Part 1: Case Study
Read the following case study about Gayle and Patrick. You may also click on Audio: Thinking It Over if you prefer to listen to the case study. After reviewing the case study, answer the questions on below.
Gayle and Patrick have been in a monogamous marriage for 7 years. During a medical checkup, Gayle finds that she is HIV positive. Because she has not been sexually active outside her marriage and has never injected drugs, received a blood transfusion, or been hospitalized, she is quite certain that Patrick must have infected her. When she calls the local health clinic to discover if Patrick has been tested for HIV, they tell her that this information is confidential. She does not want to confront Patrick for fear that he may not be infected and she will have to explain her own infection.
Audio: Thinking It Over
This is a difficult situation for Gayle to find herself in. She has to deal with two very large issues— she's infected with a life-threatening virus and she's living with doubt and fear about her partner. Since she’s quite certain he transmitted the virus to her, he most likely is infected. How did he become infected? In what behavior did he participate that put him at risk, and eventually put her at risk as well? Why didn't he tell her about it? Why didn't he have himself tested to make sure he was HIV-free? Most people in such cases would be angry with their partners. But Gayle is holding out that there's a possibility that Patrick isn't infected. Now she has to deal with the issue of disclosing this news to Patrick and confronting him with the questions. This is not something she needs to be dealing with right now. What could Patrick and Gayle have done to ensure each other's safety? What would have been the responsible thing to do?
1. What do you think Gayle should do? It is very unfortunate for Gayle to be put in this situation; I personally feel she should sit down with Patrick and confront him about if he even realizes he has a disease and that he spread it to her. If he knows about the disease I believe she should seriously question him on why he didn’t let her know about it and get it treated. This situation unfortunately sucks for both of them because not only does Patrick have to deal with having an HIV disease, but he also has to deal with spreading it to his wife who didn’t even know about the situation. I personally feel after the two of them talk it out they need to both figure out how to cure the disease and help each other through the hard times that are coming.
2. What might you do in a similar situation?
If I were ever in a situation that Gayle is in I would of course be very upset to begin with, but I would want to sit down with my wife and hear her side of number one if she even realized she had such a horrible disease like an HIV disease. If she didn’t realize she had one I would ask her and talk to her about why didn’t and hasn’t she gotten checked before, and if she did know about her having the disease I would certainly ask her why she didn’t feel it was important to share that with me, especially saying that she is my wife and we are supposed to be comfortable with each other to share anything and everything. I would then go back to the doctor and find out if there is anything I can do or take to help the chances of getting rid of this disease and move forward from there and hopefully have the support of my wife to help guide and be there for me through this as I would and am going to do for her. HIV is not a small disease; it is a very serious disease that takes a lot of great lives.
3. What laws does your state have regarding partner notification for HIV, AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections?
From the information I have gathered it doesn’t seem that California has any laws regarding to notifying your partner of any