Dating can be challenging for anyone, but when you’re living with HIV you have several additional things to think about, including whether you want to date HIV positive or HIV negative people or both, and things such as disclosure, protection, stigma, and so on. Today, we’d like to discuss top 5 tips for HIV dating to help anyone out there struggling with their status move past it, and date just like everyone else.
#1: Other People’s Status
When it comes to dating with HIV, you can opt to date only poz people or if other people’s HIV status doesn’t concern you, you can always opt to date HIV negative people as well. If you’d like your partner to be positive, consider going to places where people living with HIV meet up, such as HIV support groups, conferences, seminars or HIV dating sites. If you’re not concerned whether your partner is positive or negative, you can rely on the more traditional methods, such as meeting through friends, in bars, restaurants or cafes, or online. The sooner you reveal your status to someone, the better, and if you make a big deal out of it, so will they so try to relax and focus on what you can offer in a relationship and what you’d like in return instead of your status.
If you meet your perfect match in an HIV support group, disclosure clearly won’t be necessary, but if your potential partner is clueless about your status, that could create serious issues down the road. That’s why you need to pick a disclosure strategy that you’re the most comfortable with. You can opt for revealing your diagnosis before the first date or on the actual date, and that way there will be less emotional attachment in case of rejection, and less privacy too because more people would find out you’re positive. On the other hand, you can choose not to disclose your status for the first several dates until you get comfortable with the person, but then you risk being hurt if rejected. The latter strategy protects your privacy because you won’t disclose your status to every date. There is no right or wrong answer here, it’s more of a personal choice that you have to make.
#3: Do Tell Before Sex
Although you may be tempted to keep your status to yourself out of fear of rejection, this is not a good idea for several reasons. First off, you’d be exposing your partner to HIV, and if you practiced unprotected sex you could still get other STDs or a different strain of HIV. Also, in many states it is illegal for a poz person to have sex with someone without full disclosure. Last, but not least, people lose trust in their partners if they find out they’ve been deceived. On top of that, not disclosing could increase the chance of your partner reacting with anger or violence. In order to avoid all of the above, disclosing your status before sexual intercourse with a new partner is a must.
#4: Disclosure Tips
HIV positive dating requires preparation before you go out into the world looking for a suitable match. For instance, talking to other people in support groups who have had disclosure conversations in the past can give you a better idea as to how you can do the same thing. You’ll probably be told to disclose your status in a public place if you’re not sure how your date would react, and needless to say, you should both be sober when you do this. Read as much as you can on living with HIV and practicing safer sex because it will make you more comfortable to talk about it.
#5: Don’t Take Rejection Personally
People living with HIV often feel less desirable and less attractive than HIV-negative individuals. It’s sometimes hard to remember that your status doesn’t reflect who you really are or what you can offer to others. You don’t have to settle for less because you’re HIV positive, and you should definitely not be with a person who isn’t right for you just because of your status. Looking for a loving relationship is certainly challenging, but in time and with the right mindset you’ll realize that anything is possible, and that if you’re ready to give and receive love the right person will come along when you least expect it.