience to then.  And some of us, who remember then, must actively try to learn the new reality. To feel the new reality.
Does that make sense, now??
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline tednlou2

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2012, 01:01:24 AM »
Riderman, welcome to the forums.  This is all still fresh and no one would blame you for not knowing how to deal with this just yet. 

I don't want to get all up in your business, but you and your wife have a sexless marriage?  There is no chance you guys would become intimate?  If you plan to stay together, I don't see how you could not tell her.  She has the right to know, for her health, but what's the purpose of a marriage if you cannot share something so important? 

If the marriage is basically over, you could get out, without having to disclose your status.  I know there are different kinds of relationships.  Some are happy staying married, while being more like roommates.  No judgement there.  I don't understand that, but wouldn't judge the relationship choices of others.  If you are going to stay together and become intimate again, then I think you'd have to tell her.  If you're not intimate and you both are happy living as "roommates," then there is no need to disclose, if you don't feel it's right for you.

Again, I realize this is all new and you should take some time to figure this out before deciding to tell her or not.  It is good you're seeing a therapist, who should be able to help you figure out what's best for you and your family.

All the best.   

Offline RiderMan

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2012, 04:59:17 PM »
Thx Tednlou2...your comments are valid.  You are correct, I am married however there is no intimacy, we have somewhat agreed to remain together to raise our child (this was before i was diagnosed)...so your analogy of room-mates is pretty much right.  There is a chance that we do split, I assume that staying together might not work but was wondering if we did stay together if there would be signs or triggers to assume i had HIV (apart from meds).

I am battling inside, hopefully my therapist will be able to clean up my messed up head.  To add to this, I did approach the person that passed HIV to me. 

When we 1st met, i asked her if she had been tested and she said 1 month ago (yeah, I took her word for it)...anyways when I told her i contracted HIV she acted surprised, i asked her to get tested and she did.  1 week later she said she was HIV.  I figured out that there was no way she could get tested and get results in 1 week so I challenged her (politely). She then said she had it for 1 year and knew about it when we were together (I was shocked, blown out of the water!).

I asked for her CD4 and VL...she said she did not know (again, i could not believe she would not know this).  2 weeks ago she told me her CD4 is 0.20 and VL is 2million...I am no expert but I am guessing that she has had HIV for more than 1 year (unless you can have these counts after 12 months???).  I never heard of CD4 as 0.20 (not sure if this is a true count or not)...

So now I am wondering what to do....should i report her to social services? I met her online, and I did go back to see if she still had a post up (and she did)...I don't want anyone else to get stuck in my situation...not sure how to approach this situation, especially since I need to remain discrete.  Thoughts?

 
08-27-2012: contracted
10-17-2012: Positive
10-17-2012: CD4 - 555  VL 7700
11-06-2012: CD4 - 595  VL 20000

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2012, 06:54:42 PM »
My thoughts are you should contact her again and give her a piece of your mind about the lie.

And at the same time, accept that you are hardly Prince Gallant in this sordid story of transmission (as so many transmission stories are....).

Weren't you cheating on your wife, in secret, and I'm assuming here you never had permission to have sex outside marriage?  (Even though its a sexless marriage.... Let's talk about lies, shall we.  Whos the liar?  Pot, kettle, kettle pot.) 

And hooking up online and having unprotected sex with a stranger - those were your decisions. 

Read her the riot act and make her squirm if you think it might shake and stop lying in the future.  And then read it to yourself, and move on....  No "reporting" necessary.  I am assuming you would appreciate some kindness and understanding when YOUR lies are revealed and they hurt and fall heavily on the ones you love.
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 06:57:53 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline mecch

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2012, 04:30:46 AM »
Oh, and just to clarify.

If your state has one of those interviews with a health worker where they try to track infections for notification and health purposes, i don't necessarily have a problem with that.  But you know and she knows that you are both HIV+.  So no tracking needed between the two of you.

I got the impression you were really referring to wanting to start some sort of moral/criminal repercussion for her lie.  Thats why I responded sternly. But if thats not what you meant, my apologies!

Some of us are worked up lately about people not understanding how bad and illogical criminal transmission laws are.  Eventually thats another thing you'll come to terms with as you get used to being HIV+. 

Contrary to what the intruder just posted, nobody here sanctions or defends HIV transmission.

« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 05:46:18 AM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 05:01:39 AM »

Contrary to what the intruder just posted, nobody here sanctions or defends HIV transmission.


The "intruder" has been banned (for repeatedly violating our posting rules) and his post removed.
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 RiderMan

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 08:35:14 AM »
Thx for the honest input, this is appreciated. I am no prince Gallant, that is for sure; and not looking for legal action; I admit my errors and I don't try to camouflage them.

I am supposed to meet my therapist this week and my doc mentioned that I would also talk with Social Workers, so not sure what I need to tell them (if anything)?  I have talked with HER and was not 'harsh' since I am also concerned abour her health.  I encouraged her to go back to doc and get medicated, which she did (taking Kivexa and Sustiva as of last week).

On another note this web site has been very helpful, I stumbled across it my mistake (as i was ravaging the Net for info on my new life) and it is really great, unfortunate to see all of us brought here for the same reason but very informative and almost a form of therapy...

PS. What is this 'intruder' comment? I read my post and did not see any odd 'posters' unless it was a joke about 1 of the harsh responses?

08-27-2012: contracted
10-17-2012: Positive
10-17-2012: CD4 - 555  VL 7700
11-06-2012: CD4 - 595  VL 20000

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2012, 09:06:57 AM »

PS. What is this 'intruder' comment? I read my post and did not see any odd 'posters' unless it was a joke about 1 of the harsh responses?


