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disclosing as hiv undetectable
Jun 29, 2005

I want to be involved in a relationship with a guy who is not positive. When we first met, he asked me quickly my status. I told him there is no hiv detectable in my system and I test regularly. I skirted his question. I have been undetectable for the last 3yrs with consistent tcells over 1000. there was a short moment when I had a viral load of 12k and t cells of 520. after discussing options with my doctor i decided to start meds right away so that i would never have to deal with sickness. i've never had to. I am in excellent health and very handsome and sexy. I have preformed oral on him and he has had my penis in his mouth (i wouldnt say performed oral). I do not like to talk about my hiv because i am so healthy and dont want to be seen as different or needy. Do you think it is fair for me to answer the question about hiv status in this way even though i know that i am skirting the truth. They last guy pressed me after i answered in this way and i just told him no, i am negative...which I knew was a stretch of the truth. when he evntually found out he felt betrayed. we no longer speak. this is all so complicated. i would like a word of advice on disclosure.

Response from Dr. Remien

It is understandable that you do not want to be seen as "different or needy." However, you are really answering your own question when you say you are "skirting the truth." And the outcome you had with "the last guy" is likely to happen again if you keep handling things this way.

While disclosure of a positive HIV status is not easy for many people, being honest and up-front is usually the better way to go, when it comes to sex partners. Yes, there will be rejection at times, but the consequences are generally much worse when that person finds out later after having been lied to, as you have found out. I've always felt that disclosure of HIV status (be it positive or negative) is a two-way street. That means it is up to both people who are having sex with each other to address the issue. However, be it right or wrong, most people feel that when a person knows that he/she is HIV+ then he/she has an obligation to bring it up and tell the other person. What I think is less debatable is that one should be expected to tell the truth when asked - skirting the truth is a form of lying.

In my experience, people living with HIV are much happier in their relationships (long and short-term) when their HIV status is known by their partner. They say it is worth dealing with the periodic rejection to have the comfort that comes from their partner knowing their status in any ongoing relationship. You are healthy and doing well with your HIV and there is no good reason that you cannot have a long-term, healthy, and a satisfying relationship with another person who is not infected. But healthy relationships do not have important "lies" going on between the two people in the relationship.


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