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Author Topic: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?  (Read 2663 times)

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Offline Frasar79

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My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« on: July 12, 2017, 10:25:15 am »
Hi everyone, unfortunately my older and only brother was diagnosed with HIV almost a year ago and since then everything has changed.

It's crazy that I have gone so far to say that it is my brother's fault, please let me explain. When he was at university he increasingly began to have a low self esteem: he never had a girlfriend, could not build strong relationships and things like that to an extent that he refused to attend classes and studied from home, just him and his laptop alone. My parents and I have been trying to involve him in different activities and prompt him to take on summer jobs and similar acrivieties to help him out, but none succeeded. The result was that he began building relationships with unknown people on the web and eventually he ended up in some kind of prostitution thing: he was dating street people and I even found some pictures of him posing in sex positions with just his face blurred on an online website. I immediately told my parents and, besides infinite talks on the issue in the family, we seeked the help of a psychologist. My brother and all of us went to this psychologist for more than a year and then one day he told us that all the problems were solved and he did not feel anymore the need to go and so decided to quit and we all agreed.

At the time we were happy with his decision and eager to looking forward for a happier future, but last year he was diagonosed HIV+. It turned out that he never stopped dating those street people and this is the result. My family is in shock, so do I. Surprisingly I am more shocked with not knowing who I am facing (he keeps telling lies and lies) than with the diagnosis. I cannot understand how can someone who, just like me, had everything from life end up like so: as a family we always reassured him that we wanted him to be fulfilled and loved in life, we did not really care about the sex of the people...but from street people there is almost nothing you can expect from, if not a distortion of love.

Now, what scares me is that he openly admitted being jealous of me and my boyfriend: I haven't come back home since last year, I don't trust him and I know I will have to work on our belationship (not focusing on HIV in particular) but for me it is extremely hard as I still cannot accept that he did not leave us to help him when we were in time...

Do you have  any advice for me to overcome this situation and to build/rebuild a relationship? At the moment I am in a mix of feelings, angry for what he did to the family as a whole, but still he is my brother...
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 10:28:27 am by Frasar79 »

Offline Almost2late

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2017, 10:58:47 am »
What do you mean by "those street people"? Seems to me that you these people as less than human and therefore see your brother in the same way.. I honestly wouldn't want anything  to do with family who thinks of me this way.. Good luck with that.
"Hang on to your hopes my friend..
thats an easy thing to say,
but if your hope should pass away,
simply pretend that you could build them again"...

Offline Frasar79

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2017, 11:13:44 am »
I mean everyone making an income from the street and in particular reffering to sex workers my brother dated. I am not discriminating against them or against someone who goes for it once at a time, I am just finding hard to believe how can it be that my brother failled at differentiating true love with paid-sex (and its dangers - though it can happen to everyone). Am I probably failing at understanding perhaps that my brother really had a true love affair with a prostitute he trusted?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 11:17:04 am by Frasar79 »

Offline mecch

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2017, 11:20:51 am »
Frasar would you mind saying what country or region of the world you are living?

A number of things that you describe don't seem to make sense so much to me, don't seem to be part of North American and European culture that I know.

For example - I've never heard of a whole family doing family therapy for a year because one ADULT son or daughter was having social or academic problems or because of doing sex work - being a prostitute.

Also I can't imagine what you are talking about with "street people" because in the cultures I know, street people are homeless people and they don't hire sex workers, which is what you say your brother became.

Anyway in the cultures I now, most people have realised that HIV is not a moral judgement - it is just a virus that people get because they have unsafe sexual contact with someone who has HIV.  Or share needles. That's it. 

I'm not dumb I know there is a lot of shame with HIV but that's all socially defined and there is NO reason a person or family has to buy into all these stereotypes.  Furthermore, these stereotypes about who gets HIV and why have been something that KILLED millions of people.

At the end of the day, a person with HIV takes the treatment and then has to do battle with the real problems in his or her life - like making a living and what not.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Almost2late

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2017, 11:39:46 am »
As meech pointed out your brother is an adult and imo all you could do is offer some advice. If it was my brother I'd be more concerned  with is he on treatment, is he getting the medical  care he needs and that he's taking precautions to not get any other std's or illnesses. His sexual encounters are really none of my business.
"Hang on to your hopes my friend..
thats an easy thing to say,
but if your hope should pass away,
simply pretend that you could build them again"...

Offline Frasar79

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2017, 11:51:43 am »
Sure Mecch I'm from Italy but perhaps misundesratding is due to my lack of full knowledge of English, sorry.

We've gone through family therapy with a psychologist right after we discovered the "sex-worker" other life of my brother (he then was 25 and a student but still living at home). Obvuously we discussed it at home before but as we were not making progress, we decided not to blame what happened totally on him and started to put into question ourselves as well and so we asked for an expert to help us. Our reasoning was: if we couldn't as a family pass down some values or manage things alone, it was time to seek external help.

I confused street people with another term, I am not referring at homeless people at all. My brother dated sex-workers but he told us that from them he was expecting his love feelings to be reciprocated. So my question is: did he confuse love with paid-sex or did he really have a true love affair with a sex worker which he trusted and we do not know?

