October 23, 2015
Table of Contents
Dating can be tricky for anyone, but if you are living with HIV (HIV+), you have some extra things to think about. Two important things to consider are:
If you are looking for a positive partner, consider going to places (online and in person) where you will meet other people living with HIV. These include HIV focused support groups, conferences, or dating websites such as www.hivnet.com, www.pozmatch.com, http://personals.poz.com, www.positivesingles.com, and www.hivpoz.net.
If it does not matter to you whether your partner is positive or negative, you can focus more on traditional methods -- singles events, places of worship, internet dating websites, online dating/personals ads, or networking through friends.
For many women living with HIV, the big issue is disclosure. How and when do you tell? There is no one easy or perfect way to tell someone you are living with HIV.
Often, it is not how or when you tell, but whom you tell. If a potential partner is going to find your status unacceptable, it may not matter when you tell him/her. Similarly, if a person is going to accept you and your diagnosis, timing of disclosure may not matter (as long as you tell before having sex).
There are two main approaches to when to tell:
Tell before the first kiss, often before the first date.
Wait until after a few dates when you feel comfortable with the person.
Is one of these approaches better than the other? Not really -- it is a personal choice.
Although you may be tempted to wait to disclose your status until after a sexual encounter for fear of rejection or embarrassment, there are several important reasons NOT to do this:
Some women living with HIV find it hard to think about dating because they feel less desirable or less appealing than HIV-negative women. It is important to remember that there is much more to you than your HIV. Your HIV status is not a reflection of your self-worth; try not to let it affect your standards. You do not have to "settle" for being alone or being with a person who is wrong for you because you are living with HIV.
There is no need to be afraid to have love in your life. Look for a loving relationship with a person who wants to be with you for you. Sex and being sexy can be important and exciting parts of your relationship. If you feel worried or guilty about the possibility of infecting your partner, make sure you know how to protect him or her by practicing safer sex.
Many women feel ashamed of or embarrassed by their HIV status when dating. These feelings are normal. However, if these feelings last and prevent you from dating, or lead to depression or isolation, it is important to get help. You may feel a good bit of relief even from telling one person you can trust. You may find a support group or therapist helpful.
Once you connect with others, you will probably begin to feel more self-confident. As you feel better about yourself, you will likely remember how loving you can be -- not just with yourself, but with others. And who knows? That love might turn into romance before too long.