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My Reality Check: Dating with HIV

| 72 Comments

In my individual therapy session this past week I realized that since my last blog entry in June, I haven't spent much time reflecting or dealing with my relatively recent HIV diagnosis. It has been several months since I've been back to my HIV support group, almost three months since I've blogged, and my therapy sessions were mostly spent talking about other issues in my life (stress, school, family, my summer crush), without delving into the proverbial 'elephant' in the room - how HIV effects these aspects of my life. So when my therapist said to me, "you're the same person you always were, but now you are a healthy person living with HIV," I noticed my chest tighten. Her words seemed to come at me hard, giving me that reminder I needed that HIV is a real part of who I am now, and does have a real impact on almost all aspects of my life. I made a decision to go back to support groups, start blogging again, and to stop running from this part of my new reality.  

 

Just a few days after this eye-awakening therapy session, I was again confronted by the reality of HIV - in one of the most difficult aspects of life for those of us living with HIV - dating. I attended a 'bar night' for students at my graduate school, and met a fellow student there for the first time. After a few drinks, and with our inhibitions down, it became clear that we were interested in each other. Long story short, he came home with me, and we spent the night together. When I stopped him from taking things too far sexually, he seemed confused (after all, I brought him back to my apartment, so I'm sure a "slow" approach was not exactly what he was expecting.) But he respected my wishes, and we went to sleep.

 

The next morning he asked me about my seemingly contradictory behavior, checking in to make sure he wasn't pressuring me too much. I told him that no, he was not coming on too strong, it was just that I needed to take things slow (even though a part of me didn't want to) because I had been through a difficult break up and was dealing with a lot of emotional baggage. He told me that he understood, and empathetically accepted my half-truth.

 

I silently debated telling him everything then and there, but decided against it. After all, I didn't really know him, and if he did not react well, I feared that he had the ability to make the next two years of my educational experience socially complicated. (Even if we don't continue to date, this is someone who I will inevitably run into again on other student bar nights, or in the hallways of my school, and someone who I am bound to have friends in common with.) So I decided against disclosure, at least for now.

 

We ended up spending the entire morning together. We talked, laughed, listened to music, cooked breakfast, watched a movie, cuddled in my bed, and had a really great time. Conversation was comfortable and interesting, our music tastes were aligned, and he softly bit my bottom lip when he kissed me - a girl couldn't ask for much more!

 

Before he left he asked for my phone number, and I gave it to him happily. I was on cloud nine. It's been a long time since I felt that good--since I felt that joy that comes from comfortably sinking into another person's arms, and that exciting feeling of wanting to see someone again, believing that real chemistry and potential is there. But my 'high' only lasted so long before I started to feel the stress of the inevitable questions popping into my head; how and when do I disclose? Will he still be interested in me if he knows about my status? Will he be mad that I didn't tell him sooner?

 

Those of you who have read my previous blog entries know that the last (and only) time I told a potential partner about my status, it completely ended our relationship. Although he was kind and supportive, once he knew about my diagnosis, our relationship came to a screeching halt, and I never saw him again.

 

But this felt different. Good, different. So I'm trying to stay optimistic - maybe this guy feels what I'm feeling too, and when he hears my story, he will not run away from fear but will instead give dating a try, even once he knows my whole-truth.

 

So in preparation for seeing him again, I'd really love some advice from you all out there - has anyone else been successful disclosing to a negative partner? And if so, how did you do it? How long did you wait before disclosing? Did you use literature (as some people have suggested to me before), or did you just talk?

 

Thank you in advance to all who read and respond! Your support means more than you know!

72 Comments

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Comments on Anonymous's blog entry "My Reality Check: Dating with HIV"

Let me first say, that you are a hero (on so many levels). I am negative, however, my husband died 12 years ago. I have had a hard time being honest when I meet someone; they always ask how my husband died and when I tell them - they get that deer in the headlights look and then they are gone. However, I am proof that you can have a 100% normal relationship with a postive person, yet still remain negative. My marriage was the healthiest relationship that I have ever had. It was built on honesty and openess. I'm sorry that I don't have any advice on how to share your story, but I hope that my story gives you faith that you can have the same open, honest and real relationship that I had. Susie

I cannot comment on the being positive and disclosing to a negative potential partner, but I can tell you the other way around. I met my boyfriend online, which seemingly made things easier, I guess. At that time, he was still blogging and from reading his blogs I found out he is positive.
To me, it never made a difference. We continued to talk, eventually moved to Skype and used the video chat to spend many, many hours together. After a few months we decided to meet, just to meet, without ever considering a date. We spent the night together, and many more after that. No, our relationship did not stay platonic either but I was educated about HIV/AIDS before we met and talking to him further helped my education. I know where risks are and where they are not. I am very happy in this relationship and wouldn't want it any other way.
I don't know if it helps you in any way but continue to talk to him, talk to him, invite him to get to know your many facets. Mention that you are an avid blogger. This lets him get to know you better without him having to ask or you having to tell. Be open about who you are. You can do it and guess what, if he doesn't like you for who you are, he's a jerk anyway. ;)

I love reading your blog! I'm young like you and I have alot of the same attitudes towards life and our predicament. Don't stop bloggimg, you're awesome!

I have been HIV+ since 1985 and was diagnosed with AIDS in 1992. I was in law school in 92 and was in the hospital alot after my divorce I felt that I needed to tell everyone up front so they could decide right away and I was very active in the HIV community, this did not always turn out well. I married a positive man but it did not work out because I had limited myself to only positive men and accepted someone that I would not hae if I were not positive, please don't every do that to yourself. In 2009 I married a HIV- man who I dated for sometime before I told him I got to know him made sure I could trust him and he did not reject me, the irony is he died of a heartattack last February when I had been preparing him how to deal with my death.
My advice is take it slow, get to know someone if you dont know them well enough to tell them your status you probably shouldn't take them home. This is not a judgment but just advice as the more a person sees YOU and is falling in love with who you are they will be willing to be educated. GOOD LUCK

Hi Anonymous,
I can't answer your question except to say that perseverance is all we have. Never give up on what you want. I have been positive since 1983. Thanks to medication and good (sometimes) living, I am healthy and undetectable. This, however, means nothing to the average person who's only source of news/belief comes from the television. No matter how you broach the subject, the majority of people only know what they are told, and that is that HIV is deadly. I have had only one short relationship since 1983 and that was with an HIV positive woman. Too bad I didn't have her sanity checked first!!! But that is another story. I have had dates with women who are curious or looking for "a friend." But that isn't what most of us are looking for. I found great comfort in the movie "Love and Other Drugs" and still hope to find someone like that one day. Someone who accepts me for who and what I am, warts and all. As hard as it is, we must just live in the moment, not worry about what cannot be changed, and try not to think too much about what hasn't happened yet. Hope is the answer. It has to be.

I hope this helps. I've found out that I was positive in 1986. At first, I stopped dating. It seemed easier but lonely. Let's just say years later, I met a guy when I wasn't expecting to, at a freind's BBQ. He seemed to good to be true, but like you, I wanted to stay opimistic. He was a lot of fun and seemed to be interested in me. In the first week, he called me at least once a day, even through we hadn't gone on a date. With each call, I was getting anxious about telling him about my status. At our first day, ten day after meeting him, I had no plans on telling him. I just wanted to keep it casual, just enjoy his company and not put any demands on him. But I was having such a good time with him and felt so relaxed that I let it slip. I did catch him by surprise. He was very gracious, but I could tell he was unsure of what to say. The evening ended fine, and after a few days, he did call me again and we had a long talk. We date for on a year; however, thing didn't work out. I think my openness was too much for him.

I been poz 20 years and feel you only need to tell as much as people need to know. But if it is someone you might care about, you have to be honest. People are coming around and understanding and accepting it now. Lying and deception is no way to begin a relationship. If you are going to exchange spit with someone, be honest. Any other choice is is not deserving of any relationship based on trust and caring. I think Anonymous is a jerk and makes us all look dirty, and disgusting. It will make us more repellent and add to the fear and prejudice we are trying to eliminate. Anonymous needs to start thinking with his big head instead of the little one for a change and grow up. Totally Offended

HI,I AM POSITIVE 33 YEARS. MY 1ST HUSBAND PASSED AWAY FROM HAVING IT.LEFT ME WITH 7 KIDS TO RAISE.I FOUND OUT 3 YEARS LATER THAT I WAS POSITIVE,FELT LIKE I GOT HIT BY A BUS.EVERYTIME IM SUPPOSE TO MEET A GUY, I CANCEL BECAUSE IM AFRAID TO TELL THEM THAT IM POSITIVE. IT DOESNT EVER GET ANY EASIER.

