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FAQs #10

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Q10. My brother is a retired minister. He is 61 years old and was diagnosed as being HIV positive in 1994. The recent death of his companion of 15 years, coupled with complications in his medical status, seems to have indensified his depression. He has always had a tendency toward depression, but it is much worse now. and, I must admit, he now occasionally alludes to suicide. My brother has received appropriate medical treatment but continues to be resistant to counseling. He is a very private person and very guarded about his situation. I think he needs professional help but don't know where to begin. Help.

A10. Marie Schaffner:
Your question suggests both concern on your part for your brother, as well as the personal sense of helplessness associated with your situation. Observing a loved one struggling with depression coupled with the fear that they may commit suicide is very distressing.

Apparently your brother has taken a firm position regarding his privacy and, though you may not agree with him, it is his position and deserves respect. That should not, however, limit your options regarding your need for consultation and/or communication, direction and support at this time.

A few things come to mind that you may wish to consider. One is to have a conversation with your brother describing your fears and concerns and indicate that you have decided to get some assistance (in addition to that gained via this web page?) for yourself. The other idea is to check out the resources in your area. Colorado has several programs specific to HIV and AIDS with Northern Colorado Aids Project (NCAP) in Fort Collins (484-4497). There is also a Suicide Resource Center (635-9301) as well as an area

Who knows, in addition to obtained support, you may gain insight with benefits to you and your brother. Good luck.

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Laura Carbaugh
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