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Dating again
Oct 1, 2003

Michael; First I would like to thank you for being a participant in this forum. It is much appreciated. Here is my dilemma, I have been HIV positive since I was 18 (I am now 34). During most of that time I was in a monogomous relationship with someone but the relationship ended a few years ago. I am at the point where I am dating again and I met someone that I really like. We have been going out for 3 weeks and are approaching a point where the relationship is about to get sexual. I have not disclosed my HIV status to this person yet because I wanted to get to know him first. Now that I know him a little I am not sure how he will react to the news that I am HIV positive. I do like him but am worried about rejection. Plus, he seems to know alot of other gay people in our community and since this is a small community I am afraid that my status will get out. You never know for sure how someone will react. Any advise? (There is no HIV support group in my area, I've checked).

Response from Mr. Shernoff

When you say you have been dating for three weeks and have not yet disclosed being HIV+ I just hope that the two of you have not been sexual, even if you had safe sex. It is always best to inform any person that you feel the potential to be in any kind of an ongoing relationship with that you are HIV positive prior to sleeping with him so as he does not feel that the trust is violated and to protect yourself from becoming more deeply emotionally involved with someone who may not want to date a POZ man.

All I can say is be honest with him. Or if you sense that he may not take it well, perhaps you may choose to end the relationship without disclosing. You have to carefully evaluate whether he has in fact given you concrete reasons to raise your concerns that he will not want to date a POZ guy or whether you are being overly sensitve or even paranoid.

Let's say you do choose to tell him. Yes, there is always the risk that this information can become public. Why would this really matter, even in a small city or town? Once other people know you are POZ, that is no longer a secret that you are burdened with hiding.

Michael Shernoff, MSW



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