May 14, 1997
I am curious to know whether people who test HIV-positive become emotionally drained due to the fact that they might never date again. Is this the case with people who are positive, or is dating not a very important aspect of their lives? It is imperative that I find this out. Thank you.
Response from Rev. Pieters
Those of us living with HIV can become emotionally drained due to many, many factors. An inability to find someone willing to date us can be a problem. There are people who will not date or get involved with a person living with HIV. Usually, this is due to a fear of becoming infected, and/or fear of being involved with someone who may get very sick and die. Personally, I get emotionally drained when someone I'm interested in rejects me solely because of my HIV status. Rejection hurts, no matter the reason. I get angry and sad. I get angry that the person doesn't know any better, and sad that there doesn't seem to be any reasoning with them. Then I realize that this reaction is a big clue, telling me that this man isn't the one God has in mind for me.
Fortunately, there are many, many folks today who are well-educated about HIV, and know that dating or being involved with someone living with HIV doesn't mean that you will get infected, nor does it mean that the person with HIV will necessarily get sick and die soon.
There are plenty of couples who do not share the same HIV antibody status (sometimes referred to as "sero-different couples"). They enjoy fulfilling sex lives with each other, thanks to safer sex techniques. Many of them are making plans for the future as new treatments are enabling people with HIV to live well and long.
And there are many people living with HIV who prefer a relationship with another person who is HIV positive. There are many successful relationships between people living with HIV, and they, too, enjoy fulfilling sex lives, practicing safer sex.
The emotionally draining part is getting through all those rejections by people who are making decisions based in fear rather than facts. When an HIV-positive person finds a partner (whether they are HIV positive or negative), a long, meaningful, and intimate life together is indeed possible! That is a fact. So it is frustrating when we encounter people who don't believe this. However, we can be sure that God has someone better in mind for us.
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