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Just found out DH is hiv positive... I am 30 weeks pregnant, a mess and need a holding hand.

(84 Posts)
verybadnews Tue 24-Aug-10 15:34:19

Obviously I have name changed for this thread purpose.

DH is my husband of 4 years. We have one child together and expecting another one. He has been admitted to a hospital for not feeling well and yesterday, we were told, he has HIV. Nobody can tell for how long he has it. Could be many years, could be few months. Obviously I was in shock and completely devastated, and I am now, but thinking that he is coming from an African background (move from highly infected African country 6 years ago) is not that uncommon? Stupid me, I never requested to for him to get tested before falling in love? I knew almost nothing about hiv?

I was immediately tested myself, I came out negative (as I came out negative during routine pregnancy tests before, so never had any worry) but need to be retested for the next 2 months or so. I am scared to death, I am going to be retested every week now because I am pregnant (in case the baby needs protection), I can?t tell to anyone even a close friend, I am terrified.

When I heard the news yesterday I started crying and just walked out of the hospital, and haven?t texted or called since. DH is keeping quite. I know he is devastated too, maybe even more than me. I was trying to think if I can fault him in cheating during our relationship, no there is nothing there. I have trust in him that he has not cheated. Still, I am so scared. What I am going to do? In the best scenario, if I and children come out negative, what I am supposed to do? I feel so sorry for him, he must be so lonely in a hospital, and it is probably a victim of hiv from long time ago, but I honestly don?t know what to do. I need support as pregnant, he needs support as infected, we both silently shocked, probably we don?t need any life-changing decisions now, but I am going insane what will happen to my, childrens and our future?

Sorry this is a sad thread?

MrsMeow Tue 24-Aug-10 16:03:29

Oh what an awful shock for you I have no experience whatsoever in matters like this, but I'm almost certain that there are support groups for families of HIV + people, or newly diagnosed people.

A quick google has thrown up this site:

But I'm sure if you speak to the health professionals dealing with your husband, they will have more info on support groups. Has your older child been tested?

I wish I could be of more help to you. Take care.

nomorebooze Tue 24-Aug-10 16:15:11

VBN HUG]]]]]]]]]]] Hope no one saw it! can you really not tell anyone? Would be good to have some support! x

nomorebooze Tue 24-Aug-10 16:17:22

whoops dont know what i did there!!!!!!

BlingLoving Tue 24-Aug-10 16:18:05

I am so sorry for you - this is very shocking for you, especially as you have children.

you seem certain that DH has not cheated on you which is good but I am sorry, you do need to check this again, if gently. You have been with him a long time so it's unusual that you have not also been infected. It certainly is true that you don't get the virus from one contact necessarily, but over a long period it is more likely that both partners would get it (assuming you're not using protection).

Having said that, this is not the major concern right now. You need to continue to do what you have to in order to protect your unborn child.

Assuming you and the children remain negative, there is absolutely no reason why your husband cannot remain an important part of your family. HIV can be controlled much better these days than in the past with drugs and as long as you are careful, there is no reason why you can't continue to live happily as a family. How much do you know about this disease? As said before, finding a support group for families of HIV sufferers will help - you will get not only emotional support but also practical support about how to live with someone with HIV.

Good luck. Stay strong. You love DH so if you can, go back to the hospital and be with him. He must be terrified too - not just for himself but for what it means for you as a family.

Tippychoocks Tue 24-Aug-10 16:20:33

Oh goodness. Nothing helpful to add but that I am thinking of you and your family.

ArseHolio Tue 24-Aug-10 16:26:01

You poor thing, what a huge shock

HIV can be well controlled nowerdays. If you continute to test negative there is still no reason why you cant continue in your marriage just as you did before.