I am a case manager at an HIV clinic and this question is one of the main ones asked by new patients. I am very interested in how people respond to you.

Anonymous,
You've written an excellent post that delves deeply into the complications of dating with HIV. It's tough! Regardless of sex, sexual orientation, how long you've lived with HIV, disclosing to a potential partner can cause anxiety and psychological pain. Getting rejected—and the many fantastically hurtful forms it can take—in my experience, gets easier once you've gone through it several times. Remember "rejected" is a term that sets you up for thinking about it in an unproductive way. If someone's not able to handle your HIV status at the beginning, chances are that the person will not make a good romantic partner for you going forward. When HIV is part of your life, the person you're with can destabilize you if they're not comfortable with that.

For me, the hardest ones to deal with are the people who think they can handle your HIV status but really can't. The best way to tell that they can't is if they freak out after every protected sexual encounter. It's not their fault; it can be a normal reaction even for someone well versed in transmission routes. HIV/AIDS is a serious illness and people react very differently to it.

But I’ve found it easier to date people already familiar with the HIV basics, so you don’t have to dust off the ol’ textbook to educate them. The real keepers are partners who are consistent in their reactions and communicate about what they feel comfortable with sexually. Since I'm someone looking for a monogamous relationship, over the years I've developed an approach that works for me. (It certainly won’t work for everyone.)

1. Tell, then kiss: I always disclose to a potential partner before the first kiss (or before any sexual contact). I decided on that because I feel it prevents the other person from feeling betrayed that you didn't tell him or her sooner. Also, it initiates a level of honesty in the blossoming relationship that I find is especially necessary if it's going to succeed long-term. Yes, everyone on this site knows that HIV can’t be transmitted through saliva, and that if you’re cold-soar free you’re good to smooch, but kissing is also as a symbolic act that initiates physical intimacy in a relationship. I can remember back to when I dropped my partner off after our first date and she ran down block after me for a first kiss. It was picture perfect moment—she ran (cutely and clumsily), stopped, puckered up and raised herself onto her tiptoes and I gave her a peck on the forehead and smiled. She asked why I didn’t kiss her, and I told her I’d explain later. That was that. Over the second date I told her the next layer of my story and over time we became very close.

2. Get comfortable with your serostatus: If your diagnosis is relatively recent, it’s probably going to take some time to adjust. It’s important to give yourself that time. Dating won’t be like it was before because you have something new to deal with now. A dose of romance can’t make you feel like you did before. You have to get comfortable with the medicines (at least somewhat—I still hate swallowing pills) and with talking to close friends about HIV—or talk to parents, siblings, whoever. Prospective partners pick up on what you are and are not comfortable with. You’re probably going to have to walk them through what it’s like to date an HIV-positive person—it’s the same as dating an HIV-negative person, silly, except for that you have be especially cautious with sexual fluids and blood. You can explain that a new study of HIV discordant couples shows that being on antiretrovirals decreased the transmission rate by 96 percent. So best thing you can do is keep taking your meds regularly. On top of that, you can explain the over 99 effectiveness of condoms, and that you’re only comfortable using high-quality ones to protect the person’s safety more. Make sure the person knows how to put one on correctly. If a condom breaks, which is very rare, but possible, you need to put the sex on halt and figure out what’s going on. Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), a 3-month regimen of antiretrovirals that greatly reduces the chances of getting HIV, is available if the person has been exposed to your fluids—it’s always better to be cautious. So there’s a lot of stuff to get comfortable with. In the meantime, take steps to get healthy and eat nutritiously, explore new hobbies—or new subjects and extracurriculars if you’re in grad school. Find new ways to enjoy yourself and meet people, feel people out to see if you’re compatible. Then take things step by step from there.

3. No-sex trial period: I try to institute a 3-month test period of no sex after disclosure. (I know many readers won’t like this.) Basically, what this has done, at least for me, is help determine compatibility with the person I’m flirting with. When you eliminate sex you're focusing on communication, mutual interests, kissing and then you can add oral to the mix when you’re both comfortable. The 3-month no-sex pledge has been a way for me to re-wire my relationship instincts. Instead of trying to close the deal with sex, the ultimate act of intimacy, you’re establishing trust and an emotional connection. Again, it’s often difficult to explain this when both your hormones are raging, but anyone who can’t understand why you’re taking it slow is not worth your time. It’s better to weed out people like that. And a lot of pleasure can be given and received without going “all the way.” Plus, attraction is only enhanced with anticipation.

4. Look for a partner with depth: You’re going to learn something from every person it doesn’t work out with. I’ve found that intelligent people with real depth can offer me the most emotionally and better understand some of the things I’m going through. That flawlessly handsome hunk who’s never had a rough experience in his life might not be the ideal candidate. People who have the smarts to get the medical basics and have a high EQ—a measure of emotional intelligence—are the types you should try to get to know better. And remember, the sex stuff can be the hardest part to navigate in the beginning, but in every relationship presents new challenges over time—my relationship has gotten better and better over six beautiful years—so hopefully you’ll get to experience some relationship joys and hardships soon and you’ll work out a dating system that works for you. Harden your protective layers so that jerks who walk away don't pierce them. Keep going out there and trying to find someone right for you, not based on who you were before but on who you are now. And keep writing! I’m sure it’s cathartic and you’re raising some extremely important issues.

Hope this was helpful. E-mail the POZ folks to track me down if you want to talk.

Kind regards,

Reed

Life is short we think about the neg- what-if and so on, I don't let HIV stop me from injoy life yes some-time we go through ups&downs but who said life is going to be easy you be the person you are and expect that we have to live with this condition If you going into something seruios into a realationship brfore youn know that is getting real clse you know that feeling study that individual put information on top of your table let the individual see these magizine story about real peplo living with this lets get out htere in LIVE your life have fun but always harm pervention for yourself and others went I have sex with a women I let then know that I have this before we start and if they said know that OK when they see me with a other women and ask the other women that if she knows that I am postive will will said yes so I could sleep good a nigth I have been marrige twic I am 54 years young and belive is not easy when someone turn youi down I just pick myself back up and contiune living a postive LIFE with the HELP of my higher Poewer smile

Telling the status right up front is the way....not delaying for even a single moment. For if one delays, the truth is never quite understood and this is Honesty and respect for one's own self and another. This is the best policy...in giving people a choice. I would have more respect for someone's disclosure immediately rather than not. This would bring out the "real" person with empathy rather than being resentful with blame.

Hello, I was married for 8 years when I found out I was positive; my husband tested negative. I had the virus for about 10 years; needless to say, it was a major cause for our divorce. I got back on the horse and dated men who did not know my status... each time I told.. they ran! Now years later, I only date men from all the HIV sites who are also positive, it is just so easier. I even met my current husband on one of the sites. It is a rare and special person who can accept our situation. But for me the rejections were just so hurtful and always fearful that someone would tell someone and so on and so on. Good Luck.

Hi, I'm 27, and going through this everyday and almost every minute. I've been to support groups and been in therapy. I don't know how of manage to deal, live, and cope knowing their status. My life has fallen apart and I'm constantly fighting to put things together over and over. Now it seems a moot point and feel utterly pointless trying to hold on. Everything else in life seems to be moving on. I'm laughing again and enjoying things and life until I think about love and sex and HIV. It's just like hearing the glass house or room shatter around me. I've at time(s) stopped taking my meds because I just could handle feeling closed off and rejected. Right now I'm living my as a last ditch attempt to find love or a companion I live and love. I just don't want to wait too long and the desire and need fades to a point where I rather sit in a dark closed out room with no light or sound and little interaction. Personally I feel like I'm waiting to die and hoping and praying that I do. To me my life is Hell and hope is fading fast. I wish I could turn these feeling and needs off but seeing other couples in love or holding hands it's like a knife in the heart and back. Can never forgive or forget. the pain and hatered flaring up and sometimes I want to make the one who pass it to me feel the same pain. If I had the will and strenght I would hang myself. But too afraid of cutting or hanging or anything causing great pain. I found that trying to catch the flu or Pneumonia is a bit easy and may try again. Take a bath and would sit in front of the air condition until freezing cold. I just want to be free of this. HIV have somehow dominate and squeezing the life out of me and destorying my mentally. It won't be long until it all finally crack. Before I even went to the ER I knew I might have had Pneumonia but tried to inore it but family and fear pushed me to get treated. Even at that moment I actually laughed because I thought I'd be free of it even if it cost me my soul and eternal happiness. Right now I'm fighting to have some happieness even while I'm feeling down. I wish there were a pill that turns off the sexual drive. maybe I could live in peace until it truely is my time.
I know how you feel.

