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Here is my story - Tested Pos 2 weeks ago - Married with Kid

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moving_forward:
Well, I have heard it is therapeutic to get your feelings out.  I am hoping by writing this it will help me in moving forward.  I am a married man to a woman who has been internally dealing with the feelings of being Gay.  About 5 months ago I started visiting adult bookstores to to try and deal with these pent up feelings for so many years.  I know this was not a healthy outlet, and obviously I am dealing with the consequences of my actions.  I practiced safe sex and as far as I know maybe a condom broke.  Regardless I got sick 4 weeks ago with a rash and a high fever.  I decided to take a full panel STD test including HIV PCR.  All tests came back negative except the HIV 2 weeks ago.  I don't know my CD4 Count or western blot results as I have not had them.  My marriage has been stagnant in terms of sex for years and my wife and I used condoms.  I am concerned because I did perform oral sex on her when I was not sure what was going on, but it was brief.  I am waiting to get her results back but her first test was negative.  Having to tell her was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.  It has been an ebb and flow of emotions over the past 2 weeks. grief, loss, anger, acceptance, and now back in the anger phase.  My daughter was told of my diagnosis and infidelity.  Ironically, she was OK that I was gay.  Never thought I would have to come out of the closet this way.. Totally sucks.  I am seeing a therapist now which is helpful, changed my diet, trying to keep a positive outlook.  Ironically, the HIV diagnosis has taken a back seat.  I am more worried about my wife (If I should still call her that) and my child.  My kid does not feel she knows who I am now and is very concerned about being in my presence.  I don't blame her.  My wife is the same way and feels I have made my bed and I need to sleep in it as my choices led to this path.  I can't blame her either.  I was the one who royally screwed up.  I just wish there was some way or education I could provide to my daughter so she knows it is safe to be around me.  I am now living with my parents.  They know the situation and have been very supportive and for that I am grateful.  It is hard though to move back in with your parents when you have not been under their roof for 20 years.  I am trying to see if I can afford a long term living situation where I can be on my own, as we are not selling the house right now so I don't have to uproot my family.. I feel they need stability.  I guess this will all take time.  I don't have an appointment with my ID specialist until late February, and I am concerned I should get put on meds ASAP.  I have not been sick with anything else even being around my daughter all weekend when she had a nasty cold.  Does anyone else who has been married, or who have kids who know and have been through this have any words of wisdom on how to educate and ensure that I am safe to be around.  This may be more psychological for my daughter at this point.  Some days I feel I am better off dead and they would be better to get my life insurance than to have to deal with me, but I remain hopeful that there is a plan for all of this.  I just wish they knew how much I loved them and that my grappling with my gay feelings led to this and now I am paying the price.  My wife keeps telling me that no judge would rightfully allow me to see my kid if it goes down that road.  For now we are separated and working through this day by day.  I hate my life right now.   :(  not for me but for the pain and agony I have caused to my family.  I am certainly getting my fair share of what I deserve.

Jmarksto:
Moving Forward;

First, welcome to the forums, although I am sorry you are going through this.

While my situation is a little different, there are some similarities.  I have a teenage daughter and got infected outside my primary hetero relationship.

The main point I want to make is that I know things seem very bleak right now - but it will get better with time - it really will. It is going to take some time for acceptance and education from everyone involved.  Again - it is going to get better.

The feelings of shame and guilt that you are having were similar to mine. Yes, we made a mistake - but that should not stop us from achieving our dreams and desires prior to that mistake - especially being a great parent. Your love for your daughter will transcend this part of your life.

In terms of educating your daughter - I think it depends on how old she is and what is age appropriate. There are a few things that come to mind - I know some ASO's (Aids Service Organizations) do children's education or counseling - I would start there.  The other thing may be to take her to a doctor's appointment (again if she is age appropriate) and have them explain transmission and treatment to ally her fears.

In terms of getting on treatment right away -- your doctor needs to test for drug resistance prior to prescribing.  While there is literature that suggests you should start treatment ASAP, my doctor wanted me to wait a few months at least to educate myself on treatment options and get my head around having HIV.