Ultimatly you need to know how long you husband has been infected though.It seems unlikely that you could have been having unprotected sex with him for 4 years without becoming infected yourself so coud he have become infected recently ?

verybadnews Tue 24-Aug-10 16:29:10

Thank you. I was told by a doctor that hiv can remain dormant for 10 years. She mentioned not a single case of women negative, husband positive after many years of marriage. Of course, I am still hoping to get a lucky escape. Cannot even think of “what if…”
This illness carries a stigma, it has never been in our social circle, as we all decent people. I cannot tell to anyone. I don’t feel like telling anyone, I am ashamed. I feel so … lowered… I do need to go into hospital and support my DH, not depending on what will happen with our marriage in the future. I am so scared. I do need to test my older DC, but with me being negative, there is practically no chance of him being positive.
I am trying to “console” myself by reading all these threads about cheating husbands… as if it will make me feel better…

IndianOcean Tue 24-Aug-10 16:31:00

What sad and shocking news, I'm so sorry.

But as Bling says, HIV treatment is very different these days, and across as I type this the office sits a colleague who has lived healthily (he is the captain of an active international sports team) for many years.

I can't see how your older child would have becoe HIV+ if you tested negative during that pg, and again at the begining of your current pg. Likewise, unless you have had recent unprotected sex, the chances are that your current -ve status will continue to show.

It is really important that your DH is open and honest with his doctors - for now, leave it to them to consult him in private of the latest date infection could have occurred - you have no reason to doubt him, and people do carry on for years with the condition undetected.

Hopefully you will be ut in touch with a support group and counsellor as quickly as possible - I think people with a close knowledge of what you are going through will help you more than friends who may base reactions on misinformation, and harbour fears. There is also the issue of confidentiality towards your DH.

Best wishes to you both.

ShinyAndNew Tue 24-Aug-10 16:31:09

I'm so sorry. This must be an awful shock for you. Did the hospital not give the numbers of any support groups? I'd go back and ask, they will have some.

comtessa Tue 24-Aug-10 16:33:31

Before jumping to any conclusions, please do some research into how long it takes to become infected with HIV. I read a feature in the Observer fairly recently about people who had unknowingly become infected with HIV through blood transfusions. Some of them had been continuing in their relationships for years before they finally discovered they were HIV+ and not all of the partners were infected.

So, please, get all of the information before risking further upsets. Yes he could have had an affair, but not necessarily. Sorry if this seems a harsh post, but I just wanted to combat the "well he must have had an affair" posts.

(Puts on flame-proof tin hat)

BlingLoving Tue 24-Aug-10 16:37:12

"This illness carries a stigma, it has never been in our social circle, as we all decent people." - you're going to have to start by changing your own attitude. I know this is hard but assuming your DH got it when he was young and single and stupid (ie like most of us at some stage in our lives) he has done nothing wrong and the so called stigma should and can be challenged, starting with you.

This is a disease. It affects millions of people around the world. Those people are victims. If your husband is from Africa then his chances of getting it are higher because more people have it. And because unfortunately there are still huge issues around understanding and accepting how to prevent this disease from spreading in Africa.

Just keep repeating to yourself that this disease does not make you or your DH a bad person and take it one step at a time.

BlingLoving Tue 24-Aug-10 16:38:50

Comtessa - absolutely, I think the point a few of us were making was that she should check, but of course take advice from hospital and remain positive as clearly she does trust and love him.

Claire2301 Tue 24-Aug-10 16:39:23

I'm sorry to hear your news. My uncle was diagnosed AA HIV+ 5 years ago. At first it knocked the family but it also brought the family closer. Five years later he is doingwell and partaking in a medical trial at a hospital in London. Take care of yourselves

IndianOcean Tue 24-Aug-10 16:39:24

I know you are hurt and hurting, and this is frighteningly new, but truly you need to clear your mind of thoughts like "it has never been in our social circle, as we all decent people" DECENT PEOPLE GET HIV. It is nothing for you to be ashamed of, no matter what other more ignorant people might think. It is a virus - it does not discriminate between what people are like!

Your position is of course harder because there IS a stigma, and people do continue to have views about the disease, but you willmake it so much harder for yourself and your DH if you yourself believe that it is something to be ashamed of.

