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my brother has AIDS

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Hi everyone, my name is Jake and I really need some advice on how to handle a situation with my family. I just found out today that my older brother who is 26 has AIDS. He was originally diagnosed with HIV last November and has been getting progressively more sick everyday. His doctors told him that he probably has two to four years left to live due to the ineffective medicine regimens that they keep trying that aren't working. I'm the only one in my family who really talks to him; I have a very closed-minded, very conservative family that have treated him terribly in the past, and he asked me not to tell our parents that he's this sick, because they judged him so harshly when he came out. I understand why he does't want me to tell anyone, but I want to make sure he's taken care of if he gets really sick and I feel like I can't do that by myself. He lives in San Francisco and my family lives in the midwest, I'm 17 so I don't really have enough money to go visit him often, and I think that if my parents knew they would at least want to make sure he's taken care of. I want to respect his decision not to tell our family, but I also want him to have someone there if he needs us. I don't know what to do. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks.

Do not disclose another person's status, ever, for any reason, not even the dearest family.

I can't believe that any modern doctor would give that kind of prognosis. Especially in SFO.

For your own peace of mind, this virus, and the disease, are manageable.

Read the lessons here, keep asking questions in this thread. Educate yourself from reliable sources.

Are you sure he is full blown AIDS? There is a difference. Untreated HIV virus, causes the disease AIDS. A positive person can live a lifetime on ARVs and never develop AIDS. And someone with AIDS, can live just as long.

This is not a death sentence. But your brother has a hard fight ahead.

Again, DO NOT DISCLOSE. Resist every temptation.

Jake, listen to what Zach says.
There is something not right about the story you relate here. No 26 year old, pretty much anyway in the world, and certainly San Francisco, is going to get a "2 to 4 year prognosis".  There is the possibility that he is in the hospital now, and definitely dying, now, of some related infection or cancer, etc.   IF that is the case, he won't last 4 years.  Otherwise, no matter the state of his immune system now, doctors will give him some hope that effective treatment will reverse the damage and would never tell him "2 to 4 years".

Something is missing. Perhaps he isn't dealing well with the diagnosis and is mangling the information that he presents to you.

Or something has been misunderstood.  Perhaps he has heard that his untreated HIV is not going well, and unless he finds and sticks to an effective combination, he won't do well.  There are people who, for their own reasons, are not able to stick to treatment.  That doesn't mean there are no effective treatments.  It means the person, for whatever reason, is unable to take the pills consistently.  You might want to gently inquire if that is the case, for your brother.

If the issue is "adherence" to treatment, the challenge could be any combination of:  depression, helplessness, lifestyle, money, political and philosophical beliefs. (There's a small group of people, including in SF, who believe that HIV treatment is poison, a business conspiracy, and/or that HIV doesn't kill.)

There are many many different combination of pills available.  It is difficult to believe there is no effective treatment for your brother.  Something is wrong in the information chain. 

As for telling people. Don't.
Doesn't he have any support in SF.  He's a loner?
Suggest to him to join the Forum...

Jeff G:
Welcome to the Forum Jake . The others have given you some very good advice . I would like to add if it turns out that your brother is as ill as reported then you should find comfort knowing that San Francisco has excellent hospice care for people who are terminally ill .

If it comes to it your brother will be cared for with just a little bit of planning . I'm wishing you the best .


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