I know someone who has HIV and is having unprotected sex. I've talked with the person, and told them they should tell their sexual partner, but they haven't. I'm not sure if I should get involved and tell their partner myself, or just stay out of it. What do you think?
Dear Not Sure: If you saw the unsuspecting sexual partner (let's call the person Dana, since that could be a woman or a man) about to be hit by a car, would you shout a warning? If your child were home sick with the measles, would you tell Dana not to bring his/her baby to your house? Would you allow the infected person to point a gun at Dana, threatening to pull the trigger, and not call 911? Will you feel badly if Dana becomes HIV positive?
Doing the right thing is not always easy. "Dana" may already know this information, or choose not to believe you. The infected person may become angry with you. But at the end of the day, you'll be able to look yourself in the mirror and know you may be saving a life by letting Dana know that he/she is in a risky relationship. Having knowledge of this situation means you are already involved.
One of my friends is being battered by her husband. Should I tell her to leave him?
Dear Friend: Your unconditional friendship is extremely important to this battered woman right now. She probably already knows she needs to leave the batterer. She is either emotionally not ready to do so or not sure if she can make it on her own. Encourage her to call the Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-33HAVEN (1-800-334-2836), just to talk to a crisis call specialist and see what her options might be. All conversations are confidential. And let her know that when she is ready to leave this dangerous situation, you will be there to support her decision.
My mom has cancer (in remission), but sometimes cancels her doctor's appointments because she can't afford the co-pay. What help is available for her? -- Worried about mom
Dear Worried: I was able to locate four nonprofit agencies that provide co-pay assistance for people with specific illnesses. You or your mom can check out their Web sites or call to get additional information. Two of the sites provide only prescription co-pay assistance; however, if your mother qualifies, the money she saves can go toward offsetting her office visit costs.
- Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma: (877) 557-2672 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chronic Disease Fund, (877) 968-7233
I also suggest you speak personally with your mom's doctor and explain her circumstances. He or she may be aware of additional resources or might be willing to waive the co-pay.
You have my prayers for your mom's quick and complete recovery!
My boss is sexually harassing me. Should I turn him in? -- Fed up!
Dear Fed up: Your signature tells me you're probably past due in taking action! While you are not required to confront your boss, your complaint is considered more valid if you have first: 1. Told your boss specifically what you find offensive, and 2. Asked him to stop.
If his behavior continues, and you want to file charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, you must do so within 180 days of the specific act of harassment. Reach the EEOC at (800) 669-4000. If any co-workers have witnessed the harassment, ask them to provide you with their account in writing and have it notarized.
Keep your relationship with your boss strictly professional, even if his behavior changes. He could potentially use any "friendliness" on your part against you in the future.
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