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    Advice Columns
    Thursday, April 18, 2024

    Father weighs revealing partner’s health status

    DEAR ABBY: I am a gay man who came out late in life. I have three grown, married children and five grandchildren. They are my world, and we are all very close. I've had one partner. My family readily accepted and welcomed him because he made me happy. Unfortunately, it didn't work out.

    I have been seeing another person, and our connection is very strong. We have lots in common. I think I'm falling in love, and I envision a future with him. He is HIV-positive. I am on PrEP, or preexposure prophylaxis, the most effective medication to prevent contracting HIV. We have not been intimate, but I'm aware of all the literature about the extremely low risk of transmission.

    My kids are bright, intelligent and "enlightened." I wonder if I should tell them about my boyfriend being positive. A part of me says that's his truth and he should tell them if he feels compelled. I will not reveal it without his approval. Another part of me says it's not my children's business because it applies only to intimate situations. But I've always been completely upfront with my kids about practically everything.

    So now I'm torn about what to do — tell them (or he tells them) and risk getting a negative reaction, or I keep it a secret, no matter how uncomfortable that is for me. Please advise. DEAR ABBY: I am a gay man who came out late in life. I have three grown, married children and five grandchildren. They are my world, and we are all very close. I've had one partner. My family readily accepted and welcomed him because he made me happy. Unfortunately, it didn't work out.

    I have been seeing another person, and our connection is very strong. We have lots in common. I think I'm falling in love, and I envision a future with him. He is HIV-positive. I am on PrEP, or preexposure prophylaxis, the most effective medication to prevent contracting HIV. We have not been intimate, but I'm aware of all the literature about the extremely low risk of transmission.

    My kids are bright, intelligent and "enlightened." I wonder if I should tell them about my boyfriend being positive. A part of me says that's his truth and he should tell them if he feels compelled. I will not reveal it without his approval. Another part of me says it's not my children's business because it applies only to intimate situations. But I've always been completely upfront with my kids about practically everything.

    So now I'm torn about what to do — tell them (or he tells them) and risk getting a negative reaction, or I keep it a secret, no matter how uncomfortable that is for me. Please advise.

    — HOW HONEST IN THE EAST

    DEAR HOW HONEST: If there were a compelling reason for your adult children to know your friend's HIV status, I would urge you to tell them. However, because none of them are likely to have sex with this person, I see no reason to share that information.

    DEAR ABBY: I have one sister I love. Our parents passed away 12 years ago. We don't have a good relationship, although I try. Recently, we have been texting again.

    Her son is being married in a few months. I have three children. My 26-year-old has been in trouble a lot and caused my sister's family hurt. He's not going to the wedding. My other boys are younger, 18 and 21. They have never been in trouble.

    I have maintained somewhat of a relationship with my nephew. He has only three cousins on his mom's side. There are at least 17 cousins on his dad's side. Many of them have spouses, and they are all invited. My younger sons are not. Because I am deeply hurt, I have decided not to attend. My nephew's excuse for not inviting my sons was that "attendance is tight."

    Am I wrong for not going? I can't help but think my sister and (all but one) of her kids don't want a relationship with my family. Should I let it go or continue pursuing a relationship when it seems obvious the feeling is not reciprocated?

    — DEEPLY HURT IN TEXAS

    DEAR DEEPLY HURT: It's a shame that your two law-abiding sons are being tarred with the same brush as the one who is a black sheep. They do not deserve it. However, I caution you against overreacting by boycotting the wedding. If you attend, it will give you an opportunity to tighten family ties and to talk about how proud you are of your two younger sons, who are on the straight and narrow.

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