Have you been using barrier contraception for much of your marriage?

afaik, HIV needs a very small open wound through which to enter. This can occur in rough or sore or frequent sex, and doesn't need to be an obviously bleeding wound, but can be a minute invisible lesion in the vaginal wall.

sorrento56 Tue 24-Aug-10 16:40:43

BlingLoving is right. Decent people can get HIV/AIDS too. If he has it the only thing he has done wrong is to have sex without a condom. I am sure the majority of the world has done that at some point.

You need to decide what you are going to do and this is what in sickness and in health means in your vows.

I hope you and the children are negative and your husband has a long and healthy life.

BlingLoving Tue 24-Aug-10 16:44:35

IndianOcean - a smallwound of some sort allows the disease to be transmitted much more easily. This is unfortunately one of the reasons that it has spread so quickly in large parts of Africa as many women have open sores in their vaginas for various reasons.

however, as far as I know, it can also be transmitted from straight sex. But is much less likely to lead to infection - hence of course the possibility that he was infected years ago but did not infect OP. An open wound has a higher and quicker chance of infection.

YourCallIsImportant Tue 24-Aug-10 16:44:40

What a terrible shock for you both.

It is important though to recognise that HIV carries much less of a stigma now than it did years ago, and as other posters have said, it is a disease which is controlled with drugs really effectively, and is considered a 'managed condition' rather than a sentence. There's also no reason why you have to broadcast it to anyone right now.

Assuming he's been faithful to you, there's no reason why your marriage can't continue.

A member of my family became HIV+ about 20 years ago and lives a normal day to day life like the rest of us.

You mustn't think it doesn't happen to 'decent people', it does, all the time. It's a bitch but life really does go on. It was never in my social circle until this happened in my family.

This person in my family spends time with my children on a regular basis and I don't think twice about it.

I think you both need support to come to terms with the news, and there are lots of organisations which can help you.

I really hope your DH keeps well, and you are able to stay together and raise your family.

IngridFletcher Tue 24-Aug-10 16:50:30

I am so sorry for you and your DH. What a horrible shock. You are not alone in facing this. Something very simliar happened to a younger friend of my mum. She had a whirlwind romance and married and then her DH became very ill and was diagnosed. They thought he had been HIV+ for many years and he was in a bad way. She was diagnosed as positive. It was an awful shock. He was not from a high risk country.

sorrento56 Tue 24-Aug-10 16:57:39

How is your friend now, IngridFletcher?

TooBlessedToBeStressed Tue 24-Aug-10 17:01:24

VBN,my brother is HIV positive,i know all about it,i am so sorry about your husband however,don't give up yet,what you said about trusting your DH,continue to do so

right now he needs your support,from what i know,it takes years for HIV to finally become aids,and you have been with him for 4,it takes more than that,so i don't think he has been cheating on you,he might have caught it way before meeting you,

there are medicines available and as long as he takes that,eat healthy then he can live for many many years,even if my DB has AIDS my SIL and their twins are all negative,and my DB was diagonised with it a couple of years after having them,so cheer up,all is not lost,you and your baby might be negative,continue to support your hubby,its a pity that where you live they still regard it as a no no,where my brother is right now,its not hidden,my cousin,aunt and brother all have it and the whole family knows about it,,and they are DECENT people by the way!!!keep us posted

IngridFletcher Tue 24-Aug-10 17:13:28

sorrento56 - she was a friend of my mum's and my mum died 6 years ago and we lost touch. She found out early and so I am sure she is still fine. Unfortunately, because her husband was very ill at the time his prognosis was not good.

sorrento56 Tue 24-Aug-10 17:55:33

Oh dear sad.

HowsTheSerenity Tue 24-Aug-10 18:04:26

I have nothing informative to add but I am sorry. I do know that there have been leaps and bounds in regards to antivirals in the past few years so keep that in mind.

grapeandlemon Tue 24-Aug-10 18:11:26

I wish you and your family all the best. Good luck and so sorry you are going through this.

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