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Confessions: Will he turn the blame on me if I tell him I am HIV-positive?

 I haven't had the courage to tell my husband I am HIV positive (Photo: Shutterstock)

I have a 4-year-old son and I am five months pregnant. About one month ago on my regular clinical visits, my lab results came back showing I was HIV positive. The doctor talked to me at length and encouraged me to tell my husband. Up until today, I have not had the courage to do so. I have never been unfaithful to him and we tested negative several years ago. I am depressed and worried about who is going to take care of my children should anything happen to us. The biggest problem remains telling him about this. Knowing him, he will claim that I am the one who infected him especially because I travel a lot for work and he does not like this. He has even influenced his family to talk me into resigning because of his insecurities. Please help me deal with this. I know he will put all the blame on me and probably kick me out.


What the readers say:

It sounds like you are going through a very difficult time at the moment. To start with the health of you and your baby must come first.  The decision about when and how to tell your partner is a difficult one and one that only you can make. Disclosing your status is never easy but it is your decision. If telling him now will cause you additional stress which would affect the pregnancy, then telling him may not be a very good option.

{Fred Jausenge}

The biggest challenge here is that he had shown displeasure. He has for so long tried to stop ‘his fears’ by pushing the resignation. Anyway, just as he employed several characters to soften your stance and you never did, it is too going to force you to engage his close associates to convince him that you never cheated on him and he won’t buy the idea whatsoever.

The same doctor who sent you to disclose this to him can advise you on the best way out.

A quick reminder is that you need to do this with speed. Before viral load runs to serious levels, your man should equally know his HIV status. This will guide him into either living positively or putting into practice serious preventative steps in case of discordant couple.

{Ouma Ragumo – Sifuyo}

You need to stop worrying about dying tomorrow because testing positive does not condemn you or give you a certificate to die soon. To live positive, acceptance of your status, proper diet, adherence to anti-retroviral drugs and practice safe sex and you will live long. For the test of your partner speak to HIV counsellors to talk softly to your to your husband to take HIV testing. Remember we also have many discordant couples so first take time to know if he is positive. If he refuses that you go for a test then he may be to blame for this. Seek doctor’s advice so you can protect your child and live positively.

{Onyango Outha}

It will be better if he finds out from you so that he can run all the accusations he wants and you could defend them. Your conscience will be clear, moving forward, and you will have time to plan your life now that you have accepted your status. If you wait for him to learn on his own, he will have all the room to accuse you and justify it – that your guilt made you remain silent. By the way sex is just the main way, but the only, to HIV, even if you were to be the cause.

{Tasma Saka}



Boke says:

Dear Leah,

Let’s put aside the job issue because it may not be very urgent now.

Though both of you tested negative a few years ago, so much could have happened that could change the status of any of you. There are only two sources to this, you or him. If both of you can be honest on this matter, you can get to the root of it and tell how this condition came to be. If you are certain about yourself then it is him. There is also a possibility that yours could be a case of discordance or rather you could be a discordant couple. However, this discovery is not more important compared to how both of you will handle this matter and forge forward as a family.

Testing positive for HIV has long ceased to be a death sentence. Initially, emotions are going to run high and wild when you reveal this to him. After all the reactions, you will need to talk to a medical practitioner to give you the relevant information and guidance on how to manage the condition.

Whatever direction your relationship will take after this, I encourage you to be strong for your children and for yourself. If your husband decides to blame and desert you for this, yet you are innocent, I pray that you will recollect yourself and not dwell on self-pity.

This is the time when your support system will be needed most. I hope you have close reliable family or friends who can stand by you during this trying moment. If you do not have such, take joy in raising your children and seeing them succeed.

Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology

Simon says:

Leah, the strongest defence you can ever have is your conscience. If your conscience is clear, there is no need to worry about the repercussions. Most certainly it is impossible to know who infected the other and nonetheless that may be a futile undertaking now because it will not change anything. This ought to be discussed at the earliest opportunity and of course he will deny any extra-marital issues but if it is clear in your conscience then you should at least say that. The focus should however be on moving forward rather than on allocating blame.

He ought to get tested as well and the doctors will advise you accordingly based on the outcome of the results. There is no other approach to this regardless of the possible outcomes. It would be stupid and self-defeatist for him to blame you and your job on all this. The bottom line is that you may both be HIV positive. As a matter of fact, things may take a totally different turn from what you expect. He may become very supportive and even take a lead in managing the situation.

About being HIV positive, there is really also no need to worry much about this. In the present day, HIV is no longer a death sentence. With the approach of living positively and prudently following doctors’ advice, people are living long, healthy and fruitful lives. This is if you do not fall into the quick death trap where people who are diagnosed to be HIV positive vow to spread it on revenge. If you get into the process of spreading the virus you will not live to see the next general election after this one.

If you focus on your wellness and health (which will include having protected sex with your husband) you can actually end up living a normal life. Just last week, I was talking with a lady who has lived positively for 16 years and I actually got to see the primary difference between the people who live for long and those that die almost immediately – it is all about your choices and attitude. Lastly, who said you are going to die? You have a long fulfilling life ahead of you so stop planning your death and focus on living positively.

Simon is a relationships counsellor

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