I have been positive for 13 years now, male, had several relationships with neg women, disclosed, accepted, apparently normal relationships: now, no more. Why? Although I know of some working and probably there will be many more, I strongly think they have no future; any small problem adds to it, and embitters a lot; you slowly feel that the "investment" is at a loss: yours, and in my cases, hers;women, who are the one at far more risk, tend to accept anything for love; men no, they are normally coward...I have heard too many stories; at the beginning, before sexual contact, I disclosed, and to my surprise rarely rejected. The beginning is always good (with or without condom); problems come later.
It is this slow tearing which exacerbates the moods which ruin relationships: it is like being in a bottleneck..and you cannot blame them, put yourself in their shoes....lots of fish in the sea.This brings you to begin thinking that is not worth the while, start moving rationally and then emotionally away: the other will do the same. Exceptions there can be of course...this is only my advice, from quite large experience, I must say, but a personal view.


I was very naive before and disclosed to many of my friends, and others got to know: I never ever saw an advantage, people generally consider someone to simpathyze with as more a nuisance than a blessing: even from them do not expect much. If you're gloomy you won't be as welcomed as if you're pure glee, as a relevant example of what I mean. He is in your acquaintances' circle, I gather: that can be dangerous, tongues are normally loose, with drinking much more. Now I tell no one.

In case I should fall in love with a neg and corresponded, I'd evaluate then; but I try not to put myself in that situation by looking for poz women; it is much more difficult to find somebody "twin", but it is the way I chose, and won't go back.

Anyhow, you might just ask for condom (even though the risk for him is negligible, you will put yourself in a very awkward position for disclosing later, if doing otherwise. Exchanging "spit" isn't a problem, nor morally nor healthily, so have undisclosed kisses at will) and see how it goes, if you really like each other; no risk for anyone, no disclosure if not when...time will tell.

Had to be synthetic, but if you want to talk more, you are welcome to do so.

All the best.

It is so fascinating to read this your blog
One little caution which is not intended to be sexist but true most of the times: men don't take HIV positive partners too easily.
While I have dated several negative women, whom I tell upfront about my HIV+ status, the converse is not true with my female counterparts who are abandoned as soon as their potential suitors find out about their positive status
So yes, let him get to know the real you and hopefully, that will take away any misconceptions fears he may otherwise have
I hope it works out for you

I am positive 2 years now and was single when I found out. Needless to say I was devistated by this. I had been conversing with several women and just getting back on track after 30 years of drug addiction. So I told each of them my statues and you know what. I am now in the best relationship of my life and have 2 of the closest friends i think I have ever had. You See HIV is now a very real thing in our lives and the people that exept that part of you are the only people that will shine in your life so that the path we now walk will stay well lit so we can move forward without triping and falling backwards.So my advise is to accept who you are and be honest.

Hey I am 21 and I have had it for two yrs when I first got it I was dating this guy I didn't know he had it but I think he knew and just didn't say anything tho, I was bisexual but I never messed around with both sides at the same time so it was clear where I got it but I feel ur concern because I've pretty much made up my mind at 21 that I may never find real love i have matured a lil bit and decided that being bi isn't for me go late now tho so how do I sit my future wife down and say hey babe listen I have hiv oh yea by the way I got it from a man, so I don't see this being easy but please if u find a good way to tell him ur hiv poz.let me know

So proud of your even coming out to share your experience! I have been positive 21 yrs. and being newly diagnosed we have to become comfortable with our own diagnosis before we expect others to be. This is very vital in disclosing to anyone. It helps build stamina for the journey! Not everyone is nor will be excepting of our diagnosis and the personal views we may share going through it..so we have to be mentally prepared for the good, bad and the ugly as it comes. I..now welcome it as an EXTRA niche in my life that has become quite prevalent for me in my sharing to anyone on any level and at the end of the day after I have faced my friends and foes I know that I have benefited someone about this HIV experience! Hang in there and continue to get exprienced by life on lifes terms and the LOVE we all seek will hopefully follow. We are strong in so many ways but our strength lies in our first steps over defeat..while the stigma, fear, anxiety, etc. are all there watching my every winning move! ..and I would say you are WELL on your way!

I have been positive since 1994, and was very happily married to a negative woman until my diagnosis. From that day forward, I was treated like a leper. This led to a divorce, and I have been single since that time, not by my own choice. It does not make one difference how you contracted HIV, the bottom line is you are positive and looked at so different than a "normal" person. At first, I used to tell a partner on the first date. I would never hear back, so I took the advice of many of your followers here, and decided to wait until the person got to know me and see me as a great devoted, educated, level headed individual. Through therapy, I discovered that love MUST BE unconditional, and a person must accept another regardless of their status. Knowledge is power. I found that many educated people, male or female in my case, especilly nurses were very knowlegeable about how to deal with HIV. As we all know, you can't catch HIV from kissing so I find Bob Main's comments so misguided and his comments about you, cruel and unwarranted. He is "Totally Obnoxious" to come to your Blog and criticise you or anyone here for thier advice or methods to find happiness. It would be best to keep the nasty comments to ourselves and not judge someone on how they seek love. I was slapped in the face by a woman whom I kissed on the cheek after dinner one night because I decided to tell her on our second date as we sat around my home looking at photo albums. She was appaled that I could do such a thing, and went home. In closing, let the person discover you! Who you are, the amazing person and partner you can be! Your qualities and your faults, and if after all that,it is a deal breaker, then they never found the real you, and they certainly don't deserve you! It does not have to be on the first, second or third date, it is up to you. If you two are responsible and practice safe sex, and it goes that route, that is completely YOUR CHOICE. So many people have said to me "don't let it get to deep or serious". WHY NOT? Follow your heart, if a partner loves you, it does not matter if you are green, purple or have spots. If a person loves you, it has to be unconditional. Most times, positive and negative just won't work. MOST TIMES! Sometimes it will with a real person, a loving and dedicated partner whom is deeply in love with you no matter what. If you find that person, never let go! I wish everyone best of luck! Just keep it real.

First off : susie it does get easier and better. That was a very mean comment uou left this poor girl you should learn to keep negativity to urself. Ill pray for you. Anonomous it does get easier b you will find the one to accept bcause everyone deserves to be loved

i feel your pain i'm in the same situation..been pos since 96 and its just so hard to date without disclosing,when you know you still have so much love to give...when i see most of the positive men they look so sick (unhealthy-addicted to one thing or another)thats not for me..i'm not a supermodel but i take good care of myself and so i go out and date regular guys(who love my DD's), but not for long though because when its gets too serious and i don't think they can handle my status i back out.GOOD LUCK TO YOU and if it works out please let us know so i can do the same its getting very lonely

Hi Anonymous,

I am a gay man that has been positive for about 10 years now. All my numbers are good. I live in the southeast and in a medium sized town (Augusta, GA). I've tried the online dating, gone through spells where I advertised my status, and other times where I did not. Personally, I would stick to the no sex policy at the beginning, give it a few dates, let your new friend get to know the real you and then sit them down one day and tell them you have an important life situation that you must tell them before proceeding- but let them know that it is an extremely difficult subject to discuss and make a date (dinner, walk in a park, etc) and tell them that THAT will be when you tell them. Meanwhile, ask him to really do some soul searching and to ask himself exactly WHAT he could or could not handle and be prepared to discuss this on your special date. Of course he'll try and get you to divulge the information and it will drive him crazy. His imagination will go from one extreme to the next- I would suspect that if he has half a brain, HIV/AIDS would be one thing he would consider. Once you get together- ask him to tell you what all HE could handle. After he's forced to really think about it, and is serious about wanting to be with you he'll have some kind of clue. Depending on his answers- make your decision. I have personally told people meeting and they never got a chance to get to know me and took off running. Others were cool with it but things didn't work out because of other issues. Sometimes I regret telling as many people that I did- sometimes I don't, however, once they know- there's NO taking it back. I'm still single myself, but have had a chance at a few opportunities. I know I'm rambling here, but there's no easy answer.

