March 28, 2017
advice articles
Dating Someone Who’s Positive

Dating Someone Who’s Positive

Ok, so I’m a 20 year old guy trying to re-vamp my dating life, but without the club and bar scene (mainly because it conflicts with school, and it’s not really my scene anyways). So the obvious solution was online dating. I subscribed to a dating site, everything was going well, and then there was this guy who’s profile I really liked. We have a lot of the same interests, he’s insanely cute, and  he’s definitely someone I would like to get to know and possibly date in the future. But, he revealed in his description that he’s HIV positive, and as soon as I read that it was like a brick wall hit me. All the guys I’ve dated before have been negative, and I couldn’t focus after reading about this guy’s status because of the amount of questions running through my head… My standards are “no glove, no love”, so the issue of safe-sex isn’t a problem here, and both my sister and I are in school for medical degrees, so we’re pretty educated on this subject. But is pursuing this a wise choice? … Also, my parental situation for this part of my life isn’t very good, and I know I would be very anxious delivering the two bombs at once of ” hey, I’m going to live openly now, and by the way my boyfriend is HIV positive. Pass the chicken”. I love my family dearly, but I don’t know if my parents would be able to handle both these situations at once. … But, with my personality, and my intimacy standards, I can see myself getting past all of this and being able to have a healthy relationship with this guy…

I don’t know which of you is reading this, but I’m one of your subscribers and it’s easy to see that you guys have a happy and successful relationship. I don’t know if either of you has run into this situation with a friend, or Will has with any of his past boyfriends, but your advice would be greatly appreciated because I am utterly torn in what to do.

Thanks,

Michael from Ohio

Hi Michael!

I can definitely say that you are not alone in your dilemma. Neither of us have had any personal experience with that issue in our dating lives, but that doesn’t mean that we’re completely in the dark on this issue. HIV isn’t just a mystical curse, it’s a real condition that affects real people every single day: straight, gay, bi, trans…the whole nine yards. Luckily, these days, it doesn’t have to affect very much of a person’s day to day life. Sure, there are added responsibilities such as medication, regular medical exams, not to mention certain precautions (which, as you noted, should be normal protocol anyway). Other than that, though, a positive person has the capability to live a very normal, healthy, happy life, as do their partners and loved ones.

AIDS-at-30-Silence-Equals-DeathSo a lot of the fears plaguing you might have to do with outdated images from the days when HIV was a much more urgent crisis. Provided that your pos partner catches the virus early enough, they should be able to keep their health in check pretty easily. So his immune system isn’t going to suddenly tank. He’s not going to drop dead on you out of the blue, at least not on account of the disease. Sure, you and your sister know all of this in a theoretical, textbook sense. But there are some pretty haunting images still fresh in people’s minds from a very ugly outbreak that took place not too long ago. Not to mention that we’re still bombarded with graphic images and stories about HIV ravaging today’s third world. Those images are powerful (for a reason), but such imagery stirs up our emotions, and emotions can often interfere with our ability to think rationally. But how many positive people have you interacted with? Have you read or heard firsthand from any of these people about how their status affects their daily life? They are the ones who can really put stuff into perspective about how their status actually affects them on a daily basis. It’s that kind of practical ignorance that makes some of those earlier images harder to put in perspective. Because of this, I encourage everyone out there to obtain at least a basic education about HIV and how it affects people here and now. The sad reality is that positive people here in this country (as well as other developed nations) are very often subject to the same kind of irrational discrimination that we gays face, sometimes even to a greater degree. Sometimes it’s the stigma that affects them way more than the disease. This hatred stems from ignorance. And again, it’s not just a gay problem…it’s an everybody problem.

hiv-dating-agency-590xNow I’m not going to lie to you and say that dating an HIV positive person will be exactly the same as dating someone who you KNOW is negative (remember that a lot of transmission happens because people don’t know they have it—GET TESTED, PEEPS).  There are certain realities that HIV positive people and their loved ones must experience that other people don’t. But it’s nothing to despair. You can say that about any chronic condition. I have a sensory processing disorder as well as acid reflux, asthma, and chronic sinusitis, which is a particular pain in the ass when it comes to living in an area with lots of pollen and other irritants. Will has to be careful dealing with me if I ever go into sensory overload and start mentally shutting down or start experiencing an anxiety or panic attack. I also have huge genetic predispositions to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Will has a connective tissue disorder, a brain aneurysm (so he really could die at any moment theoretically), as well as genetic predispositions to auto-immune diseases like lupus or MS. He also has PTSD. We have to deal with our various conditions on a daily basis, and there’s a high likelihood that we’re going to need various forms of special care when we get old. But watching our videos, you’d hardly even know it. That’s not because we hide anything, either. We just don’t let those conditions define us as people. Even if the both of us were completely healthy in a clinical sense, the two of us are riddled with character flaws that can make us hard to deal with at times. Everyone has imperfections. It’s part of what makes us human.