However, I don't want to make my brother feel guilty for being hiv at all, what I would like to know and - it is what i do not understand - is what makes someone take on a path for a second time knowing all the risks linked to it (correct if i'm wrong but I believe that having sex with sex workers has somehow a greater risk of contracting the virus, isn't it?). Probably my brother was so in love with a sex-worker that all the rest disappeared in the background?

For Almost2late: my brother now has been in therapy for one year and luckily he is doing well, the virus is almost undetactable. For now, we just want to make sure he does not get into any other trouble, but same for me I don't care which sex he goes with.

Offline Tonny2

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2017, 01:12:46 pm »


       ojo       Hello there...my family is like your, I'm Mexican...my hiv is not just something I have to deal with on my own, it has become a family issue, which I think it's a good thing...as far as what to do for your brother, you already did the psycologist thing, all you can do now is just give him your love, tell him you are with him whatever he decides to do with his life. He is an adult, he will keep taking his own decisions, I hope he had learned his lesson after getting hiv, if you keep nagging to him, he will sill keep doing the same...give me his space and show him how much you and your family care for him...just a thought...congrats for being a good family...hugs                  ojo

Offline JimDublin

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2017, 02:14:28 pm »
Quote
correct if i'm wrong but I believe that having sex with sex workers has somehow a greater risk of contracting the virus, isn't it?

No ... and it does not matter how he got it, he is living with it now and that's it.

See HIV can affect anyone regardless of Class, Wealth, Social standing, Sexual orientation, Race, Ethnicity, Gender or Age. HIV is simply a virus and doesn't care about such matters.

Its not who you do it (or in this case your brother) its what & how you do it that is a risk or not. HIV is transmitted through very limited behaviours and activities so in short what counts is what you do with them and your risk behaviours and activities. 

As for your brother, and to why he engaged in certain risks in life, well nobody knows I mean it varies widely and all you have to go on is his word so not much i could say other than to be frank he's an adult so what he does sexually is his business and not yours.

From a HIV point of view, all you can do is support him in being on treatment, let him know its okay and if he needs to talk you are there for him. There is not much more to do.

Jim
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Offline mecch

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2017, 02:22:11 pm »
Well you asked. SO here goes. I would suggest you go to a therapist and work out and get over your "anger" about what he "did to the family".  As long as you view it that way, and have that sentiment of anger, your relationship isn't going to be very good with your brother.

Don't take it as a criticism of you so much. I realise this is a very common perception. Its just not a helpful one.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2017, 06:30:03 pm »


   When your brother said he was jealous of your relationship did it dawn on you that he might sadly think he could never have the same?  Lack of understanding from family can do that to you.  Unfortunately, what's even sadder is that you seemed to think it was coming from a place of spite.

   He thought enough of you and the rest of the family to be honest, and forthright with what was going on within him.  In my opinion, it speaks volumes on just how caring he really is.

   Don't repay that kind of honesty with the kind of speak you use here.   He doesn't need to hear that, nor does he remotely deserve it.

   Lastly, since you found this forum please... please, point your brother in our direction so he can get the support and advice that he really needs. 
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline harleymc

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #10 on: July 13, 2017, 05:55:08 am »
Well he's your brother, you could try giving unconditional love and stop it with the judgementalism.

Offline InRecovery

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2017, 03:22:47 am »
Sorry about your brother. I am assuming by the term "Street people" you mean people who prostituted themselves for drugs. You are definitely more likely to contact HIV and other STDs from prostitutes. But, we have to keep in mind that when an addict is so sick that he or she sells themselves for sex, they are suffering tremendously. The addiction has gotten severely out of control. At this point, the addict starts to believe he or she cannot stop. That is what drugs do to the brain. It's not as simple as just stopping the drug use. Also, at that point, the person may not have insurance or money to get into detox, or the addict may be waiting on a spot that doesn't open for two more weeks. Also, many prostitutes come from such a dysfunctional home environment. Fifty percent are forced into the trade. The other fifty percent have a choice. The main problem is that society treats them like throw aways. We need to help those people get into treatment and help them realize that their lives matter, and that they are not worthless.

Yes, it was my fault when I got HIV from sharing drug needles. I didn't prostitute myself, but if I had not gotten into detox when I did, I probably would have crossed that line. My parents berated me with comments like, "How can someone with a degree be stupid enough to share drug needles? Didn't you see the many posters at school? Don't you read the newspaper?" Of course I knew there was risk, but when I was sharing needles only with close friends I had known since early childhood, I didn't think they could possibly be positive. Comments like that from my parents were understandable, but not helpful. The damage was already done. At that point, I just needed their love and forgiveness.