Hello and thanks for sharing your story.
First, I would consider leaving any therapist that belittles my illness by telling me I'm the same person just now "healthy with HIV". Physically you may be fine but emotionally you are dealing with tremendous pressures charting the course of this new you with HIV. There's alot to learn (I've found through my journey insensitivity is very common with Medical professionals). Second: Try not to let anyone bite your lip if you haven't disclosed, your just asking for trouble. And Third, I think you handled the situation with the fellow student extremely well. Even with inhibitions down and a few drinks you knew it was right to keep things lite and short. Now, disclosure. I've been positive for a decade and a half and there is no easy answer to this question. Do you disclose up front and perhaps lose any chance of this man getting to know you or do you wait til you are both emotionally invested and risk possible heartbreak and losing him? Really only you can decide how to best proceed on a date by date basis. Every potential partner is going to react differently. But I do feel that if someone has an issue with HIV, it isn't going to matter when you disclose, if they are uncomfortable with it they are going to leave. And if they like you, they are possibly going to stick around and get to know you (and the virus) a little better. You will likely be doing alot of educating. Unfortunately, rejection is common, you have to respect someones discomfort with HIV. But I promise you it gets easier with each one, and you become stronger and a better person I feel. There are plenty of people out there that won't care about your status, often they know someone who has it. For me, I've learned it's best to disclose as soon as possible if we start to like each other, I don't want to blindside someone with it and I don't want to delay any possible rejection. There's always dating on poz websites and of course regular dating websites. There you have the option of disclosing as people write you or you can put it in your profile and shade out your face or not post a pic, depending on your comfort level. You will be surprised at how many people appreciate your being up front about your status. I know everyone here has their opinions and experience so take what best suits you from all these comments. However you decide, I wish you luck in your search. Don't settle for anything but love. I'm still searching and I know it will happen someday, I'm a dreamer :)

Hi,
How do u no he is negative? I have been positive for 11 years, an it doesn't get any.easier. But I only disclose to men that seem like the r serious...so the only 1 that knows is my ex boyfriend who I still sleep with...who is negative....u no if the guy is serious or if he just wants to sleep with u..Don't b so fast to have sex with him, get to no him

I think there are a number of considerations with this issue. One is as said above our comfort with the diagnosis and recognition of its impact in our lives. For me the main impacts would be of course needing to take the meds but also having to maintain health insurance. It would be difficult for me to start my own business or nonprofit without assurance that I can generate that extra $30K - if I want to make more than ADAP allows or hold significant assets in the bank. On the social side, you know that some people view HIV positivity as a flaw or defect and you just have to either empathize with them and try to help them think differently or tell them to go you know where (if only in your mind). Even more careful though is the care you have to take about being too public in case it would affect your job - the employer saying "this person is costing us". So I think part of the honesty is saying to your prospective partner what the implications are (at least as far as the concerns YOU have) and what they are not (there are 7 billion people in the world - it's IMPOSSIBLE that there is not someone for me).

And then I take the approach of saying that I prefer to date other positive people because they are less likely to have the hang ups about my having it or to understand, but that even as a negative person might fall in love with a positive one and want to partner I as a positive person am willing to consider partnering with a negative person. That makes for an even playing field - at least for me.

Then I think we have to keep sex in perspective - as a human experience that offers transcendence from the mundane and as an expression of intimacy and try not to make it as animal as we see in the movies - even though we are of course animals. This means a few things - one finding and applying the many ways to express that intimacy and two realizing that part of being great partners is taking care of each others' bodies - as we see with elderly couples before death.

I have a friend who is negative and married to a positive person. He tells me that they are, in addition to being a couple, "best friends." They have a lot of fun together and that helps also to keep the status in perspective.

There is so much to our identity, and we have to be as self-defining as possible rather than letting others define us and set the boundaries and demarcations.

yours
kt

Hey Lady.

Thank you for sharing your story. We both have something in common, being HIV+ and still wanting to maintain a healthy relationship and sex life with a man. Truth always reigns, so if you really want a solid relationship with your friend, TELL HIM. I had a similar situation with a long-time partner and when I discovered I was positive, I did the right thing. I invited him to Vegas for a weekend, and I told him straight out what was going on with me. That was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. He sympathized with me, and he loved me, and asked me to marry him. The fairy tale didn't come to a happy ending, because it took time for him to realize the potential impact of the disease to him. Honestly, he received some misinformation from an uninformed doctor, so what's a girl to do? I've been single for 7 years and probably will continue to be because I'm not going to settle just for a positive man who I wouldn't date if I were negative. I consider myself an absolute catch for the right man, positive or negative, and I know he's out there and when I find that true love connection, I'll share my status and we'll live happily ever after. Be well, Be Happy, Be Peaceful.

Peace and blessings...

BLESSINGS TO US ALL. MYSELF HAVE TRUST ISSUES, WHICH LEAD ME DOWN THIS ROAD. 4 YRS AGO I BECAME DISABLED 1ST SAME DAY HIV POZ 2ND.SCARED NO TIME TO PROCESS, WHO, WHAT,WHEN AND HOW. I TRUSTED HIM BEING CELEBATE FOR YEARS AT A TIME. MY WAKE UP CALL. MY FAITH IN GOD HAS ONLY KEPT ME. I PRAY EVERYDAY FOR US AND THE IGNORANT PEOPLE WHO STILL THINK THAT YOU CAN'T TOUCH A PERSON, THIS VIRUS HAS ONLY MADE ME MORE AWARE OF THE DIFFERENT THINGS AROUND ME THAT COULD BE HARMFUL TO MY HEALTH,BY THE GRACE OF GOD I'M HERE. I TOLD MY BEST FRIEND, BUT I PRAYED ON IT FIRST. THERE WAS NOTHING SEXUALLY BETWEEN US ANYMORE HE LEFT TOWN MAYBE 15YRS AGO MARRIED FOR 11. WE CRIED, MY SAVING GRACE CAME WHEN HE SAID, WHATEVER YOU NEED ME TO DO LET ME KNOW.GOD SENT MY BEST FRIEND BACK, WHEN THIS MAN HITS OUR TOWN I AM HIS BABY, FROM HEAD TO TOE, FRONT TO BACK, THIS MAN DRESSES ME WITH EVERY STITCH OF CLOTHING,WE COOK HE CLEANS. HIM AND HIS WIFE DOES NURSING. ONLY GOD COULD HAVE PLACE HIM IN THIS SLOT.THIS IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. BECAUSE OF THE GIFT I RECEIVED AKA VIRUS. YOU ONLY KNOW YOUR STATUS FOR PROTECTION ITSELF JUST TEST EVERYONE BEFORE ENTERING INTO THAT NEXT PHASE, TESTING IS FREE AND PRIVATE. SO WHEN YOU AND YOUR PARTNER GO TO TEST AND GET RESULTS YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TELL IN MAGIC'S CASE IF HE DIDN'T TELL HOW WOULD WE KNOW.SO MANY PEOPLE LIVING EVERYDAY WITH THIS LITTLE SECRET OF OURS STILL PASSING IT ON LIKE A LEAF ON A WINDY STREET WAITING FOR THE NEXT MOVEMENT. YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISE YOUR PARTNER MIGHT HAVE A SECRET OF THEIR OWN. I TALK TO MUCH. BE BLESSED AND I HOPE ALL WORKS OUT WELL AND REMEMBER IN MY LIFE GOD COMES FIRST. AND FROM ONE POZ TO ANOTHER I LOVE YOU AND KEEP THE FAITH.

I want to offer two qualifications to my earlier post. One has to do with the use of the word "consequences," e.g., of having HIV. It's probably better for all of us to work together to assure that our fellow positives are using words such as "challenges" or "hardships" or "difficulties" rather than "consequences". The reason is that we may see an attack on the Aids Drugs Assistance Program (ADAP)by a certain political party based on the notion that people should not get such aid because they have to "accept the consequences" of their behavior. Let's stay clear of the word.

Secondly, I said that I prefer to date a positive rather than negative because the former may have less hangups about dating another positive. However, it should be noted that some positives WOULD have such hang ups due to concern about their partner having resistance to drugs or the fear that a mutant viruses may somehow emerge. These phobias can be just as problematic as the ones that negatives have about positives.

