To one of my dearest friends and godfather of my two young sons,
There has been something on my mind that I wanted to talk to you about. Perhaps I should do it in person, but I know I will not be able to accurately and appropriately convey the information I need to convey so I figured I would convey it in writing in order to get my thoughts down.
First, I am glad that you are feeling better and getting to the point where you can go about your regular schedule. It's good to see you doing well.
I also wanted to let you know that we you and are here for you if you need to talk or hang out or anything.
Now to the two things that are not easy for me to bring up but that have been on my mind. I feel I would be doing our friendship a disservice if I did not bring these things up.
First, I have been thinking about your ex. I know I asked you the other night if you had told him about your recent HIV diagnosis and I couldn't tell whether or not you intended to tell him in the near future. However, I feel that ethically you should. I know the doctors told you when you contracted the virus, but one thing I have learned through my work, my psychology degree, and the need to see many types of doctors (OB/GYN, Primary, Dentist, Oral Surgeon, Pediatrician, Surgeon, Osteopathic doctor, Reproductive Endocrinologist, etc.) is that doctors, tests, and technologies are often incorrect/inaccurate in particular if they are new. Because of this I think it would be wise of you to tell him as soon as possible and encourage him to get tested. With all tests (even old, well-known ones like pregnancy tests) there is always a chance of error and inaccuracy. In fact, I called the CDC and was told that there is no test to determine when you contracted HIV as you have told us. For this reason, I think you should err on the side of caution for his and your sake and have him get tested.
The second thing I wanted to bring up, and this is hard for me, is certain habits that we as a group have that I feel may need to slightly change. I have always prided myself in being a level-headed, educated, and compassionate person when it comes to HIV. When you first told us that you may have the virus I did research on the tests available for detecting the virus, the percentage of chance that the test would come back false, and I refreshed myself on some of the methods of transmitting the virus. One of the things that comes to my mind is sharing drinks, food utensils, or essentially saliva swapping. In general, what I read says you cannot transmit HIV by sharing drinks or utensils. However, those same sources (such as the CDC) go on to say that in theory transmission is possible if one person has some portion of blood in their mouth and the person they share a drink with has an open wound. The language used on these sites also leaves room for the possibility of transmission in this manner but states it is unlikely.
For myself I think the chances are remote and I am not concerned. But I guess because I am a mom now I feel the need to be overly cautious (even if irrationally so) with my two year old son, K. I have to be honest and let you know that the other day when you came over to the house for the inauguration I was disappointed, scared, and upset. I was upset by the fact that you let K drink out of your water glass. I don't know if you noticed but K commonly picks at his upper lip and at times pulls the skin off which causes an open wound from which he bleeds. Also, it is common that we as human beings have some portion of blood in our mouths either from toothbrushing, cheeck biting, eating hard foods, or general canker sore types of things. For this reason, I think it is best not to share drinks with the kids. It may sound strange but for some reason I can think about the rational remote odds of something happening should I share a drink and dismiss it quickly. But I can't do that with the kids as I don't know what I would do if for some reason one of them became the first documented case of transmission through drink sharing no matter how remote the chances were.
I know the chance of contracting HIV in this manner is remote, but I would expect that when it comes to K (and eventually my nine week old son), we would all want to err on the side of caution in this type of situation. Especially because most articles I have read (at least the ones that look as if there was some scientific research involved) make statements saying "transmission is unlikely" but "possible in theory". I would also think that as a person living with the disease you would certainly want compassion, but at the same time you would want to take extra precautions to ensure that you did not do anything that may put someone else in harms way no matter how remote the chance.
I'm not sure how you will take this letter. We still love you, want to hug you and kiss you, and be your family. Because of that I had to share this with you as I didn't want to get bitter and upset for feeling like you were being irresponsible and negligent when it came to K's protection. I didn't want it to be something I worried about that would eventually cause distance between us. So as hard as it is to bring it up I felt I had to.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this.