Relationships and HIV
It is not unusual to feel confused and uncertain about future sexual relationships when diagnosed with HIV. Because HIV is a sexually transmitted disease, it is unsurprising that having HIV has a direct impact on sex in a relationship. It is important to remember that being HIV does not need to define who you are and it is still possible to have rewarding sexual relationships.
However, it is important to note that you are obliged to tell your partner about your status before any sexual activity occurs. In some US states this is the law.
How Is HIV Transmitted?
HIV is transmitted in bodily fluids. This includes blood, ejaculate, pre-ejaculate, vaginal and cervical fluid and breast milk. The HIV virus gains entry to another person either through the lining of the vagina or bowel or into the bloodstream. HIV can also be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or the birth.
When To Disclose Your HIV Status?
The prospect of telling someone in a new relationship that you are HIV infected can be very daunting. It raises issues about confidentiality and keeping your status a private issue. You may fear not only rejection but also the negative judgments and stereotypes that can accompany HIV.
Deciding when to disclose your status is a difficult decision. It has to be discussed prior to starting a sexual relationship but individuals have to decide at which point in the relationship is right for them.
Tell your date immediately - some people think that it is better to disclose their status very early on the relationship, maybe even on the first date. One benefit of this school of thought is that there is less emotional attachment. If rejection is going to take place it might be easier to cope with before any attachment has taken place. Also, waiting several dates to disclose the news could be perceived as dishonest and misleading.
Wait to tell - the other opinion is that it is better to go on a few dates before disclosing your status. This allows you time to see if the relationship is going to progress. If the answer is no, you will not have disclosed your status unnecessarily.
Dating Tips for HIV Positive people
Even if you are dating someone who is also HIV positive, you must practice safe sex in order to prevent reinfection and the infection of other sexually transmitted diseases.
Be prepared for a potentially negative reaction when you disclose your status to your date.
Don't lose your self esteem. Having HIV doesn't mean you have to compromise your goals.
Understand that sexual relations with someone who is HIV positive may be too complex for some people, especially those that have trouble taking risks in life.
For some, being HIV positive can bring a positive quality to the relationship. The uncertainty of the future encourages some couples to focus more positively on the present.