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Dating With HIV: My Experience and Thoughts

By Kevin Maloney

August 29, 2011

I am now 18 months post my dual diagnosis of HIV and hepatitis C, and nine months post successful hepatitis C treatment. I thought it was time to meet someone; no, not just for sex, but for something more. You see since my dual diagnosis I have felt completely asexual, and I'll admit, feeling a bit "tainted" too. Even HIV+ guys are hesitant to meet me when I tell them I also "had" hepatitis C.

So, wonderful, where does that put me in the dating scene? Someone would really have to be desperate to meet me! Recently I met someone by the name of "Dustin." He smoked, and I said I would NEVER date a smoker, but I have been desperate to make a connection with another positive individual. I thought I could ignore the smoke. He was handsome, professional, similar in age, and a sweet talker, among, um, other things ...

I hear the knock on the door, I'm a bit nervous, I look through the blinds (pictures match), and open the door to meet him. He reeked of smoke. We had some drinks, but all I could smell was the smoke emanating from him. Almost immediately I had withdrawn all interest, and my body language turned very cold. He got the hint, and excused himself.

I've met one other person since that night, and a non-smoker! While the physical connection was there, I couldn't allow myself to open up. Again, my body language turned cold, and he too left. Why am I having such difficulty meeting people, why can't I open up, why does my body language turn so cold, why can't I let anyone in? Before HIV I always had fear of rejection, having HIV compounds this fear. I feel like damaged goods.

I am also stuck in the mindset that I would never date anyone who is HIV negative, and think how could I ever be in a serodiscordant relationship? I would not want to give to someone else what I have, no matter how small the chance. I wouldn't wish HIV on anyone. I know that limits the pool of potentials as well. Since day one of my diagnosis I made a commitment to myself to always disclose my HIV status when it comes to dating, maybe this is my dilemma?

I've allowed my emotions over my status dictate my single life. I had withdrawn and isolated myself from the world. I am trying to slowly build the confidence again to meet someone, and crawl out from under the shadows of my illness. As alone as I feel with my diagnosis; I hold out hope. I have been in three relationships prior to my HIV diagnosis, and one for over two years. I've traveled the world, been on many adventures, have a creative and intellectual mindset, am caring, kind, honest and have a super loveable personality.

I keep the hope of meeting someone, because I know that really loving someone means loving them for who they are and accepting the whole package. I guess you would call that a soulmate and I believe that person is out there somewhere. So, today I make a commitment to myself to never settle for less than my heart's desire. And to anyone reading this with HIV/AIDS or any other chronic illness; YOU deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and YOU shouldn't settle for less.

Usually I am the one to offer tips and advice, but when it comes to dating and HIV I feel hopeless. I hope whoever is reading this will chime in. Are you in a relationship? How long have you been together? How did you meet? How long after your diagnosis did you feel comfortable seriously dating someone? Until next time ...

Sexless in Seattle,
Kevin Maloney
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