Dating can be a lot of fun, but it can also be really challenging. Then, if you’re someone who is HIV positive it can be even more challenging. I know for me, my dating life prior to my diagnosis and my dating life after my diagnosis are quite a bit different. I choose the word ‘different’ when describing it, because it hasn’t been horrible, but it did change.
Going back into the dating world after finding out I was HIV positive was really scary, actually. The thing was, though, I was only 24 at the time and was still very interested in meeting people and dating. I didn’t have a problem meeting people and having people be interested in dating me, but I had no idea how to disclose my status to someone I was interested in being with romantically. Honestly, each time I was hanging out with the first guy I started dating all that kept running through my head was the fact that I have HIV. We weren’t dating seriously, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Finally for my own sanity I had to tell him my status. I am happy to say that he was amazing about it! I have a few reasons why I believe he was so great about it. First, he already knew me as a whole person and had already decided that he liked me. Secondly, he was already educated about HIV, so he knew what was safe and what wasn’t. Also, I think the way I told him helped. I told him in a very matter of fact kind of way and in a way that was obvious I was comfortable with who I was. Although, I was extremely nervous I was comfortable and I think that was due to the fact that I knew a lot about HIV. After being diagnosed I became very determined to learn all I could about the virus I was living with. For me, being educated went hand-in-hand with being comfortable and confident.
Since then I have dated other HIV negative men and one HIV positive one and have had similar results. I feel very fortunate that my experiences have been so great, but the lump I get in my chest right before telling someone for the first time has never gone away. Today I am in a serious relationship with an HIV negative man. Yes, my HIV status is something for us to consider, but it does not change how he feels about me or how he treats me. Since meeting me he has made it a point to become more educated on the virus. He has learned a lot and is incredibly supportive. Our relationship is one filled with love, fun, patience, understanding and respect. Life is good!
To wrap it up I just want to say dating and love are possible after being diagnosed with HIV, and I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to sell yourself short due the fact that you’re positive. You still deserve to be with someone who makes you happy and who loves and respects you. I know it’s challenging, but remember challenging does not mean impossible.