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At a Loss with no Hope?
Jul 17, 1997

Hi.. I'm a 27 year old female who is HIV+, I generally have a good outlook on my life but recently feel overwhelmed with the possibility of loosing something that I feel very important to me. For the last three years I have warded of men altogether, not allowing anyone to get close to me out of fear that I would give them this disease, but now I have someone in my life who I want to get to know better, and test the waters to see where things may go. Problem is that he is HIV- and is scared to death of getting this disease, and I'm just as scared about giving it to him. I do love him, he's my best friend and I feel wonderful when I'm with him, but at this point I don't know if there is any hope for us. He loves me too, but says that he won't ever be in love with me because he just can't deal with the thought of ever getting this disease, and he has a lot of forces around him telling him to stay away from me. I don't know what to do, but I don't want to loose him, he is very important to me. I wish there was some way to reassure him and let him know that there are relationships like ours out in this world that can and do work out, but everything seems so bleak to even me. He's a good man, we share everything with each other and he thinks it would be best for him if we kept it at just friends, and in my heart I know that is what is right for him, but can't accept that this is the way it has to be when we both want otherwise. He says that if it wasn't for the disease we would have no problems that he can think of. I just don't know what to do. Please help me. T.

Response from Rev. Pieters

You're certainly not the first to face this dilemma. It is ultimately his decision whether he wants to be involved with an HIV positive person, but you can help him make an informed decision, rather than a decision based solely on fear. Give him the facts, not the "what if's."

The fact is that there are many loving couples who are sero-different (one is HIV positive, the other is not). They have chosen love over fear. They practice safer sex, always using a condom. They have learned to live with HIV, and have discovered that life with HIV can be full of quality.

Beyond the fear of contracting HIV, your friend may be scared of watching you get sick. He may be afraid of your death, and may not want to commit himself to a relationship which may bring grief to his life.

With the advances in medical treatments, many persons with HIV are living long and healthy lives. There really is reason to have hope for good health and long life! Are you going to make decisions about your relationship based on "what if's"? If you are, then you must also consider the possibility that either of you could get hit by a truck, suffer heart disease, or any other life-threatening illness. Just because he is HIV negative does not give you any guarantees that his good health will last forever. Life is about taking risks. Anytime we commit to a friendship or a relationship we risk losing that person... none of us have any guarantees that we will be here tomorrow. All any of us have is today. I'm fond of quoting a Native American saying, "The quality of life is not measured by the length of life; but by the fullness with which we enter into each present moment." This applies to him as well as you.

If this is a genuine love which comes from both your hearts, then you are right to pursue the relationship. You have every right to pursue it. People with HIV are as entitled to a love relationship as people without HIV.

If, however, he is using your HIV status as an excuse to get out of committing to you, perhaps he is not the right man for you.

Whatever the case, may God bless you in your loving.

Where do I go from here?
Am I Selfish?

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