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Author Topic: My dad has hiv  (Read 3337 times)

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Offline Concerned84

  • New Member
  • Posts: 1
My dad has hiv
« on: November 01, 2014, 12:09:23 PM »
Hi all,

My dad is suffering from cancer (he is 62) and is in hospital after a major surgery. While he was in there the dr asked what medication he is on and there was one that he acted strange about. I googled it and found out it was for HIV. I confirmed with his best friend and he does have HIV and has for many years. My dad is also gay.

I am writing to this forum for some support and advice as to what I should do from here. My dad has a follow up appointment on Tuesday that he will most likely try to make sure I don't go to, because now I know they will possibly talk about the HIV. Therefore I am thinking of bringing this up with him over the next few days.

Probably like most gay men, my dad never told me he was gay. He lied when I first asked him but eventually I found out the truth (I was 17 at that time). I have always been very supportive of my dad and have made sure he knows I love him unconditionally.

I am hurt that my dad has not told me he is hiv positive. It feels like just another lie (there have been so many...) and instead of protecting me from worry (which is what I presumed he was trying to do) instead I just makes me trust him less and makes me worry what else I am going to find out on my own.

I am seeking advice from anyone else who feels the same as me or from dads out there on your perspective on why you didn't tell your kids. This is a sensitive topic and I want my dad to feel supported and loved and know that I love him exactly the same, but there is a part of me that is mad I didn't know. It may be just the initial shock and I also know my dad has the right to not tell me things. But considering he is fighting cancer and his cancer maybe more aggressive due to his weaker immune system I feel like as his main support system I had a right to know.

At the end of the day I love my dad and know he has and is going through so much that I am willing to put my hurt aside and just be there for him, and I am hoping this forum will give me more perspective and Insight to do that for him.

Many thanks to all who can help.

Offline Almost2late

  • Member
  • Posts: 928
  • Life goes on
Re: My dad has hiv
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2014, 12:45:17 PM »
Hi Concerned,

So sorry to hear about your Dad and my heart goes out to you and your father.. Being a father myself with hiv, I can say this, hiv carries with it a lot of stigma and feeling guilty for not preventing what was obviously preventable.. so I can understand your father not wanting to burden you with his illness.. The fact that you love your father unconditionally is probably the best news he'll want to hear, so tell him that.. I told my children, who are young adults like you but it was no easy task.. please try and forgive him for not being totally honest with you, I'm sure he was thinking he was protecting you from this bad news.. I wish you and your father the very best of luck in this battle with cancer.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 12:48:18 PM by Almost2late »
"Being happy is a
very personal thing,
and it really has
nothing to do with
anyone else."
- Abraham Hicks

Offline zach

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,352
Re: My dad has hiv
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2014, 02:17:25 PM »
I'm am also a positive father with two young adult kids, and one teen. All sons.

They know, I don't at all judge your fathers choice not to tell you, just letting you know where I'm from. Ten years ago, I may not have told them. Times have changed, but your father may be getting to the age where he doesn't change as easily with the times.

two issues

1 hiv
Tell him you know. Keep it simple. You overheard, you googled, you know. It's ok. Move on, nothing to forgive, he made a choice. The lighter you treat it, the more weight it will lift off him. That will be a relief.

2 cancer, the real issue of the moment
Good luck to both of you.

We're around anytime you need to talk, a lot of good voices in here.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 02:21:01 PM by zach »

Offline mecch

  • Member
  • Posts: 13,211
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: My dad has hiv
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2014, 03:45:50 PM »

I am hurt that my dad has not told me he is hiv positive. It feels like just another lie (there have been so many...) and instead of protecting me from worry (which is what I presumed he was trying to do) instead I just makes me trust him less and makes me worry what else I am going to find out on my own.

You love your dad. 

AND you feel hurt by him, and you are angry at him, and there seems to be a history of lies that is bugging you.  So remember, we can love our parents AND we can still have issues... 

You don't need to talk to someone who "feels like you" - you have your own feelings why don't you own them and do something about them.

Your dad probably had his reasons for keeping things from you and if you really want to know why then you can ask him nicely but directly. 

