HIV Criminalization: To Tell or Not, That Is the Question

Submitted on Jun 20, 2023 by  Marig2016


Marissa Gonzalez and words "HIV is not a crime."

Since my 2016 diagnosis in Florida, I've always known if I don't disclose my HIV status to a sexual partner I could be criminalized. Essentially it didn't matter because morally I felt that I should tell the person, but at what point do I not get to put myself in a potentially stigmatized or worse situation? ? Oh, and did I mention rejection? Cause no matter how many times you "prepare" yourself for it, it still stings.

Modernized laws, which don't exist in all states, most often focus on intent to transmit vs disclosure. I now find myself in a state that does not require me to disclose my status but the depth of me still feels moral obligation. Above that, who wants to waste their time if HIV is going to cause someone to run?! I'd rather it be from the beginning and not after some time was invested.

I now find myself at a crossroad... as a 33 year old woman, who just wants to be sexually free; I want to go on dates, I want to potentially connect with a potential significant other. Hell, if nothing else, have an excuse to get up, look cute and have dinner with some eye candy... but at what expense?!

These are the conversations often not being had within our communities. "Oh but why not date someone else who's positive"? Respectfully and disrespectfully, it's an ignorant and outdated thought. SEGREGATION. That comment is no different than in the 40s saying there couldn't be interracial dating, or that black people and white people couldn't use the same restroom or water fountain...

I don't know what the point of this is. Maybe just venting at just one of the realities that exist in the world of HIV. Maybe someone seeing this will be compelled to have a conversation with someone who's not positive in efforts to end stigma. Even just if in the mind of one, it takes one at a time right?

In all seriousness when do you allow yourself to live freely without moral concern? Because let's be honest, CAN WE HAVE A REAL CONVERSATION? Ya girl has not dated since learning about her status. Don't get it twisted now, I've had my share of pleasurable fun with individuals who knew my status BUT to put myself out there to go on a date, find a potential life partner without putting my diagnosis on front street … nope, no way, wasn't happening in my book.

And yes, I know there are people out there who will accept my diagnosis but let me show you my profile dating inboxes so you can see how many nos there are before finding someone who gets it.

All in all, ya girl potentially has a date tomorrow and he is unknowingly not aware of my status. For the first time my dating profile doesn't share anything about my status or the work I do, which in essence feels like I'm hiding a part of me... so do I potentially go on this date with the likelihood of HIV lingering in my mind … or tell him before going?

I never realized how conditioned my brain was to Florida's criminalization law until potential incrimination was no longer a thing.

For more on HIV criminalization, dating and disclosure check out the below resources.

Submitted by Kat

This is not an easy one. I Live in Sweden. Here if you are undetectable your dr can give you permission to not disclosure your status.  I just feel that what happens if you meet someone and its not just for one night and you dont tell at  first, when are you gonna tell ? , or are you keeping it a secret through out the relationship, I think the latter is just supporting stigma, telling its not ok to be hiv pos.  It is ok to be hiv +, thats not who we are it doesnt define us, its a part of our lives journey. 

Go on the date , see where it goes and then decide if you want to tell. 

Submitted by Marig2016

That is so interesting that your dr can write a note for you not to disclose!  as for "hiv +, thats not who we are it doesnt define us, its a part of our lives journey. " i preach this all the time, but the real truth is that people, in the dating world specifically, often times in my experience when told upfront everything dies there... so it becomes discouraging when you just want to dress up and feel pretty while in the company of the companion of your choice, for me dress up feel pretty and have the attention on the opposite sex. i can appreciate my own beauty and dress up for myself but to be desired by another is a feeling we all deserve 

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