Members of the LGBTQ community are still the most affected by HIV. Within that group, you have the highest HIV/AIDS epidemic’s impact on gay and bisexual men, and transgender women. Sadly, even though we have come a long way since the 80s and now have ways of keeping this virus at bay, the only community in which there is still a rise in the number of HIV infected individuals is the LGBTQ one. These numbers affect the dating pool within a community that is already marginalized. But it doesn’t mean it is impossible, there are a lot of singles on the HIV gay dating scene, it just takes time and patience to find the person who is right for you. Of course, having HIV means that some lifestyle changes need to be made both in your daily life and your love life, but with a positive attitude and the right approach, long and rich life is ahead of you.
Don’t be ashamed to seek help
Because of the stigma around both HIV and members of the LGBTQ community, a lot of people are ashamed to seek medical treatment. Firstly, because they are afraid of discrimination they might be subjected to by their healthcare provider. And also because a lot of them come from bad family situations and don’t have the right support network to help them get through it. But it is important to remember that there’s nothing to be ashamed about. Members of the LGBTQ community have a human right to good health care, and should not be judged based on their lifestyle choices. So, if a member of this community has engaged in unsafe sex for one reason or another, they need to get tested and seek treatment immediately if the test comes back positive. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and with the advances in medicine, HIV treatment is more effective than ever, and people with HIV have almost the same life expectancy as those who are not affected. Timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent a lot more complications further down the road.
Be socially responsible
This is important, HIV prevention is our responsibility. To protect yourself, condoms and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) are the best available options. However, there are instances, especially in socially vulnerable groups, that even with the best intentions individuals still get infected. In those cases, it is important to take adequate measures so as not to spread the infection. As was mentioned in the previous paragraph, if there is a reason to believe that one has been infected, testing is the essential first step, then treatment and lifestyle changes. One important moral obligation is to inform future partners about your condition, but also to educate them on the whole issue and how it is something you can live with.
Find your tribe
With the LGBTQ community being marginalized and a lot of its members having trouble with being accepted and finding a support system, adding HIV to the mix can be fatal. LGBTQ youth has one of the highest suicide rates, not to mention that a recent study has shown that around 40% of homeless youth are LGBT. The main reason for this is the lack of acceptance from their family. This results in fear of rejection and judgment that later on reflects in their willingness to seek help or get tested for HIV. This is why it is important for members of the LGBTQ community, especially those infected with HIV to have support groups organized within their inner circle. Whether it is in the neighborhood or the district, having a support group to help you work through the issues of rejection while bravely fighting HIV can be a life-changing experience. And it can lead to the infected individuals leading lives that are not on the edge of survival, but rather full and rich lives surrounded with loved ones.
Dating as a member of an LGBTQ community has its obstacles, but adding the HIV element makes it seem impossible. However, this does not need to be the case. Accepting the diagnosis, seeking help and finding the right dating pool can mean that you get to have a long life filled with love and support. It just takes time getting there.
This content is sponsored by Stefan Simonovic.