Thanks for starting this discussion, I been +ve since 2005, what I find pathetic and wearied is that after I was diagnosed I dated twice for short term (both guys were ok with my hiv) (the relationship didn’t fail because of the hiv) but I had the courage to tell them even though back then I wasn’t still on meds which means my viral load was high still. Now I been undetectable for over 3 years but I have more issues and find it harder to disclose. I guess it is REJECTION what really scares us. People take rejection differently, even though when I was negative I had some of that fear to be rejected, then after finding out that I am positive this fear of rejection kept growing and growing but now I am getting to a point where enough is enough. If you don’t ask you won’t know, so I am preparing myself to go back to the dating scene and yes I agree with others maybe I will disclose only after 3 or 4 dates or when I feel comfortable. I will try and I better try coz everyday pass we lose one day of our lives, and this day will not come back, YES, it does need more efforts and courage, and it is not a piece of cake but is there any other solution. I bet you even professionals don’t know what to advice us, so my dear take the matter in your hands and deal with it before it is too late. I will do too, and best of luck for you, me and everyone.

Hi,
Thanks for sharing your story. I've been positive since birth and I can definitely say that the hardest part of my life has been dating.I'm now 28 years old and still healthy. yaay. I've been very selective of the people I date. I think I have to be. Out of the four relationships I have had 3 partners have been negative and one positive.The first time i told someone i was positive I have 18 years old. I had been talking with this (negative) guy for about 5 months and i really liked him. There had been no physical contact. I told him and explained the situation and he understood.The second guy i told was also negative and we had been dating for about 3 months. We went as far as kissing before I told him and he also took the news okay. The third guy i dated was also negative and had been my close friend for about 6 years. We started dating and after 8 months I decided to tell him. He dint take the new well at all. That ended our friendship and other as well since he told people in my social circle. \i would have expected him to be more understanding and it was a huge surprise to me that he treated me so badly that I contemplated suicide. I think this was because it hurt so much coming from someone who was a close friend. My current boyfriend is positive and I think it makes things a whole lot easier and hes so awesome. You never know what reactions you will get from people even if you think you know them. I made rules for my life since I'm private about my status and it makes things easier. I don't date friends or people in my social circle. I remember that laws are can be used against me for not disclosing. Each state has different laws, FYI. Never tell anyone at work. I always ask myself If I feel safe telling a specific person. trust your instincts and don't settle for someone that doesn't deserve you just because they accept you.
gluck.

Thanks for telling your story. I just had another birthday, I am 56 yrs old and HIV+ since 1988. I was told in 1990 that I had two years to live, so I prepared for my death. In the interim, my sister was also fighting AIDS and had a son who was 2-1/2 when she lost her fight. At that time in my life, I was also challenged not so much by HIV but by the fact that I would become a mother to my sister's son. I too was afraid to take on this journey (just like you with your work), I thought I wouldn't live to see him enter 1st grade. Well, to tell you that he is thriving and is 21 yrs old and Im still on the journey of Living with HIV/AIDS. Today Im healthier than I've ever been 23 yrs later. I have other immune system problems which I get treated for. ONE THING, I want to advise you. Dont let HIV rule your whole life. HIV took over mine and it's been a loveless, lonely life when it comes to relationships, because like you, It has been hard to disclose. I gave up dying with HIV to living with HIV because of my SON, I put him first and my HIV second. And now he's off to college and Im all alone with no one to talk to. There are only a select few that I've told. I didnt have much family support. The only sister I told, turned her back on me, and that set the stage for me not telling any other family members. So HIV can consume you like it has me and you will live a very lonely life. I have not dated in a very long time and it's so scarey now that Im in my 50's. I never planned for my 50's. I planned for my death and for who would take care of my son. Now I have to worry about old age. Live your life to the fullest. Just choose carefully who you disclose to, because the STIGMA of HIV still exists and it hurts ALOT. Keep writing. Im too writing, hoping one day to publish my story If anybody ever wants to read it...Thank you for your honesty. You are so young and None of us should be living with HIV, but we are and so we continue the journey and the challenge of living One Day At a Time...

Well I can give you advice from both sides of this coin.
Prior to being Diagnosed positive I meet the nicest sweetest young man whom I love dearly and he was HIV+ He informed me of this fact and at first it didn't matter.
Until It came to SEX I could never get totally comfortable so over time we broke it off..
(WORSE MISTAKE OF MY LIFE) Knew it soon after we broke up
Fast Forward about 5-7years and now Im HIV+ (irony right) and Im forced to disclose my status often and it aint easy Ma..at all especially since I have been on the other side of the coin.
But my point is, To find the right "point" setting, time to tell him and present the facts of the situation the risks, dangers, what it actually means, and the benefits ....
Benefits? You might say,
The Man should realize that you have told him straight forward one of your most trusted secret's and that says a lot about you has a woman! that you really have nothing to hide...
and he will respect that either way as a true man.
and if it's not within him to deal with you anymore take comfort in knowing that
1. You were honest and true to yourself
2. you were woman enough to give him that option
3. You made the right choice in being honest.

What I do normally is watch "a walk to remember" where Mandy Moore Dies of cancer. Its extreamly romantic because the guy stays with her even after finding out she is terminal.

This would be a good oportunity for you to say "awww wasn't that sweet do you think you could be with a woman that was ill, like a woman with cancer?" If he says "no" dont give up hope just yet but proceed with caution. However if he says "hell no" then if he cant accept cancer even though the servival rate is less then people with HIV who are on medications. Then you know he is not going to be able to handle HIV.

Never if he says "yes" he could be. That is a good sign you can further gage a little bit if the conversation allows it without feeling like your interogating him. You could say for example: "what about a woman with lupus or HIV?" gage his response.

If he says yes to lupus or yes to cancer but no to HIV, you then have the opportunity to educate him again without getting to preachy and say but lupus has much more complications then HIV and HIV is manageable and so on.

From my experience in disclosure should never be a one conversation. It should be on going take your time get to know each other ask him has he ever been tested things like that. I wouldn’t wait more then 2 months depending on how much you guys hang out but if he starts to pressure you to have sex that’s when you should definitely tell him.

Don’t tell him your whole life story before you tell him. Think about why you want to tell him. Where you want to do it, do you want it to be private or at a park. Gage if he gossips or talks about other people & their business and if he can be trusted, if not do you want to trust him with something so close to you? Don’t apologize when you do it, you didn’t do anything wrong and although it may be hard try to not get to emotional you don’t want a guy to be with you out of pity.

Refrain from statements like I know you will never wanna be with me know, you don’t want to put words in his mouth. And give him sometime to respond or get back to you. Remember although we all would love for a guy to just say “yes! I love you, I want to be with you, I don’t care ect” life is not a movie, chances are you will probably be the first and most likely the only woman he will have this conversation with and it’s a big pill to swallow all at once so don’t hurry him for a reply leave the ball in his court.

If you need more advise feel free to email me at JasonCifredo at yahoo

I have been hiv since 2009 iam finding dating very hard iam finding hiv dating sites not really working
for me and wondering trying normal dating sites not sure if this is a good idea but getting tired of being alone and some one said to me shouldnt go out with some just because have same illness

I like your story, I guess your one of the few that are lucky. As for me when I meet someone that I like and I want it to become a friendship or relationship the problem with me is I dont feel comfortable not telling the person, I feel guilty, so I usually let the person know...I dont know what to do anymore any suggestions?? if I dont tell them they like me and if I do they dont.

I recently learned about my diagnosis, and dating was never, ever easy for me, but I don't think I could try to date a man who is not HIV+.
I know it makes it a million times more complicated to find someone, but the paranoia of now knowing if I might infect him, or even to just disclose my status is not something I wish to put myself through. Love has caused me enough pain already.

Reading this blog entry gives me great assurance why establishing Positive Light for Positive Living HIV Disclosure Mission was one of the greatest projects thought of. After all, too often the issue of disclosing arises and imposes this threatening energy that seems to implant so much fear in our minds, especially when it pertains to disclosing to someone we truly like.

But the greatest gift of disclosing is finally settig yourelf free from that fear, no matter how difficult it is to utter the words from your mouth. In fact, after living with this virus for sometime, I couldn't fathom ever exposing such a thing to anyone;after all, what would they have thought. I mean with so much stigma and discrimination surrounding this virus, trying to educate someone about a virus that scientist have struggled to comprehend remains quite challenging.

