Serodiscordant and in crisis
Mar 21, 2011
I am a 29 years HIV positive woman in the relationship with HIV negative guy. We were together for few months before I discovered my HIV status. It was almost two years ago, but we are still together. I know he loves me, and I love him too. He was a great support for me after my diagnosis, to be fair, I think he is the main reason why I managed to stay relatively sane for the first few months. That relationship is very important for me. As for now, we are very happy, and thanks to the fact I feel very healthy, I generally don't think about my HIV status. I don't think it has much influence on my relationship on day to day basis.
My boyfriend takes blood test every 3 months. I think at the beginning he was stressing about that quite a lot, but since so far everything was fine, now he is quite chilled about that and he does it mostly out of common sense not actual fear of getting infected.
Me, I'm quite the opposite. I freak out every time he goes to the clinic. I cannot deal with the fact that I might have infected him. Usually it leads to a massive crisis in our relationship. Recently I came across the article on positive- negative relationships. The article was OK I think, but pretty much all the comments under it were saying, that any person who discovers they are HIV positive, should immediately leave their spouse, in order to protect them. I cannot stop thinking that is what I should do. Quite frankly, that will be a disaster in my personal life, but maybe it is a right thing to do. What should I do? Is there any chance of keeping that relationship?
Response from Dr. Fawcett
Thanks for writing. In my experience with serodiscordant couples, it is very often the positive partner who is more concerned about infecting their loved one. It sounds like your relationship is nurturing and healthy and I would caution you about the negative advice of the article you read. I know a great number of serosdiscordant couples, both gay and straight, who successfully deal with the stresses and anxiety of their positive/negative status. Success requires several things: commitment (which you have), each person dealing with their own feelings, and good communication skills. Here is a page from TheBody.com addressing some of these issues regarding serodiscordant relationships. You might find it helpful to get some counseling for your own anxiety. A "massive crisis" in the relationship that occurs whenever he is tested will have a serious impact unless it's addressed. The solution is not to break up but rather to face these feelings and challenges head on with loving support and respect for each other. Check resources in your area for serodiscordant couples. Many cities have support groups where you can discuss your concerns with others who know what you are going through. - David
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