Does he have HIV, too?
Q: I have a sexually transmitted disease and I think I may have passed it onto my boyfriend. (For a little background info: he is 6-feet-3-inches and has a great physique. The disease I may have given him is HIV. HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. We’ve been together for seven years and we’re very much in love.)
The sad situation is as follows: my partner and I were having what you’d call routine intercourse. However, in the throes of passion, I forgot to apply protection – but told him I did. Now, I fear I may have passed on this terrible, terrible virus. I’m so afraid to ruin his life as mine is about to go badly, as well. I also don’t want to ruin his great looks and amazing physique (as previously mentioned.)
Jody, what should I do and how can I tell him?
A: I am struck by you referring twice to your partner’s great/amazing physique as something you don’t want to “ruin.” Is your partner a human being who exists with feelings, hopes, desires and a trust in you? Your description of him feels cold and objectifying, but that’s another issue.
Regarding what you should do: Tell him the truth. There is no other answer that is honorable, moral and loving. There’s no easy way to tell him such a thing, so you need to bite the bullet and tell him. I would suggest doing this with a counselor present. You will want to have some support ready for him when he gets the news, along with your need as a couple to work through this new information.
It should’ve been me
Q: My brother came home to die. His disease isn’t important, but it is important that he won’t live long. Now for some background: My brother “Jim” is my older brother and he has always been my parent’s favorite – and he turned out straight, not gay. That made him even more the star of our family. Ever since we were kids, Jim got better grades and was a real jock. He made first string on the football, basketball and baseball teams. My parents have a trophy case just devoted to ribbons and trophies – I don’t have anything in that case. Jim earned a scholarship to college; I went to a junior college to save money and worked my way through the rest of school.
I have starred at nothing other than mediocrity. The fact that I wanted to dress up in my mother’s clothes only made things worse for me. So while my parents bragged on Jim, they hid who I was from the world. I have walked in Jim’s shadow all my life.
Now, Jim is dying and my parents are grief stricken. If I was in the shadow of Jim before, I’m not even making the shadow, now. I’m virtually non-existent. The other day when I was visiting Jim (he was in bed at the time), I went into the living room to talk to my dad. He was really non-communicative. Finally, he looked up at me and said, “Why did it have to be Jim?” Then he just stared at me with an angry look on his face. I said to him that I was sure that it would have been better for him and mom if it had been me, instead, who had gotten ill. My father dropped his head and said nothing that would deny my statement.
I thought it was hard before with Jim’s being healthy and alive, but I can see that it will be just as bad – or maybe worse – with his being sick, or when he dies.
I don’t really have any question, I just wanted to write this down and have someone hear it. Thanks for being there!
Out of the Shadow and into Oblivion
A: I’m sorry for your pain, and it sounds like you’ve had plenty of it in your family. You didn’t mention this, but I’m hoping that you have built a support system of friends outside of your family or with other extended family members who are supportive. If not, I hope you will work to do that. I also think that getting some therapy would be helpful for you. Emotionally, growing up, you have lived through a prolonged trauma. I’m guessing you are dealing with depression – how could you not be? Good luck and let me know how it goes.