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disclosure to new partner
Dec 14, 2005

Dear Expert,

I have been HIV + for almost 2 decades and am recently divorced from someone HIV +. I have 2 HIV - children and an undetectable viral load. I recently met a woman accidently at a childrens function (we both have small children) and there is allot of physical chemistry. We ended up in bed on our first date but amazingly I was able to keep it to just kissing and petting. I would like to give her the oppty to get to know me better before disclosing but also don't want to have to disclose after the fact-even if we are protected. I am already afraid of the reaction I will get after heavy kissing. I really feel like this could be something more than a fling or I would just walk away. Any suggestions???

Response from Dr. Remien

You are struggling with an issue that effects a lot of people living with HIV. While there are some people who disclose their HIV-positive status very freely and openly with people right from the start, most people are more selective about who and when they disclose. There are no "rules" that apply to everyone in all situations. You are right in being concerned about her potential reaction when she does find out, especially if it occurs AFTER significant intimacy. While it is important to respect one's privacy with such information, I do advocate for openness and honesty with people with whom you are becoming intimate. Why not continue to "take it slowly" in terms of sexual intimacy and look for an emotionally intimate opportunity to share with her this important information. It is likely to make for a better potentially long-term relationship. And if she "just can't handle it" isn't it better to find that out sooner rather than later?

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