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Author Topic: Need help with troubled friend/roommate  (Read 2130 times)

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Offline Jerry36

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Need help with troubled friend/roommate
« on: November 29, 2013, 04:46:16 pm »
Hi, I have a roommate who might be HIV positive, and I am concerned by his behavior. He is very clearly troubled. He was raised Mormon and did not come out until he was 30, and his family shunned him for over a year (they get along now though). He is on antidepressants, benzos, and sleeping pills. I won't go into his recreational drug use, but it is very clear to me (someone who has dealt with discrimination, depression, and anxiety) that he is trying to escape his problems rather than deal with them.

He is clean in the kitchen, but the bathroom is what scares me. I know he has herpes (I saw the cold sore and the Valtrex) and I have seen him wipe his mouth on the hand towel (he also frequently offers to let other people try his drinks, even when he has had symptoms just a few days prior). He also asked me about the prevalence of HIV in San Francisco (where I'm from) in a rather unsettling way. He stared at his feet the entire time and changed the subject as soon as I was done speaking (I did a very thorough report on HIV in SF in an Anthropology class in college so I was not uneducated about the topic).

The other night I came home to find blood on the bathroom floor and on the handle of the bathroom sink. He did not clean it up. I asked him the next day if he could clean it up, and he got very defensive. I explained that I always treat blood as a potential biohazard, and he completely blew up. He then wiped it off the handle with water and moisturizing hand soap. I know that most viruses die very quickly outside the body, but to me it's just unacceptable to willingly expose people to your own bodily fluids without their consent. His response was as though I was discriminating against him, and he said that the soap scum in the shower is a bigger deal than the blood on the faucet handle.

He said he gets tested, but didn't say if he had been tested since his last partner (who was HIV positive). He did say that it is "very unlikely" that he has it. His jaw dropped when I told him that I get regularly tested as well, though, and didn't know how to respond (this seemed very strange to me). I can live with someone who has a disease, but not if they don't take precautions to contain it.

In the past, I found a handprint of jock itch cream on the door handle of the bathroom and a brown finger print on the flush handle of the toilet. This only happened twice, and honestly I let it go because I was too scared of offending my roommate who is very clearly emotionally disturbed.

My roommate is not a bad guy, and if it weren't for the sanitation in the bathroom I wouldn't have a problem, but right now I just don't know what to do. I almost feel like he's compensating for his own fears of having something by 'proving' to himself he doesn't have anything by acting like he doesn't have anything, if that makes sense, and the fact that he has been hit so hard with discrimination makes it just that much worse.

He told me that I was making him feel like "a walking bag of diseases." He shouted and said that I "obviously don't know anything about how viruses are transmitted." I was made very uncomfortable by how angry he got, and he still did not disinfect the handle of the bathroom sink. If anyone here can give me some advice, I would greatly appreciate it. It could take a long time to find a new roommate with how busy I am, and honestly I'm wondering what I should do about how careless he is.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Need help with troubled friend/roommate
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2013, 04:55:46 pm »
Well, your options are either confront him about his bathroom habits and risk losingf him as a roommate. Of course, there is NO HIV risk in anything you mentioned, but other bugs are far hardier. I think it's your roommate who doesn't know how many viruses are transmitted.

How about printing up a fact sheet on herpes, Hepatitis, and other pathogens you can get from shared bathrooms and putting them on the cofee table? Maybe writing him a letter?

 That might sound passive-aggressive, but if you are so afraid of his anger that you can't confront him about his bathroom habits, then you already are living in an unacceptable situation. I'd start looking for a new roommate/place, because this guy does not seem as though he is in a place in his life where he needs to be sharing a bathroom (or drinks) with other people.

This is not, however, an HIV situation at all.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Jeff G

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Re: Need help with troubled friend/roommate
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2013, 08:11:29 pm »
I have moved your thread into the Am I infected forum . I agree with JK .

Please read the welcome thread at the top of this forum so you can familiarize yourself with the posting guidelines , best of luck .
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