If you haven't already, I suggest the lessons section of the site:

www.aidsmeds.com/articles/Introduction_4702.shtml

Again, welcome and I wish you and your family well,

JM

jkinatl2:
Before I dive into some of the meat in your post, I wanted to express how glad I am that you found this place. Sad that you tested positive, but this forum remains one of the best moderated, factually correct places on the internet.

First off, if all of us got what we think we deserve in life, most of us would have been struck by lightning and rendered into cinders. Struggling with sexuality is not totally uncommon, and we all - every one of us - makes mistakes that hurt not only ourselves but the people around us. The single most important thing you can do, and I am sure your therapist would agree, is to forgive yourself.

HIV is much different now than it was a decade ago, let alone the horror-filled days of the 80s and 90s - but it is  formidable and requires a real commitment to staying on top of your treatment and, when necessary, your drugs. That means taking care of yourself, and treating yourself like someone deserving of rescue. I hope you can get to that place.

As far as transmission, there is NO WAY you presented even a scintilla of risk to your wife by performing oral sex with her. And as you say condoms were used to penetrative sex, you presented absolutely zero risk for infection. Same goes with your daughter, of course. Families with HIV positive fathers and/or mothers live together all the time. Outside of unprotected penetrative sex and sharing IV drug needles, HIV is not at all easily transmitted - and certainly not among family members with whom you are not sexually intimate.

As far as treatment goes, there is evidence that starting earlier has benefits in preserving the innate immune system, but that is really a personal choice as well. It might be years before you are in a position to *need* treatment, but some people find a sense of empowerment in starting early. Of course here in the US there is insurance to contend with, and barring that, other resources which can make such a decision more complicated. But the number of available drug options are plentiful.

As far as your custody issues go, I will leave that to others with more experience. I know that where you live and what judge ends up deciding your divorce case (if it gets to that) makes a huge difference. Mediation is always preferable, of course, if you and your wife can come to a non-acrimonious understanding. If only for the kids.

Regardless, welcome to the forums. I certainly hope you stay around.

JK

mecch:

--- Quote from: moving_forward on February 07, 2013, 09:20:34 PM --- Some days I feel I am better off dead and they would be better to get my life insurance than to have to deal with me, but I remain hopeful that there is a plan for all of this.  I just wish they knew how much I loved them and that my grappling with my gay feelings led to this and now I am paying the price.  My wife keeps telling me that no judge would rightfully allow me to see my kid if it goes down that road.  For now we are separated and working through this day by day.  I hate my life right now.   :(  not for me but for the pain and agony I have caused to my family.  I am certainly getting my fair share of what I deserve.

--- End quote ---

Hello welcome to the forum.  You are in a dark place, not seeing things clearly due to a number of violent changes in your life - marriage breaking up, coming out gay, getting HIV.  Your daughter won't be better off with you dead.  If you want your daughter to know how much you love her, simply tell her that.  She needs some time to process it all.  Your wife is surprised, hurt, bitter, angry etc. I guess you have caused her "pain and agony" but eventually she has to own her own feelings, though right now its too raw for her.

There is something that you don't see yet but I hope this insight will help you.  You did NOT get HIV because you explored gay sex, or because you betrayed your wife.  You got it from a sexual accident.  Straight, bi and gay, all sexualities, are at risk for STDS.  You did NOT get HIV because you are gay and HIV is not a punishment for being gay or betraying your wife...  Just in case you are at the moment lumping all this in together.  Stop it.  Each event has its own implications and calls for its own coping behaviours.

An example that other people see it differently than you is your own daugther, who you say doesn't have a problem if you are gay.  She's just freaked out and ignorant about transmission risks. 

You deserve your own health and happiness, you haven't ruined anyone or anything.  Its a bump in the road.  Your wife will become your ex wife and hopefully move on to a new lover, or husband, and happier days.  Same for you.  Its never nice to see a family break up, but they break up because its necessary, and every one in the family should be reminded to be optimistic and hopeful about the future happiness that is possible.

Ann:
Hi MF, welcome to the forums.