Just explain to your brother that you said those things when you were in a state of shock. We all say the wrong things when we're overly emotional. Tell your brother you love him and that he has your support, whether it was his fault or not. What's done is done, and now you just want to help him any way possible. Tell him you are sorry for judging him, although I understand your shock in finding out that he was seeing prostitutes. Yes, he was also exploiting their addiction because the money he paid them most certainly went to drugs. In time as your brother sees that you are there for him, the relationship will improve. Just tell him that most people don't go to prostitutes because they are afraid of all the STDs, plus getting arrested, so of course you judged him for his reckless behavior. Tell him you were wrong to judge him, but reacted that way because you were shocked that he would do those things.

Offline greatwich

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2018, 08:16:01 am »
Just treat your brother as if you would treat any other human being. Never blame him. Offer him as much support as a sister can give and make him feel he is not alone in this battle.

Offline terrymoore

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2018, 11:36:37 pm »
HI,
Sorry about your brother`s Dx. Luckily today there are great meds and if he gets treated quickly he will have a normal life - he just has a chronic medical condition.
The fact that you wrote in this forum, means that you care about your brother. That is great! So, you should treat him like he has any other chronic condition - like diabetes for example. You should also learn as much about the disease as possible. The more you know,  the less wrong assumptions you make, and the more familiar and comfortable you will become. More importantly, the more you learn, the faster you can make HIM feel comfortable. Let`s remember, it is HE who has been diagnosed - not you. It is HE who needs your support. So be a good brother and support him. How he got it does not really matter. What does matter is if he is self-destructive or endangering himself - that is a different issue and not HIV related. Regarding the HIV, make sure he takes his meds, help him cope with this new reality, learn, educate your parents, and move forward. Good luck!
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 11:39:18 pm by terrymoore »

Offline Tag88tag

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Re: My brother is HIV, how am I supposed to react?
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2018, 11:57:47 am »
Hi everyone, unfortunately my older and only brother was diagnosed with HIV almost a year ago and since then everything has changed.

It's crazy that I have gone so far to say that it is my brother's fault, please let me explain. When he was at university he increasingly began to have a low self esteem: he never had a girlfriend, could not build strong relationships and things like that to an extent that he refused to attend church lasses and studied from home, just him and his laptop alone. My parents and I have been trying to involve him in different activities and prompt him to take on summer jobs and similar acrivieties to help him out, but none succeeded. The result was that he began building relationships with unknown people on the web and eventually he ended up in some kind of prostitution thing: he was dating street people and I even found some pictures of him posing in sex positions with just his face blurred on an online website. I immediately told my parents and, besides infinite talks on the issue in the family, we seeked the help of a psychologist. My brother and all of us went to this psychologist for more than a year and then one day he told us that all the problems were solved and he did not feel anymore the need to go and so decided to quit and we all agreed.

At the time we were happy with his decision and eager to looking forward for a happier future, but last year he was diagonosed HIV+. It turned out that he never stopped dating those street people and this is the result. My family is in shock, so do I. Surprisingly I am more shocked with not knowing who I am facing (he keeps telling lies and lies) than with the diagnosis. I cannot understand how can someone who, just like me, had everything from life end up like so: as a family we always reassured him that we wanted him to be fulfilled and loved in life, we did not really care about the sex of the people...but from street people there is almost nothing you can expect from, if not a distortion of love.

Now, what scares me is that he openly admitted being jealous of me and my boyfriend: I haven't come back home since last year, I don't trust him and I know I will have to work on our belationship (not focusing on HIV in particular) but for me it is extremely hard as I still cannot accept that he did not leave us to help him when we were in time...

Do you have  any advice for me to overcome this situation and to build/rebuild a relationship? At the moment I am in a mix of feelings, angry for what he did to the family as a whole, but still he is my brother...

Hello friend,
I’m so sorry you and your family are going through this. I’m also very saddened to hear of your brothers outcome.
It would seem that his upbringing experience was different than your own. This is not uncommon. My brother perceived that our upbringing was ok. He was spoiled because of being born 4 months premature so the family made every sacrifice for him. I was beaten, berated chastised threatened and came out with low self esteem and a damaged psyche.
If you are of open mind , perhaps going to a meeting (support group) for families of people with addiction would help? It does sound like your brothers issues of addiction (sex and perhaps love?) , lies, inability to maintain  stability could also hide mental illness ? Talk to his doctor (if you are able to get permission)
Above all else , please try to stop judging your brother . If you cannot be supportive you may be more of the problem and not the solution . Family can only continue to hurt you if you allow them.
Go to a codependent support group . Much of what you mention is ‘about you’ and not about your brother
it’s not up to you to suppprt him . If he is disabled and incompacitated the state would step in .
Your help would be beneficial (not financial) if you are able to stop judging him and his behavior.
You don’t have to understand it to love your brother .
Support him with words of encouragement. Find out about treatment options through your national AIDS/HIV organization. Also you can talk with one of the biggest ‘SF Aids .org they are very helpful.
This is not about how it effects your family , this is about saving your brothers life. Your embarrassment over his behavior is limiting and will serve to speed up any negative outcomes for him .
Please be the better person in this situation.
I have had 2 partners with HIV. Both have had loving supportive parents.
Who was the worst part of their lives you might wonder?
Siblings who judged them made their lives hell.

Be blessed

 


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