What's the right response when a friend tells you they have HIV?

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    Jun 09, 2009 3:41 PM GMT
    So a friend who I just met fairly recently confided in me that he has HIV. We've never dated and I have a bf so there's no romantic interest between us at all. I was a little caught off guard when he told me, but just told him that it's nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it any reason to give up on finding the right guy, which is how I truly feel.

    I'm just curious how others have responded in a similar situation. I hope I didn't say anything wrong and I hope that what I said was supportive and not misinterpreted or misunderstood. icon_confused.gif
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    Jun 09, 2009 3:54 PM GMT
    Give him your love & support. When a guy I liked online told me he was poz, it didn't phase me at all. We eventually became partners, despite my being neg myself.

    I have lots of gay friends who are poz, and I'm always forgetting who's poz and who's not. My partner keeps reminding me, and I keep forgetting. It's not a matter of much importance to me, like who's right-handed versus who's left-handed.

    I suppose it should matter, and I shouldn't be so cavalier about it, because I guess sometimes their poz status can result in related issues about which I should be sensitive. Plus it can mean a great deal to them, but then I never make stupid jokes and awkward remarks about HIV anyway.

    HIV isn't necessarily a death sentence. And perhaps in a few years we'll have the cure. Don't treat him as walking dead; treat him like anyone else except be sensitive to the fact that physical exertion may at times tax him too much. Be understanding but subtle.
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    Jun 09, 2009 3:56 PM GMT
    I think just accepting it. For me when friends have disclosed I ask about meds or how they feel about it. I treat it as if they are telling my they have a chronic health issue which it is. IT does not change how I behave w/ them or interact with them.

    I think be supportive and being there is the most important thing.
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    Jun 09, 2009 4:52 PM GMT
    I dunno - I've never had a friend tell me this. I'm sure my reaction would be like yours for the most part.
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    Jun 09, 2009 4:56 PM GMT
    I would start with a long hug
  • Hagan_F

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    Jun 09, 2009 5:16 PM GMT
    In the same way you would respond if he told you he has any chronic illness. Unsure why HIV would be any different of a response.
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    Jun 09, 2009 5:17 PM GMT

    I'd hope I wouldn't start breathing heavy, bury my face in my hands, and start grilling him about how could he let this happen and what was he thinking. What about me, what am I supposed to do now? .....I think as long as you didn't do that, you're fine. You can further honor him by letting his story inspire you to stay HIV neg.



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    Jun 09, 2009 5:19 PM GMT
    Hagan_F saidIn the same way you would respond if he told you he has any chronic illness. Unsure why HIV would be any different of a response.


    because the contracting of aids still has a moral value judgement attach to it
  • rvdredrocks

    Posts: 31

    Jun 09, 2009 5:21 PM GMT
    sfinboston saidI think just accepting it. For me when friends have disclosed I ask about meds or how they feel about it. I treat it as if they are telling my they have a chronic health issue which it is. IT does not change how I behave w/ them or interact with them.

    I think be supportive and being there is the most important thing.


    I totally agree, this is exactly how I respond.
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    Jun 09, 2009 6:58 PM GMT
    I think your original response was perfect, because it was you representing yourself in thought, word, and action. I dig the idea of questioning others regarding these same areas as we all second-guess ourselves, but when it comes down to it, what you feel is right (to you and for you) is what will work. It's all about being yourself and finding comfort in the choices you make. Information is a good thing, but only if it resonates with who you are as a person. icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 09, 2009 6:59 PM GMT
    I would treat them the same way I have always treated them. If you are a true friend, their status shouldn't bother you
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    Jun 09, 2009 7:03 PM GMT
    You did fine.
    Sometimes "how long have you known" might be okay too.

    Thanks for not saying "I'm sorry" ; that really annoys me.
    Unless you accidentally stepped on my foot, then you may say "I'm sorry"
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    Jun 09, 2009 7:06 PM GMT
    sounds like you handled yourself very well. icon_smile.gif
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    Jun 09, 2009 7:22 PM GMT
    Give the guy some love and understanding. And a big hug.
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    Jun 09, 2009 7:24 PM GMT
    You should handle it like you would if someone told you they had any other illness. Compassion and understanding.
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    Jun 09, 2009 7:30 PM GMT
    You did fine...it's not a death sentence...and just look at so many great athletes and successful people with HIV -
    Greg Louganis comes to mind...and I am sure there are plenty who don't divulge their status due to society's prejudice.

    Just please do him a favor...don't mull over it. But don't avoid asking him any questions you might have. If you just make it a "matter of fact" aspect of his life. He will appreciate your "curiosity" and "concern."

    Good luck!
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    Jun 09, 2009 8:31 PM GMT
    You did OK.