Also you can communicate how you felt.  And still feel. 

"Unconditional love" is great and all but most of us live in a messy world.  When people get sick, you can give them your love, your TOTAL SUPPORT (that's very important when people are sick) - as in your time and effort and an "I love you" - when you see him...   But you can ALSO talk about the relationship and maybe resolve things.

If you hear his view on things, and he listens to how your experienced things and felt things, maybe this will all resolve well enough, and certainly better than pretending about what "unconditional love" means.


My dad never talked about his parenting with me and his behavior, how he lived his live.  His rationales.  His contentments and regrets.  At least, quite rarely. 

When he was sick, suddenly it all came out and it was wonderful to hear. 

If I were you, I would prepare myself to listen and to hear some "eyeopeners".
« Last Edit: November 01, 2014, 03:48:49 PM by mecch »
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline wolfter

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,452
Re: My dad has hiv
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 08:06:51 AM »
Another HIV positive father here. 

None of us can tell you exactly what your father's motivation was/is but we can share some of our experiences to maybe provide some insight.

I'll start by pointing out the difference between being gay today as opposed to the 1970's which is when your father came of age.  It was a very difficult time to be gay then and many, many men tried to suppress that aspect of their lives.  That still happens today, but to a lesser degree.

Then along came HIV.  Being on the "down low" about sexuality created some risky behaviors due to the need to sneak to fulfill needs.  Lots of us caried internal shame that led to even worse and risky behaviors.

Then there is also the aspect of the courts being involved because of minor children.  Many men had ex spouses who were supportive but some of us had vindictive exes who used every weapon within their arsenal to continue hurting and shaming us.  I only told my ex of my status as it was the moral thing to do so she could get tested.  Had I known it would be used at every court hearing for years to come....well, my decision might have been different. 

No father wants his children to view them negatively and many fear that our children knowing our sexuality and status will indeed view us with disdain. 

Sometimes, we lie in order to protect our loved ones.  Right or wrong, humans do that.  I hope you can see past the perceived deception and support your dad in a difficult period.  This might actually give you the opportunity to become closer to your dad. 

Best wishes
Being honest is not wronging others, continuing the dishonesty is.

Offline harleymc

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  • Posts: 656
Re: My dad has hiv
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2014, 06:29:42 AM »
Wow they have tough laws in your state. Criminalisation for not disclosing to all family members....  Give me a break. 

Your Dad's HIV is none of your business unless he chooses to tell you. End of story

Offline ImisstheOldTimes

  • Member
  • Posts: 178
Re: My dad has hiv
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2014, 08:14:59 AM »

As you can see, there are quite a few people who have different feelings about your father's need to disclose to you, while I feel one was very sharp and unnecessary, the majority of folks responding to your post have been informative and sensitive to your current position.  I am in full agreement with Zach, trying to "get him to tell you," will probably only be exhausting on both of your parts - as you already know, and he of course is probably trying to protect you from worry as you note.

The really fantastic news is to read he is taking meds for them, some people don't have that option, as they see getting HIV is a form of punishment, that they must take upon themselves and let the disease run rampant until it is too late.  My father called it "keeping the monkey on his back." Which is why he decided not to tell our family until he was in the hospital riddled with many opportunistic infections and a zero immune system, wherein he had no other choice but to tell us.
We saw him spiral into AIDS related dementia, before the virus claimed him. It was one month between his actual diagnosis and his death.

Trust me, I know how you are feeling, it's been almost 3 years now, and one bit of advice I can give you is what I only learned not too long ago...even though your father has not been honest with you, think of the weight and burden he is carrying on himself in order to maybe (try) not to burden you with it... It certainly was a heavy load for my dad.

Continue to love and support him, and who knows maybe the discussion Zach states might just elevate some of that load, and perhaps lessen any stress the two of you might have.

All my best,
Life is a BANQUET, and most poor suckers are starving to death!

                             ~Auntie Mame

Offline Exruton

  • Member
  • Posts: 9
Re: My dad has hiv
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2014, 12:32:09 AM »
I'm sorry to hear that, personally i'd tell him i know and that i don't judge him for it, it should move a huge wieght of him


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