Dating after you have been diagnosed with HIV seems like a distant memory. First, there is the initial shock and fear for your overall health, then comes the realization that you are going to have to make some major changes to your lifestyle. Dating is one of them. It is not going to be easy, but there is no reason to give up on finding love. If you don’t want to go through the process of explaining your situation on each new date, you could try dating within a black HIV dating community, or some other smaller dating pool if that is where you feel most at home. It will remove the awkwardness of explaining that you have HIV and you can speak more freely. Of course, finding the right dating environment is just one of the obstacles, there are others that you need to conquer in order to have a full love life despite your diagnosis.
Being open requires a lot of strength
Accepting an HIV diagnosis takes time. Luckily, due to access to modern antiretroviral treatments, HIV has become, in most cases, a manageable condition. Recent research from the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) has found that people with HIV who get adequate treatment now have a similar life expectancy to those who are HIV-negative. This means that you get to live a full life even with HIV. However, you can still infect others, so you need to be open and honest about your condition with your family, loved ones, and your dates. It is easier to tell to the people you know as there will be less judgment. However, being open to someone new, someone you have just met and only had a date or two requires a lot more strength. But it is important, being HIV positive is not something you should hide from someone you want to be intimate with. You might have to accept rejection, as each person is entitled to their own choice whether or not they feel comfortable dating someone with HIV.
Don’t let the fear of rejection paralyze you
As the previous paragraph states, there is a realistic chance of rejection, and it is completely normal. You should be prepared for that. Sadly, there is still a certain amount of stigma when it comes to HIV, and people who are infected. But you shouldn’t take the reaction of your date personally; they are responding to the disease and not to you as a person. Lack of knowledge about HIV leads people to come to a wrong conclusion. So, don’t let the fear of rejection paralyze you and prevent you from reentering the world of dating. And if you feel that you are not ready for that sort of judgment, you should consider dating within the HIV community. It takes out the need to explain and you will be in a much more accepting dating pool. You still need to be careful and use appropriate protection as there are different strains of HIV and if not being careful you can contract a different one, which can lead to complications in treatment.
Living with HIV is not easy, nor is dating when you have the virus, but it is your ‘new normal’ and some adjustments are definitely required. Accessible treatments will help you lead a long life, but it is your strength and courage to be open about it that will help you have a rich love life. You deserve to feel loved and you shouldn’t give up on that just because of your diagnosis. Conquering obstacles in dating with HIV is not easy but you can have your loving happy ending and even a family with a little planning and patience.
This content is sponsored by Stefan Simonovic.