--- Quote from: moving_forward on February 07, 2013, 09:20:34 PM ---
Regardless I got sick 4 weeks ago with a rash and a high fever.  I decided to take a full panel STD test including HIV PCR.  All tests came back negative except the HIV 2 weeks ago.  I don't know my CD4 Count or western blot results as I have not had them. 


--- End quote ---

PCR tests are not stand-alone diagnostic tests and you need further testing to confirm - or rule out - hiv infection.

Depending on which type of PCR test you had done, and depending on what the resulting viral load (VL) number came back as, there is a possibility that you've had a false positive result.

DNA PCR tests are prone to false negatives and for this reason they should not be used to detect early hiv infection, although some doctors aren't aware of this and use them anyway.

RNA PCR tests are less prone to false negatives, but it can still happen. RNA PCR tests are the only PCR tests that are approved for use in an early diagnosis setting - but they are still not stand-alone diagnostic tests.

Typically in very early acute hiv infection, the VL is very high. If your VL came back over 10,000, it's quite likely a true positive regardless of which type of PCR was used. However, lab errors can and do happen, so you still need further confirmatory testing.

Hiv is nothing to guess or assume about and unfortunately, there are no real short cuts to confirming a positive - or negative - hiv diagnosis.

What you need to confirm (or rule out) a positive diagnosis is an antibody test, and if that is positive it needs to be followed up with a Western Blot. Only when you have a positive antibody and positive WB result can you actually be considered to be hiv positive.

The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test antibody positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being only 22 days. From what you've written, it seems that you are at or past the six week point. If you are indeed hiv positive you should be testing hiv positive on an antibody test by now.

Rather than waiting for your ID appointment in late February, you might want to consider going now and having a rapid antibody test done. If you're still testing antibody negative at this point, you may very well have had a false positive PCR test result. I'd urge you to get that checked out.

While you wait to have a confirmation one way or the other, please do not post anywhere outside this thread. Thank you for your cooperation regarding that.

A few words of advice that assume your PCR test was a true positive result....

As JK already told you, you have not put your wife or your daughter at risk for hiv infection. Your saliva - even if you do have a very high VL - is not infectious so giving your wife oral wasn't a risk in any way.

Condoms have been proven to prevent hiv infection, so the protected intercourse wasn't a risk either. There have been three long-term studies of couples where one is positive and one is negative. In the couples who used condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, but no barrier for oral activities, not one of the negative partners became infected with hiv. Not one.

Regarding your daughter, (and wife for that matter), the only way you'd put her at risk is if you have unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse with her. Obviously you're not going to be having any sort of sex with your daughter, so you're not going to put her at risk. Same goes for sharing needles. Not something you'd do with your daughter, is it.

You can keep doing all the things that commonly happen in a family setting, such as kisses, sharing dishes, cups, mugs, and other eating utensils. You can continue to use the same bathroom facilities and not have any fear of transmitting your virus to others. Hiv is actually a rather difficult virus to transmit.

"My wife keeps telling me that no judge would rightfully allow me to see my kid if it goes down that road."

No judge with an iota of common sense and education would agree with your wife. There is no reason why you should not be able to see your kid and having hiv does not have the least bearing on your parenting abilities. It's like saying you shouldn't be permitted to see your kid after a diabetes or cancer diagnosis. Pure nonsense.

I know everything is really fresh, raw, confusing and probably terrifying for you and your family right now - but it will get better in time.

But please make sure you get further confirmatory testing sooner, rather than later. When tests like the PCR test are used as diagnostic tools there is always a possibility of an incorrect result. As I said earlier, I suggest you go get an antibody test done now. If you get a negative result at this point, you've likely had a false positive PCR result.

Good luck regardless of how the testing pans out. You'll ultimately be ok either way. I know it won't seem like that right now, so you'll just have to trust me on that.

Hugs,
Ann

PS - could you please break what you write up into smaller paragraphs, rather than posting one big block of text? Breaking what you write up into bite-sized bits makes it easier to read and not miss any important details. We'll be better placed to help you if you remember to do this. You can always write what you need to all in one go - and then go back over it to add paragraph spaces before you hit post. Thanks! :)

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