The "intruder" was an hiv negative person who was not permitted to post outside the Am I Infected forum. I removed his (illegal) post because it added nothing to the discussion - it was shit-stirring, pure and simple. I also banned the "intruder" because it wasn't the first time he posted where he's not permitted to post and he'd been warned about it before. So, bye-bye to him.


The "intruder" has been banned (for repeatedly violating our posting rules) and his post removed.

Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...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 RiderMan

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2012, 03:55:09 PM »
Thx for the feedback.  I took some time to read the posts in other sections and it was very beneficial.  There are a number of posters with children and their insight/views were informative.  This site is great, it has only been 2 months since i was diagnosed and felt alone/depressed/angry etc (I read this in many posts also!), this site is almost therapeutic, you guys are my cyber family  :D

Did blood works 2 days ago, 2 weeks will get results. I am hoping not to have to start meds too soon, the nurse I talked with said i would probably start in Feb (not sure how she was able to come up with this info???).

08-27-2012: contracted
10-17-2012: Positive
10-17-2012: CD4 - 555  VL 7700
11-06-2012: CD4 - 595  VL 20000

Offline Casinokiwi

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2013, 08:03:06 AM »
Riderman,
I have a very similar story and almost an identical timeline.  The only difference is that my wife was in the room when the infectious disease doctor told me I was HIV positive.  I was lucky to later learn that I didn't infect my wife. 

In any event, the night I was diagnosed I told her about a trip to a massage parlor while I was traveling on business.  That conversation started a couple of months of intense therapy both individual and marriage counseling.  My wife is a bit unstable and our relationship was going south before HIV but for a moment I thought this might bring us together. 

While on a business trip a month ago my wife filed for divorce and started packing my belongings. She is also fighting to get full custody of our three children and using HIV against me in ways that I deem unfair.  I can't really blame her for leaving me as I broke her trust in a big way and now I have to carry around some "baggage" for life because of it. 

I don't know if it helps at all to hear this but my takeaway would be to either tell her and work on the marriage or get out of the marriage before she finds out and leverages it against you.

Not everyone may agree with me on that but after going through what I have I am feeling a bit cynical. 

Offline Joe K

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2013, 07:24:58 PM »
Hey Riderman & Casinokiwi,

In regards to any possible custody issues, I suggest you both become very familiar with any laws pertaining to HIV, where you live.  There are no valid reasons for you to be viewed as anything but equal with your mate in regards to custody.  You cannot pass the virus through casual contact and be prepared to prove that you are seeking medical care for your infection.

Do not let anyone, even suggest that you are somehow less worthy of being a patent to your children, simply because you are poz.  Please educate yourself and be ready to defend your rights if necessary.

Best of luck to you both.

Joe
Life is what happens, when you are busy making other plans.

Though you may be only one person in the entire world, to one person, you may be the entire world.

I wish to become half the man, that my dog thinks I am.

Remember me with simple acts of kindness and I will live forever.

Offline RiderMan

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2013, 08:42:19 AM »
Thx for the insight Casinokiwi/killfoile.  I have not made a decision on whether to tell my wife or keep it to myself and leave the relationship.  However, I am leaning on the latter option; my relationship was rocky to start with but what is holding me back is my young daughter; I am hands on dad, with her every day, I love her more than anything...it kills me to think of her not being in my life day to day.

From a legal perspective the infidelity (not HIV) does come into play in the courtroom (in my country anyways); infidelity is cause for immediate divorce (no need to have 1 yr of separation) and previous cases have shown primary custody going to the non-infidel partner.  This can vary case/case but it is a definitely a deterent for sharing my status.

I would appreciate insight on anyone that actually went through the process of divorce with children, wondering what the outcome was and what issues came up.

Thanks!  Riderman
 
08-27-2012: contracted
10-17-2012: Positive
10-17-2012: CD4 - 555  VL 7700
11-06-2012: CD4 - 595  VL 20000

Offline mecch

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2013, 08:54:20 AM »
P.S.
Infidelity is not an HIV transmission risk.
Sex with a sex worker is not an HIV transmission risk.

The virus is transmitted through unprotected sex, and needle exchange, etc.

The virus does not have morality.

We might feel all broken up or guilty or ashamed about who we have sex with but its helpful to be rigorous to keep HIV infection in its proper little pocket.  Even though the HIV- population has a HUGE challenge doing the same.  HIV is not a punishment or a sign of moral failing. Its just a virus.

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

Offline Buckman

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2013, 01:06:01 PM »
RiderMan, I am interested in hearing if you ever told your wife. I am in a very similar situation as you. Married, no intimacy, but outside of that we have a great relationship that I do not want to destroy. I am terrified of telling her. I have started taking meds and have been able to keep everything secret so far but it seems like a matter of time before I will have no choice to tell her.

Not only do I fear the reaction of my positive status but also of my cheating on her which led to it.

Any advice from would be welcome.

Offline mecch

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Re: HIV+ and married with child
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2013, 06:02:35 PM »
If you love your wife and if you respect her, let her make up her own mind what she wants to do about/how she wants to feel and react, to your infidelity and HIV+ status.
What kind of great relationship is based on fundamental lies.  Been there, done that. If there are big lies in a relationship, its not a "great relationship."  In my humble opinion.

Also when sex dies in a relationship, the partners should hash it out honestly and thoroughly to see if they both want to repair the intimacy, both want to continue in a non-sexual relationship, or split up.  I know lots of people do not have this communication, but I still think its the best way forward for all concerned.  People should never give up on sexual intimacy, no matter how long the dry spell.  That's my opinion.  I know couples who stay together for a lot of reasons besides sex. Sex can be totally off the table and each partner pursues love affairs.  Whats the point of staying "faithful" is there is no sex, period.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2013, 06:07:31 PM by mecch »
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