Nevertheless, as time prgresses and we learn to relinuqish that fear, we begin to realize that talking about this virus with those who aren't as educated about the facts is the only way to teach people how to embrace us, despite us being [infected]. Therefore, for those who are struggling to reveal this secret you hold so close to your heart, rest assure, if others have overcome this obstacle, so will you.

My only requst is that you take your time, and try not to pass this epidemic on to someone else while awaiting that time when you too, can finally set yourself free from the fear this virus evokes. In the meantime, take a few moments and enjoy HIV Disclosure Mission, which can be accessed via Internet search engines.

In doing so, you will attain some inspiring words to uplift your soul and evoke some soul-stirring self evaluation.

Good luck!

B.F.

http://hivdisclosuremission.webs.com

Hello,

Don't rush please. If you're in love with him and he does the same, he won't run away. I was in a similar relationship for 4 years. He found out after 2 years and did not react the way I expected. He actually started buying me drugs untill we separated. What u need to do is to strongly pray for him so that he doesn't get infected. We had live sex for 4 years and he still tested. However, prepare yourself for anything that comes out of it. You're such a strong lady so stand to your feet.
Lynn

It took some time to find what works for me, and it may be controversial for some people, but this is it:

-Never consider negative men for long term relationships
-Find a decent-looking, honest, hardworking positive guy who WANTS a partner and kids, who loves and respects you and who you get on with, and who has SIMILAR life goals and objectives. He doesn't have to be a 10, as long as he is a good person. Anything on top of this is gravy. Now, I am not pretending for a second that this is going to be easy, but it is definitely possible, if you play your cards right and put yourself in environments where you will meet QUALITY positive men.
-Strongly consider an open relationship where we can have casual relationships with negative partners. It's understood that we'll use condoms and keep our mouths shut about our status. These 'relations' never become full relationships, but make both our lives fuller and neither of us feels we 'missed out'.
-Whether the marriage lasts or not, at least you got married, had the kids, the house, etc (in other words you've been there done that and wore the t-shirt).
-Focus on other areas of life that are important- health, career, financial, social life, personal goals and aim to be a success
-Have as much fun as possible, we deserve it, just like everyone else!

Go for it all. Learn to throw yourself on the line a little. The only reason the world is afraid of HIV is because they know nothing about it. The longer we all hide from the truth and break free from all the negativity of stereotypes the better off for our whole community of HIV. In the end all we really have is ourselves. He wont last forever and hopefully neither will HIV. Be brave and go all in. Life really is all in or nothing at all.

Shirley....HIV is not a death sentence! It is normal to be depress but let's not think about suicide. I have been + since 2003. It is not easy, especially when you have not shared it with your children nor family. I am 40 and I know how you feel but I also know you can NOT allow HIV to define you. A relationship with GOD is first and I promise you everything else will fall in place. I am in a relationship with a + man now. He is not the guy I would spend the rest of my life with because I refuse to settle for what I would not date if I was negative but we keep each other sane basically because he has only been + for apprx 2 years. Don't beat yourself up...pray, pray, pray! You will find the right person to action YOU not your status...be patient!

Honesty is the most important thing if a relationship is to have a solid foundation. Hiv/aids is no death sentance any more than being born! I hear the hypocrats that preach god but lie steal and cheat. If love is to be unconditional... than your mate will love you for who and what you are, if your asamed of smething in your past life, nothing will change it, so get bizz living or hurry up n just die in regret. This life is truely a gift, play the game of living with passion in your heart. =^.^=

I am going through the same thing now. I am straight, and have been poz for about 10 years now. I have come to the decision that I will only be associated with poz women. While I have been dealing with this, I did manage to start a not-yet physical online dating relationship with a woman. Because of my confusion, I have yet to tell her, but will wait until we meet in person. While it is certainly understood that as younger, the temptation is to not disclose until just before sex. I would recommend against it, only because at the point you do disclose, that person will feel betrayed and any chance of a relationship is lost. Good luck.

WoW...it seems as if someone was nominated and won the award of being HEAD Judge by a land slide. As a Positive person for little more than 6 years, I still find it HARD to tell someone that I am Poz...Dating is difficult because EVERYONE isn't so accepting! I do NOT see anything wrong with what Anonymous did...and for you to react the way you did with your words, is most likely why people who are Neg are NOT so understanding.

It is a PERSON's right to tell their STORY when they are READY to tell it. You may be fine with telling the WORLD that your Poz, but most of us are NOT. Anonymous did NOT have SEX with him, he Kissed him, and when was the LAST time you've heard of someone being diagnosed with HIV because of a Kiss?

You're the type of person that makes "US" look bad...Because you know the PAIN ohh so well, but YOU think that YOU’RE sooo MUCH better than everyone else...So don't you dear say that you have ALWAYS disclose your status before you did anything with a guy/girl...if so, you are the prime candidate for another award...Hypocrisy, Congratulations you’ve won by default!!!!

The best I feel is to be honest, you do not have to disclose your status right away, but you do not want to lead someone to believe you are not having sex with this person because you are keeping yourself special to then have sex.

Have fun in your date and see it a a friendship that can lead into something else. When things get too hard to push away and there the next step to have sex. Then you must tell the truth before the sex part.
Chose an open place, a park a cafe etc. I feel more safe this way than saying it to someone 1 on 1 in bed before sex.

And also tell this person that you can keep him and yourself safe by 96% if you are in ARV medication and of course, you will used a condom.

There's no easy way out and it's a hard thing to disclose. But it is what it is and if relationships doesn't work, find a bigger than life passion that you can give your love and it help someone or many people to change humanity to become better than we are.

Blessings"

RDLG

When I found out, I ran home to my live-in boyfriend of 2yrs to disclose hoping for comfort and understanding, it was the last he touched me and I mean touch. For 5 months we stayed like that talking in bits. I decided to leave town for warm weather Zambia which has been good for my skin although I did not know then. Thereafter I adopted a be upfront with disclosure so that he runs sooner than later, some did othersstayed for a little while leaving heart broken and usually after the sex. Just from reading advice from various bloggers, I learned to know a person and were its going before disclosure and have tried to be cautious and know a person before I disclose but they still stay a while and run very fast. I got to ask myself, is it me not knowing how to handle a relationship or what?Well its not me but a man thing and it has been confirmed by bloggers @andrew and ken up there. i agree with you about dating, one commonality we share as PLWHA is loneliness for romantic love and just talking to someone when you need to be a woman is tough. It has worked for some and has not worked for others any which way but it depends on your luck and it can work for you too. Follow the get to know a person first advice before you disclose.

Patrick,

Never date someone that is positive, that you wouldn't date if you were negative. You sell yourself short and settle for mediocrity when you don't have to. You are a precious being that is T-cell challenged. Recognize the "king" in you and live royally!! I'm rooting for you.

are you kidding? Are you saying these things about the author of this post? Whoever you are, I suggest you seek mental help, perhaps dementia or something has set in. If anything, your attitude and vile words against someone who is open and honest here about a struggle that we can all identify with, is filthy and disgusting. Go away jerk face!

it's ridiculous that with the knowledge of how being undetectable and on meds reducing the risk of transmitting the virus to virtually zero - that we all feel obligated (if undetectable), to disclose our status to someone

it's ridiculous that for a disease which has been cured and will not be an issue for us very soon, so many feel obligated to disclose when they're undetectable and can't transmit.

No - I do not disclose my status to anyone anymore, HIV takes enough of a toll on my life by me having to take meds everyday, anything else is optional and pointless, and the answer is NO. I don't Lie - I will not tell someone I don't have it - but I will not voluntarily disclose my status to a potential partner in a loving serious ltr. This disease will not steal more from me than what it does by it's nature.


Steve,

I agree with you 110%.

I think we should all put our energies into pushing for a cure for HIV in any way we can.

I think we should avoid compromising ourselves socially by disclosing. HIV compromises us enough physically.

Unless your goal is to be an advocate as a face for the disease, and more power to those who want that role, there is no benefit to disclosing, especially when the risk of transmission is so low when undetectable on treatment.

Find a poz partner who you would be thrilled to be in a relationship even if you were negative. This is the hardest part.

Focus on yourself. Love yourself. Do what is in your own best interest. Life is short.

Wow...sorry to hear you are going through such a rough time.I wish I could spare you the blows to to your ego.You have joined the ranks of people who have become part of a culture that must be leaders in the way we perceive ourselves as sexual beings by taking responsibility for the well being of others.Inform ,educate,explore.Enjoy sex freely and lovingly with ones who can really appreciate you.Stay strong and you will find the balance you need.

