February 7, 2012
Being HIV positive complicates the dating game. Disclosing your status can be stressful since there is always a good possibility that you can get rejected. I think taking medications daily is not as big of an issue as is dating while being HIV positive. That is what I tell HIV-negative young people who think that HIV is a chronic manageable disease and do not see what the big deal is about wearing condoms. I tell them that taking pills is the easiest thing, but dating can be terribly complicated and stressful after you find out you are HIV positive.
Luckily, many people are meeting online and can disclose early during email exchanges, before emotional ties are established and more headaches can occur. But many choose not to disclose and put themselves in awkward situations in which they wait too long to tell the person they have been dating for weeks, which can potentially result in resentment from those people.
However we choose to meet a potential person to date, we know one requirement has to be met first: that person has to be HIV friendly and educated about HIV. But how do you meet people that have a better chance at meeting that requirement?
I tell my single friends that there is no better way to meet other poz people to date than to volunteer in nonprofit organizations, fundraisers, AIDS rides or walks, or to serve on Boards of Directors of AIDS organizations and other community-related work. In my 18 years of nonprofit work, I have met many a single man with a great heart and a desire to help others, which are two of the things I find the most attractive. Also, these people tend to be more HIV friendly (regardless of their HIV status). If you volunteer for a group or event, chances are that you will be seeing those people frequently. That can give you a great opportunity to get to know them better before you even ask them out on a date. Take a look at this listing of organizations.
Another very good way to meet other poz people is to go on retreats and trips that cater to HIV-positive people. I usually go to the yearly Poz Cruise in October, where 300 or so men and women hang out for a week of fun and relaxation. We have dinner together every night and get to know each other. And we have a rare opportunity to hang out with someone for seven days! Many couples have met on that cruise. For more information go to www.cruisedesignstravel.com/.
You can also choose to post your profile online on the different websites created for HIV-positive people to meet each other:
Last but not least, meeting new people through your friends and network gives you a unique opportunity to meet someone after you can get some input from others about that person. I know there is nothing worse than when a friend tries to set you up with someone who is not a match for you, but at least you get to meet people with some prior background information before meeting them.
It is not easy to meet other poz or poz-friendly people to date, especially if you live in a small town. Luckily, the online world has brought many people together that would not have met otherwise due to their worlds being so far apart.