Truthfully, dating is anxiety-inducing for most people. But if you’re HIV-positive, you may feel especially vulnerable getting into a romantic relationship.
When do I disclose my status? What if they reject me? How can I explain that transmission is 100% preventable?
Dating with HIV is probably better than it has ever been in the past. More people are aware of how HIV is transmitted, in addition to the methods that can prevent spreading the virus. But, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, UNM Truman is here to clear up some myths about dating with HIV. Here are the facts.
Finding the Right Time to Disclose
Many people try to find the right time to disclose their HIV status. This varies from person to person. In a perfect world, we would feel confident and comfortable with sharing our HIV status with everyone. But, the truth is, you never really know how someone is going to react.
Disclosing HIV status before a sexual encounter is a good way to ensure that safe, lower-risk sex will occur. Being honest and upfront is the best way to start any relationship, after all.
HIV Prevention Methods
When one partner is HIV-positive and the other HIV-negative, they are known as a discordant couple. And there is plenty of support and prevention options to maintain the HIV-status of each partner.
When used consistently and correctly, condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV. If an HIV-positive individual practices medication adherence and reaches an undetectable status, the risk of transmission also decreases significantly.
PrEP, which has gotten a lot of attention lately, is a medication that can be used to prevent HIV infection in discordant couples. However, PrEP must be prescribed by a physician. It is taken daily and is meant to be used with other prevention methods. With perfect use, it is 100% effective in preventing HIV transmission.
Dealing with Rejection
There are so many people out there who do not understand HIV or how it can be prevented. If someone reacts negatively, it is not because of you. It is because of their own HIV stigma. If they can’t see what an awesome person you are, that’s their problem.
Dating Someone Else with HIV
There are plenty of dating sites where you can find singles who share the challenges of living with HIV. But, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to use protection. HIV has multiple strains and your partner’s HIV may be different than yours. Condoms, medication adherence, and HIV couple’s counseling can keep both of you healthy.
The Bottom Line Is…
HIV is a part of you, but you do not have to be defined by it. You deserve love just like anybody else. Go out there and have fun! And contact us if you need guidance with HIV prevention strategies. Free condoms are available at our front desk!