DEAR ABBY: I have just been informed of a very delicate situation, and I am not sure how to handle it. My husband and I separated for a short time in September 1988. While separated, I started seeing another man. It was a very brief encounter, needless to say. Since then, my husband and I are together again -- and I have given birth to a son.
I recently ran into some friends who knew of this other man and also live near him. My friend told me some very disturbing news about this man. He has been diagnosed HIV-positive. Needless to say, I was floored hearing this. I plan to be tested very soon.
The problem is: Should I discuss this with my husband? If I tell him, it could destroy what is left of our marriage, especially if the test is negative. On the other hand, he has a right to know that the risk is there.
I cannot even comprehend the fact of AIDS. The thing that gets to me more than anything is my son. I had him after the fact. Is he infected? I could not live with myself knowing that my lack of self-control could possibly kill both of us. Please help me any way you can. -- DEVASTATED
DEAR DEVASTATED: You must be tested immediately to determine whether you have been infected, and have your questions answered first-hand. Call the government AIDS hotline: 1 (800) 342-AIDS to find the location of a center near you for anonymous testing. If you are positive, then you must discuss this with your husband, and both your husband and your child should be tested.
If you are negative -- it's "our" secret.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 15-year-old high school sophomore and my parents have this rule: I cannot go in cars driven by any of my friends. Abby, they have driver's licenses and are all good drivers, but my folks won't listen. I hope to get my own driver's license when I turn 16. I'm taking Driver's Education in school.
I have been asked on dates by guys my age, but of course I can't go because of this dumb rule my parents are sticking to. Abby, it's very embarrassing to be driven places by my parents.
Why do parents worry so much? It's like they don't ever want their kids to grow up. -- FOREVER A BABY
DEAR FOREVER: Why do parents worry so much? Because it's every parent's nightmare that their teen-ager will be badly hurt -- or killed -- in an automobile accident.
If your friends who drive would meet your parents and impress them with their maturity and sense of responsibility, it may make a big difference in your parents' attitude. It's worth a try.
DEAR ABBY: I do something I think more people would do if they just stopped for a moment and thought about it.
I have a very select list of charities I always give to. But when I send a check, I also include a short note: "Please do not send me a thank-you! Save the postage. My canceled check is my receipt." -- DON C. IN K.C., MO.
DEAR DON: Thanks. I learned something today. Most charities need every penny they can raise.
To get Abby's booklet "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a long, business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054. (Postage is included.)
4900 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64112; (816) 932-6600