While everyone doesn't need to know your HIV status (or other medical issues for that matter), clearly, if you're serious about having any kind of sex potentially involving transmission the other party needs to know. I believe it's easier just to be upfront about it if things are heading in that direction. After all, it's not shameful. We were all negative until someone else infected us. Accepting the other person's desire to remain negative should not bother us as "rejection". If they can't at least be understanding, my attitude is, they have a problem, not me. If I were still negative, I would be very cautious about knowing someone's status before sex, but I would still try to be understanding and accepting of poz people. Even though I'm poz and in a LTR with a negative person (we were together before I knew my status) I routinely disclose to friends whom I have no intention of having sex with but whom I've become close to. HIV and the meds affect my life in too many ways to pretend it's not there. And if I ever were to seek another sexual partner, I would want it to be with another poz person unless the sexual relationship was totally safe. And there are safe ways of enjoying sex, although not everybody likes to be restricted to those ways.

You did the right thing by taking it slowly. Unfortunately the stigma attached to this condition is much deadlier than the condition itself. I have dated guys that just wanted to have nothing to do with me after I told them, at first it hurt really badly. How could someone that seemed to be so into me suddenly be so repulsed by the idea of me... Then I set up some boundaries for myself about how far I would take it with someone, emotionally and physically before telling them. I has worked for me.

You must understand that there might be a potential for rejection. Many are sadly very uneducated when it comes to HIV. But this rejection has nothing to do with you, it has to do with ignorance and fear, and while hurtful if you know this and really believe in it you can limit the hurt feelings.If you feel comfortable telling him in person that is great, I have issues with that sometimes. So I tell them electronically, or via phone.

Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't I know immediately that, that person was not the one for me.I try to lighten the mood and be friendly though, sometimes people's initial reactions are fluid and things change. I have had guys who came around after the initial shock,and the only reason they did was because I left the door to friendship open. You are not your condition, if he only sees you as that then he needs to move over because there are loving people out there who do not see you that way and those are the people that you want around.


Best of luck and keep us posted!

I really liked reading this. I've found myself in a virtual mirror image situation. I've been positive almost 8 years now and am a single grad student not too far out of the relationship of about 9 years. I began as the negative partner, oops, got it myself. For those 8 great years I pretty much got to blissfully not worry about condoms, disclosing, all that. Now in the year since my partner and I have separated, I've gone through the whole thing. Disclosing, condom awkwardness, in addition to issues around being in grad school in the health profession and training in areas of medicine with varying degrees of exposure risks. As far as dating goes, it's tempting to want to limit yourself to other positives. My gut feeling tells me that choosing your starting point in the dating world to be the presence of absence of a virus both cuts out a hell of a lot of possibly wonderful people as well as misses what I think the point of dating to be finding the person who fulfills you emotionally. That being said, disclosing blows, or not as the case may be. I've found myself doing it in just about every situation from strangely right away to already naked on the bed to afterward. Both with equally good and bad consequences. Almost entirely with good response though which has been sometimes counterintuitive to me. My best feeling and target time, however, I've worked out to be before anyone gets in cars, gives directions, follows one another home, etc. Preferably in that in between space where you're still in public but in the process of heading to a private one, saying finishing up the last drink. Or if they're entirely up front and say "hey, wanna go fuck?" or something to that extent. It's great to be entirely up front right back.
That's my two cents :-)

Hello...
Wow when I ran into this...it immediately captured my attention. I've been Positive since 2006, and my life has been a rollercoaster of emotions in regards to dates and relationships. I was nodding my head as I read a lot of the posts!
I agree with several people that you should tell right before the first kiss. (But friends, both Positive and Negative, have told me that I should not disclose right away until I get to know that person better).
I say it’s a learning process! You might even say a trial and error; and there is no right or wrong way to approach this. I personally believe its how it makes you feel...following your "gut feeling."
With my last bf, I told him on the 2nd date...we ended up dating for half a year (broke up because of other issues) but overall, I felt I did the right thing. I totally went against to what I had told myself I would do after my previous relationship, that being not to disclose until I really knew the person. But nevertheless, I felt supported by him in many ways (he met w/my doctor and had a Q&A session with him) and I really learned a lot from the relationship (both being comfortable with each other sexually)....one thing though, you have to be comfortable with your serostatus...because your potential significant other might have lots of questions/doubts and you don't want that to overwhelm you.
On regards to dates, it’s difficult to say how it’s going to go…I do have to agree with you it confuses the hell out of people when things are getting steamy and you have to put all into a halt! A million things might go through their minds (what did I do wrong? Why did we stop?) Who cares!!! You have to be the one with the leveled mind and know why you guys are stopping. You will encounter jerks, you will encounter well-mannered people in your dating endeavors…all is a learning experience and it’s a process! Take your time and best of luck. ;) Cheers!

hi annonymous.

it's nice to read about another long termer. my daughter was born with the virus and premature at one pound four ounces. she live to twenty.

she had full blown aids and a progressive, recently recognized cancer in her breast which was taken. she live four more years after that event.

her t-s were low, the cancer treatments almost killed her..again..(joke) and it was hard for her after going through all she went through to want to fight and live. but we promised eachother we would fight to live..so you know you more than anyone, my daughter lived after doctors at many times in her life told me she was going to die. i told them they ain't God. hang in there cuz now.

I admire you confidence. I was in a friendship that turned into a relationship that turned bad, but before the relationship I disclosed my status to him and he seemed very supportive at first and things were going good like we were in a fairy tale. Then the heaviness and severity of the situation hit home when he was tested and the results were negative. He came to break my heart and leave as if I never existed. Despite the fact that I had fallen in love with him,he still left me and I'm broken hearted aslone with 2 children. My oldest from a sour past relationship and the youngest from the jerk who infected me...

Best wishes to you anonymous. I have to tell you my story so you can indeed realize there can be ongoing joy with your diagnosis. I have been HIV positive since 1986. Although I lost my first husband to the disease, I met my second, HIV negative husband and have been married for 16 years. We were co-workers and I swore I would never try to date due to all the complications. However, he feel for me and vice-versa. I will never forget my telling him why we couldn't get serious...I carried the dreaded "HIV". At that time it was still horribly stigmatized and rarely discussed particularly in the "Bible Belt". We are both Christians and I contracted it from my unfaithful first husband. I told my current husband that I had a deadly illness (how naive I was). I said I couldn't verbalize it because it was too painful. He eventually guessed what illness to which I was referring. He got very quiet...I knew it was over or so I thought. He became tearful and said "I just know that you're the one for me". We stayed up talking on the phone all night about his multiple surgeries and near death experience. He didn't think he would live to be thirty! Therefore, every day to him was a gift and he told me every day with me would be a gift to him. Not only was he compassionate about HIV but about living life in general. God had sent me an unbelievable blessing who still stands by my side to this day. Don't ever discount your potential joy in any relationship...even if for a short period of time. You never know when it could turn your life around. I strongly believe that you know in your "gut" with whom you can or can't share your health matters. It sounds like you have probably learned that not everybody needs to know about your health status. Trust God and your "gut" and you can't go wrong...best of luck!

Try to really accept yourself first. In the end, you will find who was looking for you, not the one you are looking for. Hugs from Brazil.

