DEAR ABBY: My friend "Camilla" recently learned that she is HIV positive. She became aware of it through a blood test, as she is pregnant. The baby's father has been tested and he was negative. Her future health is of no concern because the situation is under control. Camilla hasn't been unfaithful, and it is clear she has been HIV positive for some time.
My issue is, she refuses to contact her previous lover about her condition, even though she likely got it from him. Her ex may have no idea that he is positive and may not find out until it is too late.
Abby, I understand her concern and embarrassment, but I think her ex deserves to know. Should I contact him anonymously? I know his name and could find his contact information. I feel strongly that he should know, so he can be tested and go on medication. I would, of course, be doing this behind my friend's back. -- CONFLICTED IN THE USA
DEAR CONFLICTED: I took your question to Ged Kenslea, director of communications for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and this is his response:
"At the time of her diagnosis, Camilla should have been urged to contact her previous partners. It's standard procedure, and not something that a health care worker would just 'skip' doing. As well-meaning as the writer is to want to inform Camilla's previous lover about her condition, it's not appropriate on an individual level to interfere in this situation. There are confidentiality as well as safety issues involved that could bring hurt feelings, harm and possible legal liability to those involved in the disclosure.
"A better option might be to contact the county health department where the individual resides to see if it has the capacity to contact the individual, let that person know there may be a health issue he or she could be facing and urge him/her to get tested and linked to care, if necessary -- all without disclosing who contacted the county with that information."Read more in: Health & Safety | Friends & Neighbors | Etiquette & Ethics
DEAR ABBY: My daughters resent my second wife. My first wife died two years ago. When I remarried, it caused some friction with my daughters because they want my house when I die. In my will, should I give the house to my daughters with the stipulation that my present wife can live there for the rest of her life? -- UNDECIDED ESTATE PLANNING
DEAR UNDECIDED: If you want to assure your new wife that she'll have a roof over her head, talk to an attorney who specializes in wills and trusts and put your wishes in writing. Be sure it's official, "just in case" your daughters decide they want the house a little early.Read more in: Family & Parenting | Money | Death
DEAR ABBY: I have worked as an armed guard for the last two years. Since the beginning, whenever people find out what I do for a living, one of their first comments is, "Wouldn't it be funny if you got robbed?"
I know these people are being facetious, but it bothers me. I don't think they would find it funny if I were to joke about shooting them. Is there a polite way to discourage this, or should I just grin, bear it and chuckle? -- DON'T SHOOT
DEAR DON'T: You can choose to laugh it off, or you might keep a straight face and say, "It wouldn't be so funny if I or someone else got hurt."Read more in: Work & School | Etiquette & Ethics
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