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This is eating me up but how do I tell my wife?

 Photo; Courtesy

I am married with two children. In August 2013, I got involved with a lady who revealed that she was HIV positive even before we got intimate. We went for a test that confirmed that she was indeed positive and I was negative. Despite the results, I have maintained the relationship up until now including having sex but with protection. Unfortunately, I got exposed by accident a few days ago and sought medical advice where I was encouraged to start PEP treatment to avoid getting infected. I am away on official matters and will be back home in a few days. The doctor advised that I either abstain or use a condom every time I have sexual intercourse to avoid infecting my wife. I don’t know how to even suggest this to her since I know she is eagerly waiting for me and we have never had protected sex. Please advise me. I really care about her and don’t want to infect her with the virus. {Maxwell G}


Your Take:

My friend who is a nurse also got exposed to HIV by accidentally piercing herself with a needle from a HIV positive patient. She was put on treatment for about a month and now she is it still HIV negative. However, the medicine made her sick because of numerous side effects but she is alright now. Take heart, all will be well.

{Caroline Mbugua}

Maxwell you got exposed but this is not the end of the world. You can try and salvage things by telling your wife about this so she can at least live longer and take care of your family. In everything you do, follow the doctor’s advice and pray so that God may lead you well every step of your life.

{Joshua Obino}

Maxwell, life must go on and it is, therefore, upon you to either go on with the drug and save your family, or expose your family to the virus. Exposure to HIV is not only through sex but could also be through accidental contact with contaminated blood.

There are several ways of coining this exposure so long as you don’t mention the issue of sexual exposure as this may bring total disharmony and unnecessary quarrels, which might never end soon.

 It is also a lesson for you not to be careless again in future. Whenever you are around your girlfriend, always have a condom. I wish you a happy marriage and live life thereafter.

{Ouma Ragumo – Sifuyo}

It is possible to have unprotected sex without necessarily infecting your partner but it is a risky gamble. If you love her and care for your family, be honest with her.

 You can prepare her for the bad news before you reach home and when you tell her, give her time to come to terms with it and you will both move on.

{Tasma Charles}


Counselor’s Take:

Maxwell, you have a true friend in the other lady and rest assured that you did the right thing by seeking medical advice and treatment. Not many people would disclose their HIV status to potential lovers (especially if the status is positive). The fact that you have maintained the relationship up until now is a great act towards reducing stigma and discrimination against People Living With HIV and Aids (PLWHA).

In the early 90s, a peculiar trend emerged where PLWHA were stigmatized and ridiculed by society including immediate family members. The open and widespread stigma and discrimination fuelled a rise in incidences where PLWHA moved to infect as many people as possible in retaliation, which caused a sharp increase in new infections as well as prevalence rates.

In later years, we have embraced PLWHA and the trend is towards reducing stigma and discrimination as well as new infections. Your decision to carry on with the relationship is a great act although we cannot look away from the fact that it puts you “at risk”.

However, now that you sought advice and you were put on post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) it is highly likely that you will contain the situation. Indeed, PEP is a second chance for people who get exposed to infection. It is common among victims of sexual offences such as rape but is also used by discordant couples who want to have children as well as those who get accidentally exposed.

However, it can only be applied on several occasions. If administered well (within 72 hours) and medication taken as prescribed for 28 days the success rate has been recorded to be on average 99 per cent.

If by end of 28 days you will have gone back home then there is no other option apart from disclosing this to her. This is because within the 28 days and until you are tested and ascertained to be HIV (-ve) then doctors encourage that a condom is used every time you have sex. It is  easier to disclose this to your wife than to risk infecting her with the virus then spending the rest of your lives dealing with it.

Remember, even if you are successful with PEP and you expose her to infection, she will re-infect you so this is a useless undertaking. Do something good for the family and disclose what happened to your wife. If you get through this phase then things can go back to normal but you will have to make a decision to also stop putting yourself at risk of infection as the effectiveness of PEP reduces if it is administered on a regular basis.

Disclosing this to your wife will probably be the most difficult thing you will ever have to do, but indeed it is much easier than dealing with the irreversible repercussions of living with HIV and Aids. {Taurus}

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