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Beginning a new Relationship
Mar 12, 1999

Hi Michael, thanks for taking the time to read my question. I recently started seeing a man about 1 week ago. He has told me that he hasn't had sex for a few years, and I myself have not had sex for about 3 years (furthermore, I have been tested for HIV NUMEROUS times...but that's another story...a little compulsion, perhaps...anyhow, I'm negative).

My question is this: Is it reasonable to suggest to him (when we decide to become sexually active) to go for an HIV test after 3 months into our relationship? I'm not sure if I want to continue my obsession of HIV well into 6 months, and he may decide I'm a lunatic if I pressure him to wait for 6 whole months.

I guess what I'm really asking is this: Asking a man to wait 6 months seems really long. And I'm not sure I want to wait that long either. I understand that 3 months is long enough -usually- to be confident of a + or - result. What I would like to know is am I worrying and obsessing for nothing?

Response from Mr. Shernoff

I am hearing several things that I think you need to look at. The first is that you have only been seeing this man for one week. Slow down, fellow. It is not helpful for either of you to be projecting into the future after only a week.

When you ask about waiting six months I am unclear if you are thinking about waiting to have sex for six months and then be tested, or to wait to be tested again six months after the two of you have begun to have sex. I hear that your anxiety is very powerful and active, and this is getting in the way of getting to know this new man slowly, and cautiously enough, to see if there is enough of a strong romantic and/or sexual spark to be sexual with each other.

What's happened to safer sex? If the two of you are conservative when and if you do become sexual what difference does it make if he is positve or negative as long as the two of you do not do anything to possibly transmit the virus? I am being a bit glib when I ask what difference does it make if he is either negative or positive. But in terms of insuring that you remain neagtive, as long as you just act as if he was positive then you can be certain to remain uninfected.

You are worrying and obsessing about important things, but to a degree that is inappropriate for just meeting and starting to date someone new. I would guess that if you were not obsessing and worrying about this, then it would be about something else. If you have not already done so, I think this is a perfect reason to begin professional therapy in order to get help in learning how to manage your fears and anxieties in a more constructive manner.

Good luck, and remember not to do anything with him that could transmit the virus to either of you. Michael Shernoff, MSW



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