Then again, dealing with all of those issues is fine when you’re with a person whom you genuinely care for. If you love the person, none of that other crap matters. You’re not going to know that until you date and get to know the person. This insanely cute, smart, funny guy could be the man of your dreams. If you never give him a chance, you’ll never know for sure.

I hope this at least helps you put stuff into perspective.

-RJ

About RJ

RJ is a blogger/vlogger/writer and the other half of the NotAdamandSteve duo. When he's not making videos or writing stuff online he's usually working out, traveling, telling you factoids you never asked for, working out, or spending quality time with his new husband and German Shepherd.

7 comments

  1. This is an incredibly insightful answer. A lot of the stigma towards HIV positive people also comes from the fact that, in a lot of places, nondisclosure of your HIV+ status is criminalized. This, of course, doesn’t mean that people who are HIV+ are criminals, but it definitely sends that message out into the world and adds to the already widespread fear of contracting the virus.

  2. Love your conclusion! To see such a thoughtful answer is really heartwarming. (this from someone 27+ years poz.

  3. Michael from Ohio be thankful that he put his HIV status in his profile. Not everyone does that. If you like the guy be honest with him up front and tell him how you feel about his HIV status. But also tell him you would like to get to know him and see if the two of you could knock that brick wall down. Maybe you can and maybe you can not. Not everyone can date a HIV + person. And that is not a bad thing. For good or bad if everything was equal and everyone liked the same thing this world would be a boring place.

    Sometime in the future it would be great if you did a follow up story to let us know how it turned out.

  4. RJ, Michael – I am an HIV+ man and have been in a fantastic loving relationship with a HIV- man (from ohio none the less) for the last 6 years. We met on a dance floor (really, I know) and I told him that night. Having this as a known reality from day one has made it so easy to be honest. I won’t say it’s never been a topic of discussion but the honesty it brings means we’ve been able to be honest about everything else. Who knows what will happen with this boy but enjoy the honesty and all that can bring.

    • Meeting people shouldn’t be tough. After
      all, the entire world is full of Em who are fairly and evenly divided by
      gender, height and so on. But as a review of literature stretching back to cave
      drawings will tell you, meeting — and hanging onto — the right person isn’t
      all that easy. This is where dating sites come in. They’re
      not perfect but they’re better than any old ways to find a date especially when
      you know you are poz. I suggest you to check out http://www.pozpersonals.mobi a site where you can find poz personals.

  5. Christopher Campbell

    My bf is positive. And I’m positive because a) he didn’t tell me at first, and b) I didn’t bother to take precautions. All that being said, I simply adore him. We clicked from the first moment, and are pretty happy after 8 months together. Granted, life has become a little more difficult with what seems like countless visit to the doctor, but he puts the biggest smile on my face every time I see him. There’s nothing wrong with having a relationship with someone who is positive. The only second considerations here would have been my decision not to use protection. I’ve always taken responsibility for that decision, and never blamed him. We care about each other and that’s the only thing that counts, in my book.

  6. I am HIV+ and dating someone who is HIV-. We have been together for 9 months and are very happy together. I told him from the day we met that I was positive because I have had people who were interested in me turn tail and run when they find out I’m positive. I assume that since there was a mutual attraction, that it was because of my status and their outdated ideas of what HIV does.
    My boyfriend was totally ok with my status and we have been very happy together. We take the needed precautions and are both aware that IF he becomes positive, it’s not the end of the world. It’s just a redefinition of what he needs to do to take care of himself. Thankfully with medical advances the way they are, living healthy with HIV can be much easier than it once was. These days all you need is one pill once a day and all is well.
    My advise would be to not let the HIV get in the way of meeting and getting to know the guy. If you hit it off and decide to take it into the bedroom, just be sure to take precautions. As a poz guy, I’m sure he knows what needs to be done to protect others.
    I wish you the best.

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