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Emotional support for a new relationship and new diagnosis
May 10, 2013

My boyfriend and I started dating less than a month ago. He is + and was diagnosed right after our first date. The doctors think he contracted it sometime in March. I found out a week after he did and he just had his first doctors apt for medication today. The apt went well but I am really struggling with how to support him and still feel comfortable asking for my needs. He's still feeling a lot of shame and I told him we are in this together and I am choosing to be. I'm starting to feel very rejected because he doesn't show me a lot of affection. I feel like I am undesirable to him. We've talked about it briefly and he says he just can't get in the "mood" without the fear of transmission or shame of having it. What can I do and am how do I create a healthy boundary of being supportive and being direct about my needs in the relationship? Will his shame every diminish?

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi First, thank you for making the choice and decision to stay with him. As an woman living with HIV finding someone who sees me beyond my diagnosis has been an amazing experience as my husband is HIV negative. Everything that your partner is experiencing is normal! It is not you. Just continue to stand by him and allow him to become accustomed to his new life. Being patient with him and continuing to let him know that you love him and accept him for who is completely is the most important. One of our biggest fears is transmitting the virus on to someone else, especially our partners. I would recommend that you find a support group, a counselor etc so that you can find someone to talk with as well as he can. I'm not sure where you are located, but finding an HIV/AIDS service organization in your area and getting case management would be a great way to start.

Again, thank you for your continued support of him and just be patient! And remember it is not you, continue to love and support him!

Be well, Shannon



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