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Author Topic: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health  (Read 3297 times)

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Offline koala

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Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« on: October 22, 2016, 07:21:58 pm »
I'm a negative female (22) in a relationship with a positive male (27). We started dating a year ago and had a lot of unprotected sex. Having lost my virginity only that year, I was worried about STDs and asked him if he had any. He said he had oral herpes but nothing else, and insisted on not using protection. I moved in with him almost immediately and never thought about anything being wrong.

A few months later while I was cleaning I found a bottle of his medication. I told him what I had found and asked him why he didn't tell me. He told me that it was because he had never told anyone before and he'd be conditioned by his parents not to let anybody know (his parents got HIV through drug use and he was born with it). I felt shaken up and violated because he had lied to me while we had a sexual relationship, but I forgave him and stayed. I told him that I wanted to be there for him and asked if he could be open with me from now on to which he agreed.

Every day since then I have reminded him to take his medicine because he forgets to. It's not in a mean or naggy way. I usually just bring it to him with a drink and snack (and a hug and kiss). The medicine has gotten him from an almost non existent CD4 count (he was diagnosed with AIDS about 5 years ago and nearly died because he wasn't on treatment for a few years) to a level where he can manage everyday tasks and have energy. His CD4 levels are still not optimal but they are steadily rising. He doesn't like to talk about his health with me beyond my reminding him to take his medicine. He avoids doctors appointments and doesn't believe in therapy (he says they never really help him).

Because of his treatment he's undetectable. I've gone against my own rules and had unprotected sex with him almost every time (with the exception of anal where we always use a condom and lubricant). I guess I'm always a little bit worried. Sometimes I try to gently bring it up and it starts a whole thing, which brings me to last night.

He initiated sex and I went happily along with it except for the fact that I was wishing we could try using a condom. Already knowing that he'd say "I lost the mood" I kept it to myself and just had sex. Afterwards I was acting a bit funny and he asked what was wrong. I told him that I want to start using condoms. He told me for the first time that condoms ruin the mood for him not only physically but because it is a reminder of what he has. He said "I'm wondering if it would be easier if we were just celibate". I asked him what that meant and he said he thought about us a year, 5 years, 10 years down the line and if this would constantly still be an issue. To me it sounded like he felt I was ruining a perfectly good day/night by discussing personal health. He said he shuts down whenever I bring that up.

I don't know what to do. I apologized for not listening and not fully appreciating what he does disclose to me (discussing medicine and his status with me), but part of me feels like this is a lost cause. He promised me that he would use protection when I found out and now I'm being shut out whenever I want to use a condom.

I can't claim to understand what he's going through, but I want to be on the same page with him. I have suggested therapy groups for serodiscordant couple (VERY difficult to find, but my therapist tracked one down for me) and he's not interested.

Does anyone have any advice?

Offline Jim Allen

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Re: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 07:48:48 pm »

If I am honest I am split what to say and not sure if I should say anything at all.

In short, he is pressuring you into something, and its a risk you don't want and he is simply not very good at being adherent with this meds. That's what i get from this and to top it off he is unwilling to talk or work on this with you.

Hate to say it but you have to look after yourself and if he is not willing or capable of seeing that then perhaps its time to move on. Other than that I will say use condoms, consider PrEP. In my signature there are links to information on PrEP should you need it.

Wishing you both the best.

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Offline harleymc

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Re: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2016, 06:24:19 pm »
Dear Koala,
Hope you're well.

From where I am it sounds like there are some massive problems.

Your partner has lied to you, put you at high risk of contracting HIV, (by his earlier non-adherence to medication regime and non-use of condoms), and is generally not taking any care or responsibility for you or himself. I couldn't see anything in your post about him being proactive about the changes he needs to make.

You deserve better.

You need a partner who puts you first and is able to take responsibility for his own actions. Don't get trapped into enabling his abuse of you. Make an exit plan and get yourself to a place of physical and emotional safety.

Good luck and hugs.

Offline harleymc

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Re: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2016, 08:39:52 am »
Dear koala,
I didn't mean to imply in any way that your boyfriend is bad, but right at the moment he is making bad decisions, not just for himself but they also impact on you.

It is a really powerful emotion, the thought that we can save someone from themselves. But ultimately we must be responsible for ourselves. We also can't let someone else drag us down to unhealthy places.

You are very young, you have a long life ahead of you. Make it a good life.

Get some support, you're going to be thinking on what sort of changes you can make.

BIG HUGS from Sydney

Offline tyranossaurusrex

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Re: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2016, 05:57:33 pm »
"1, 5, 10 years from now is that still going to be an issue?" - yes. he should realize that taking care of himself and of his health, and protecting his partner, using condoms, taking his medications, yes, all of it will still be an "issue" (or rather, a responsability) in 1, 5, 10 years from now, or probably for the rest of his life. so he should start being responsible about it. please don't put yourself at risk, please don't let him make you believe that you are ruining anything, when it is him who should be responsible about it, and learn how to live with it: meds, condom, it is all part of it. it is his responsability. he puts you at risk so he doesn't have to deal with what he shoud be dealing with, so he doesn't have to take responsability for his own life? and on top of it, he also blames you? if he doesn't want to be responsible about himself and his own health, then please be responsible with yourself and your own health and quit this relationship.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2016, 09:02:08 am »
Hello Koala,

You have already received some thoughtful responses.  I can't predict how things will go in your relationship.  But one thing about which there is no doubt is that you are entitled to protect your own health.  If you haven't already looked seriously into PrEP you should do that now.  That way whether your bf takes his meds or not, you will still be effectively protected against HIV transmission.

Good luck with sorting this out and stay in touch with us.
Andy Velez

Offline mecch

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Re: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2016, 09:07:17 am »
Koala - just my opinion, can't imagine why you put up with this. Life is too short. Well, I'm sure you have your reasons but I am guessing if you spoke to a therapist the message would be exactly the same everyone else here has. Why aren't you protecting yourself?  The way you describe your partner, he is extremely selfish and also self-sabotaging.  What kind of person has HIV from birth - and can't stick to antivirals as an adult.  That bit of your story is so flabbergasting to me I was ready to think YOU made this up. And I have a tendency to want to defend HIV+ people against what HIV- people say.  However, giving you the benefit of the doubt. 

In every relationship in life, it's best to have a baseline of cooperation and respect so I can't figure out what you are doing in this one.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline CaveyUK

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Re: Intro/I can't seem to talk to him about his health
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2016, 10:41:51 am »
To me, the first thing you should do in the setting of unprotected sex and potential non-adherence is get yourself on PrEP.

Aside from that, just work with your bf to encourage adherence as the ultimate goal is for him to remain UD (and you to remain negative).

HIV - Basics
HIV 101
You can read more about Transmission and Risks here:
HIV Transmission and Risks
You can read more about Testing here:
HIV Testing
You can read more about Treatment-as-Prevention (TasP) here:
You can read more about HIV prevention here:
HIV prevention
You can read more about PEP and PrEP here:
PEP and PrEP


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