When I was first diagnosed HIV positive I was afraid that no one would ever love me again. So, I didn’t really pursue dating until I became a little more comfortable with my status. And even then, I decided I would only date men who were also HIV positive. This way, disclosure would be easier and they would have an understanding of the necessity of using protection. Unfortunately, this option limited the choices of the men that I could date.
Even when I decided to live publicly with my status, I wasn’t sure that negative men would accept me being HIV positive, but it opened up new dating possibilities and as long as I disclosed to potential sexual partners and protect them and myself all would be well, right?
Of course not. It just was not that cut and dry. The very first mixed status relationship I tried to have had to end, oddly enough, because even after I disclosed my status, he did not want to use protection! Yes, you read that right, he did not want to use protection. So I told him that his choices were not "with or without" but "with or not at all".
Before I go on, I need you to understand that for me, because I live openly with my status, I decided that disclosure at the beginning would be the best option for me for two reasons 1.) If someone they know also knows me and knows my status I would not want it revealed except by me. 2.) If my HIV status is going to be the deal breaker, personally, I would rather it be sooner then later.
So, I met someone else I thought I was interested in and disclosed my status and he asked me why would I lie about something like that and told me if I just wasn’t interested that I should have said it. So, frustration started to set in and I began thinking I should go back to my first thought of exclusively dating HIV positive men.
Then finally I met him...the one who would change my mind about dating. Now, I liked him a lot and disclosing my status to him was harder then I thought it would be, because like I said, I really liked him. I mustered up the courage, told him I was HIV positive and his was response was “And?”. I was so shocked at the response that I had to ask him if he heard what I said. He told me that he heard what I said and that it didn’t change his feelings. He admitted that he didn’t know much about it but would be willing to learn what he needed to know to keep us both safe. So I didn’t limit myself and I found a great guy who is not ashamed or afraid of my HIV status. It’s really a personal choice but we don’t have to limit ourselves just because we are HIV positive, because HIV positive is not all we are.