    Best response: thanks for telling me. OK, so what do you want to do this afternoon?
  • GQjock

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    Jun 09, 2009 8:43 PM GMT
    As long as you showed that you are going to continue to give him your love and support you did fine
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    Jun 09, 2009 9:00 PM GMT
    You did just fine. After while you might forget he even has it. Most of my friends have pretty much forgotten I'm poz. They only bring it up when they run into a situation like yours where they want a little reassurance that they did or said the right thing when someone told them.

    You can't go wrong just listening to him. Don't bother expressing disappointment or anger at him for getting himself into that situation. He is probably already beating himself up over it by several orders of magnitude above and beyond anything you could dish out. Just be a friend and treat him the same way now as you treated him before he told you.

    -robby
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Jun 09, 2009 9:10 PM GMT
    I would ask him how he is doing and if he is getting enough input regarding his health and visit with him to the degree that he felt comfortable in the discussion.

    It would make absolutely no difference whatsoever regarding our friendship and I wouldn't repeat it to anyone, not even my bf. Its nobody's business.
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    Jun 09, 2009 9:40 PM GMT
    scftnsguy saidSo a friend who I just met fairly recently confided in me that he has HIV. We've never dated and I have a bf so there's no romantic interest between us at all. I was a little caught off guard when he told me, but just told him that it's nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it any reason to give up on finding the right guy, which is how I truly feel.

    I'm just curious how others have responded in a similar situation. I hope I didn't say anything wrong and I hope that what I said was supportive and not misinterpreted or misunderstood. icon_confused.gif


    I think you did exactly the right thing, with a couple of additions. You should ask him to engage in active leadership and to use his experience as an example of bad behavior and how to educate others. He should use the experience as a positive one and work to make sure others don't do what he did. HIV is nearly 100% preventable, and it's important that's he's responsible to lead others in a positive way.

    In 2009, it's very easy to keep from getting sick with HIV. Yes, things happen, but, by and large, just like being a fat ass, it's preventable.

    Your friend needs to become a better person now, and use himself as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO.

    Folks need not be sick with HIV if they're responsible. Folks need not be obese. Both conditions kill, but the former is communicable while the latter isn't.

    Hopefully, he'll mature, and since he's now sick, use his place in life to become a leader; giving back; rather than taking.
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    Jun 09, 2009 9:48 PM GMT
    chuckystud said
    scftnsguy saidSo a friend who I just met fairly recently confided in me that he has HIV. We've never dated and I have a bf so there's no romantic interest between us at all. I was a little caught off guard when he told me, but just told him that it's nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it any reason to give up on finding the right guy, which is how I truly feel.

    I'm just curious how others have responded in a similar situation. I hope I didn't say anything wrong and I hope that what I said was supportive and not misinterpreted or misunderstood. icon_confused.gif


    I think you did exactly the right thing, with a couple of additions. You should ask him to engage in active leadership and to use his experience as an example of bad behavior and how to educate others. He should use the experience as a positive one and work to make sure others don't do what he did. HIV is nearly 100% preventable, and it's important that's he's responsible to lead others in a positive way.

    In 2009, it's very easy to keep from getting sick with HIV. Yes, things happen, but, by and large, just like being a fat ass, it's preventable.

    Your friend needs to become a better person now, and use himself as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO.

    Folks need not be sick with HIV if they're responsible. Folks need not be obese. Both conditions kill, but the former is communicable while the latter isn't.

    Hopefully, he'll mature, and since he's now sick,
    use his place in life to become a leader; giving back; rather than taking.


    YOU A WHOLE BOWL FULL OF SHIT!!!!

  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Jun 09, 2009 11:23 PM GMT
    OMG I love "The War". Awesome movie!

    Anyway...

    This is how most of us with HIV expect people to act when we divulge our little secret.
    ohmygod.gif
    If you read between the lines, you'll find that that's basically how Chucky reacted.
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    Jun 09, 2009 11:28 PM GMT
    Well if you're any kind of friend you offer your support listen to them.. don't try to offer advice unless asked for.. and just be there for them. Their really isn't much else you can do.

    And most importantly don't treat him any differently then you normally would.
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    Jun 09, 2009 11:31 PM GMT
    chuckystud saidYour friend needs to become a better person now, and use himself as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO.

    Hopefully, he'll mature, and since he's now sick, use his place in life to become a leader; giving back; rather than taking.


    I don't know if you're just being provocative, but these comments are counter-productive and how you even think these are 'supportive comments' for a friend, who has made the effort to share something deeply personal, is beyond a joke.

    chuckystud saidHIV is nearly 100% preventable...


    ...but, alas, judgment & negativity by some people is not ("bad behavior", "sick with HIV", "Hopefully, he'll mature").

    Thumbs down, chucky-non-stud.