Hi. just came across your blog and I know what its like. I don't know if you still blog, I hope you do. Anyway I recently told someone about my status. It was the most difficult thing I had ever done in my life, the fear of losing him was keeping me up at night but not telling him was killing me also. I have known him for over 10 yrs and knew he liked me but because I was positive I was afraid to give it a try. Eventually he convinced me and I said ok but at that time he didn't know I was positive and we had not had sex or even kissed because he was in a different state. Eventually after praying much and believing God I told him over the phone, I couldn't face telling him to his face. He didn't call me for a few days and then suddenly starts calling well the rest as they say is history. He later told me he needed time to process if he could handle it and because he loved me so much he was willing to try and as at today am engaged and planning my wedding which will be at the end of the year. I worry about him too, praying that I don't get him infected because the guilt would kill me, but my doctor has assured me that that could be avoided. So my dear friend anything is possible just trust God and always make sure you take everything to him in prayers. I have a blog (deejah-naija babe living with hiv) would be nice if you read it and leave your comments. Have a great day

I realize I'm late responding and you've probably moved on to other 'challenges' that we have living a positive life. But I can say for a fact that initial disclosure is something that you find yourself facing more times than you'll ever get comfortable with. I've been positive since 2001 and I was infected by my then husband. Unbeknownst to me, he knew he was positive but sent me through the motions of maybe it was me. The guilt and agony broke us up because I would have stayed with him had it been an unintentional infection. Fast forward eight years, I'm remarried to a negative man, the mother of three (two of whom were born to me after the disease and are negative themselves) but still to this day, I dread initial disclosure and even send my husband to pick up my meds.
As for an answer to your question, I think the virus forces us to change our lifestyle for sure or reap the consequences. I would say limit your 'take a guy home' nights, put energy into getting to know a guy with conversations (date) and concentrate on school rather than finding that 'one'. If you meet a guy and he respects your desire to wait, then that's a good start. Let him get to know you aside from your condition and he'll respect you more. The day I told my now husband, he first response was "how long do you have?" I responded, "I don't have AIDS!!! I have as long as you have!" The sense of "I'm a survivor" came over me and I knew then that he was open to learning and that I could teach him. He is a caring and open person whom I allowed to get to know me prior to spending any cuddle time or leading him on sexually.
If you're looking for a 'good time', then try the poz dating website because then you won't have to worry about disclosing. But remember, don't settle for a negative guy who makes you feel less than because of the condition and DON'T settle for a positive man who you aren't compatible with just for the sake of being positive.
Lastly, I truly believe what you've described in this blog is more universal than just a positive concern. When we (women) take a guy home on the first night and then want to get to know him, then we run the risk of sending mixed messages. You want someone who will want to date you for you rather than just for the hopes of returning you to the same comfort level as the spirits had you on the night you met. It won't get easier until you establish how you feel about being positive and whether he is positive or not, or accepts you or not, the fact is that you are going to have hesitations until you've accepted yourself as you are with the virus. You are strong, beautiful and not defined by a relationship or acceptance of another person. You are not someone to be pitied so don't pity yourself. Seriously. Take it one day at a time.

well i think u should be honest and tell him before u try to leave first base.If he not ok with u then it was not ment to be.God has someone for everybody,yes even us who are positive.When it comes it will be so much more real and not fake.If u do not tell him then all u doing is leaving a lie.God Bless!

Disclosure is a big problem, when do you do it, how do you have the discussion if you wait too long they may view it as a betrayal, if you do it too early they will likely run away, so its a problem to me the only way to deal with this issue is to either meet people who are not afraid of dating someone with HIV (HIV friendly) or find someone that is POZ, the problem is that many of us live in far away places, at least that seems to be the way it is most of the time, I have talked with lots of women that would probably be great partners, lovers, ect, but they lived in places like Montana which is fine but I live on the east coast, so moving to Montana might be something I would consider most of the time they are only interested in meeting someone that already lives in their geographical area, that is a catch 22 situation because the chances of finding someone that meets your needs already living in your geographical area are statistically very poor.

I would personally jump on a plane or drive 400 miles to find a good friend...

disclosure is an important part of what i feel we need to do,if you wait and feelings really get involved, then there is a trust issue later, why did you not tell me?why? I think trust issues are very important, they will either accecpt it or walk, and you will be happy later on that you were honest cause then you dont get played.life is to short and to me it is just like be diabetic, who knows who has this but being honest is the first step in being careful and building a trusting relationship.trust is real important to me as i feel is to most.

You are in a word an incredible person

I agree i was in a mix status relationship im neg partner poz.

We hooked up with out being told she had HIV, it was probably a week before i found out. I was really mad about the fact i wasnt told about her HIV. We had a long talked and i comforted her told her I'd think about it. She said she was tired of trying to meet men and she seem sincere about it. It took 6 months before i got back with her. I all ways use condom for the first few months then i thought she might be the one i marry so i took the condom off and was willing to take the risk of getting HIV and sharing a life with her. Well she cheated on me with multiple people including the person that gave her HIV in the first place. Now im scared to death that she has given it to me, i would not of cared had she been true to me and loved me the way i loved her. Now if i test negative i will never date someone with an illness such as HIV.

My advice is take it slow no sexual acts what so ever until you know they can handle an accept the you and the risk. I put a lot of time and energy into our relationship for nothing but the burden of HIV.

i have only beganto read your blog entries and feel so intune to your words and messages. so many things in my brain screaming "omg that was me!!!". My own 1 year anniversary approaches...january 13, 2012 and how far i have come physically and emotionally and how much of my life has changed. god if only i could sit down and talk with someone who understands the thought process. Even though we have never met i fell that we have walk together somewhere, somehow.
Tonight
when i return home my intention to read as much as i can about your journey in the hopes of finding more answers to my questions.

I red your story and can easily identify myself through it. I was diagnosed in February 2011 and on this day my girlfriend (at the time) and I went to get tested together; I was positive and she wasn't. Despite all the support she tried to show me at the start, she slowly began to fade away until the break up. First she started to put a friendly label on our status by calling me " a good friend", and later on, while I was showing jealousy because she was seeing other men, she put it right in my face by saying cruelly " Thanks God for saving me from getting your disease!" Another time while I was trying to explain to her that we can still practice safe sex, she added that I could always smell her [privates]. It was so insulting that I walked away for good. Despite whatever has been said, dating while positive remains the biggest challenge. I can't even say how long I have been going on without sex. Being positive seems to be the new kind of discrimination among human beings. I love your story and admire your courage because through it all, you found the strength to go on and keep your head up. Finding HIV support group is the best way to finally find yourself; it's like interacting with people of your own race. The best thing to do is to take care of your health, focus on yourself for a while and learn to know yourself and your environment. Stay healthy is your main priority for now; that's what I try to focus on. I am happy that you found your way despite all the barriers put in place to brake you down. Always remember; you're not alone, we're all in this together. Have a wonderful holiday!

I am in kind of same position. Have met a guy i like and so far just phone talk getting to know each other. I to am hiv poz viral load undetectable and good health. I am 61 found out year half ago. I want to move alittle forword with this, we are in different states but i like him and want to move closer to some sort relationship. I am afraid him being a younger guy if i tell him i am hiv poz he will wig out and all will end! So it scares me to tell him this early and then it still scares me cause it think it cold be serious. The last thing i want to do is share my disease! I would not want to jeopardise anyones health because of stupidity! even though the person whom i contracted from never did tell me....i dont want to be afraid to meet a person everytime and only to find they reject me. So my dilemma is do i tell him and suffer the consequence and if he cant handle it would have to m8ve on but i dont want to quit with him yet!

I read your blog and I myslef experienced the same thing this past year met this guy and he said he was really into my,I realized he needed to know my status his only thought was sex an sex only. I then made the decsion to disclose and it was the worst I no longer see him nor talk to him that made it even harder but later like you I had someone interested in me,one day he came over and he told me how he felt for the past year . I then realized we connected and realized his heart was in the right place so things started moving fast emotional level he never made any sexaul advances at all after two months I had to tell him. When I disclosed to him it just happened , I sat on his lap and we where talking I told him I had something to tell him so I did he told me it didn't matter because he loves me so what I am saying is theirs no plaining your heart will will let you know. You can find away to make it a topic to see how he feels about hiv then go on his feels it helps if you really care for him you will know ask god to help.........

Well i live in south Africa and i'm looking to find a husband HIV Positive so i over the drama of being the one that's got the problem. Cuz dating neg. guys means i'll be bullied for the rest of my life. I get told all the time if you dont like it leave, constantly. I don't even have the energy to complain anymore cuz he know's that i'll never leave. To afraid of dating and being rejected. He does love me but the power trip his on is killing our love and the mutual respect we once shared, is an amazing individual and the best lover i ever had!! Just my luck i met him 3 weeks before i discovered my status. His the man of my dreams , only one little prob. i'm HIV POSITIVE & HIS NOT.I'd like to know where i can meet people with HIV proffesionals, working class people, single & married, with kids just to see how my life can be. I've known my status for a year and just started ARV'S, so i feel like i should be doing so many extreme things but at the same time i just wanna stop a sit quietly to see what happens. Dating is not the issue, getting them to stay is.... I dating a neg. guy means i'm always putting him at risk and that kills me, cuz i love so much. Help.... I know this has no relievence to your block. But i felt the need to share.

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This page contains a single entry by Anonymous published on September 24, 2011 3:43 PM.

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