My daughter, who is 19, is feeling very ill and has constant headaches and sometimes dizziness. She went to many doctors but none of them seem to be able to help. I accompanied her to a doctor in Kingston. She came out the office crying, saying that the doctor suggested that she take a number of tests, including the HIV test. Weeks later, the test came back positive and her blood count is very low. My daughter told me she is a virgin. I must admit that I know she had a boyfriend, but we have a very open relationship; we discuss sex all the time. One day, I remember she came to me and told me that her boyfriend said they could engage in anal sex to prevent pregnancy and maintain her virginity. I told her I would go along with the young man because he seems to be a bright fellow with good manners. He had also just returned from studying overseas with strong qualifications. Counsellor, I am the only one working and when the young man came along, I warned them about pregnancy because I wanted her to resit her exams for nursing school. The long and short of it is that my daughter's life is destroyed. The man knows that he had AIDS and passed it on to my daughter. To make matters worse, I heard that the young man is mixed up with males in another community. I want to be there for my daughter. Where do I go from here?
Dear Frustrated Mother,
Thanks for your letter. I'm sorry to hear about your daughter's HIV status. This is a time when she needs a lot of support. Let me quickly point out that all is not lost; there is still much hope for your daughter to pursue her nursing degree. Both of you must learn more about HIV - the virus that causes AIDS - that is the first step. A good understanding of what HIV is and how it behaves will help you to live more positively. There has been much hope for persons living with HIV since the introduction of antiretroviral medication because many persons are living longer and healthier. People with HIV go on to pursue their career path and are part of the workforce. They are living productive lives and making contribution to society. I am suggesting that you ask your doctor to refer you to a HIV-knowledgeable counsellor. At the same time, please ensure that your daughter speaks with her doctor about treatment because early treatment is always the best, although not everyone who is infected with HIV will need to start treatment right away.
Is kissing a boy a possible way to get AIDS?
Young and Curious
Dear Young and Curious,
There are no documented cases of HIV infection that are known or suspected to be transmitted by kissing. However, small amounts of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, have been found in the saliva of some infected persons. We recommend that you avoid wet or deep kissing that involves exchange of saliva and which could also cause the presence of blood through the bruising of delicate/soft tissues around the mouth. It is important to note that casual kissing, such as between parents and children, poses no risk for HIV infection.
For more information on condom use, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections call the AIDS/STD Helpline at toll free at 1888-991-4444.