Help, I'm HIV Positive and I Want to Date! (Videos)
An Easy-Breezy Guide
By Patrick Ingram
August 5, 2013
So are you finally ready to dust off the cobwebs, get that old sexy outfit on, and get back out into the dating scene after dealing with the reality of living with HIV? Well I am here to offer some suggestions and advice based off my own experiences.
When I met with my therapist and was discussing my fear of getting back into dating she pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone and to be vulnerable. She recommended that I watch this TED.com video about Vulnerability. After watching this interesting video I understood that I needed to know that I was worthy of being loved by others, which can be very hard because I felt at that point that I was not. I had to be brave enough to put myself up there and be prepared for rejection or for things not working out because of my HIV status.
So, where do you the reader come into play and what can you expect?
- Rejection is something that hurts and is painful but expect it to happen. I am not saying to walk around paranoid, but always be prepared and/or ready for it to happen. It may be the perfect guy or gal but once they hear those there letters (HIV) they may immediately run for the hills.
- Understanding and having Forgiveness that someone can possibly be unknowledgeable about HIV and its stigma and rather not even attempt to learn about it. Lack of education on HIV and how it is transmitted is a reality. The location where I am now doing HIV testing is packed full of people who cannot even tell me what H.I.V. stands for, let alone tell me what the four major fluids that transmit HIV are. People who run and fear HIV are afraid of what they do not understand and we must recognize that. In my experience after having some conversation about what transmits HIV, what being on treatment looks likes and/or means, and how often I see the doctor actually reassures the person that I am taking the steps to take care of my potential partner.
- Broaden your horizons and stop being so picky! Give people who you may have never gone for the opportunity. Going on a date is just an event of going out with someone to get to know them better, and not opening your door and allowing them to move in. Remember, when you constantly typecast, you tend to run into the same habitual issues or face your well running dry. Be advised that there is no endless supply of gay, tall, dark-skinned, total-top, smooth, popular/well-known, ripped six-pack men out there that happen to know how to do the wobble.
- Be prepared to answer many questions. This is not necessarily a bad thing but ensure that you are up to date on your HIV 101. Don't be in a situation where you can't answer questions about something you are living with. It could definitely scare a potential suitor away.
- Have the confidence within and know that you do not have to just settle for less. Just because you are living with HIV does not mean under any circumstances that you should lower your expectations. I say shoot for the stars and if you fall you still hit the moon.
- Being open to dating someone who is also living with HIV. This should be a gimmie but if not greatly consider. I was not totally on board with that in the beginning; however, through my experiences it is refreshing to date someone who understands the ups and downs that come with living with the virus. Also they are for the most part educated and also in care, which is always a plus.
- If someone has a problem with your status let him or her go! Don't cry over spilt hopes and dreams. If someone is not willing to look behind HIV (something you are taking the necessary steps to care for) then don't attempt to look beyond his or her foolish behavior. Remember, like I say in many of my other blog posts, surround yourself with people who will love and adore you for the individual that you are and not the virus that so rudely accommodates your body.
- Work on you! I can honestly say that I can tend to get obsessed with finding love, dating, and wanting to never be alone. I have seriously spent countless hours working on me. The construction on me has been physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. So, take some time to really work on discovering who you are, where you see yourself, and who that potential person in your life might look like. Just know that the sky is the limit!
- Affirmations Affirmations Affirmations! Remember to keep your spirits high and when you feel like things are going down then do whatever it takes to turn it around. Say things like "I look amazing!" or "I am going to really impress on this date." Confidence is everything!!
I am also open to your ideas, thoughts, and own experiences when it comes to being HIV positive and dating. Shoot me an email or leave a comment below so I can be sure to include it in my YouTube video.
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Comment by: Arinola
Tue., Aug. 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm UTC
Have been diagnosed positive since my baby's pregnancy was 6months and that was 2010 and my husband has been a different person to me no sex infact he left me and my baby all by our self so I need someone to speak to about my life because and not happy
Comment by: Tom
Thu., Aug. 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm UTC
What's the best dating sight for posAtive people?
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Eleo
Tue., Sep. 10, 2013 at 5:25 am UTC
Tom are you gay or straight. I also would like to date and I am a lady.
Comment by: Musa
Tue., Aug. 13, 2013 at 3:42 am UTC
Im hiv + en preg i meet dis guy he is willin 2 fader my child like 2 b a step dat but im afrait 2 tel him dat im positive afrait dat he wil leav me.en i also feel like im btrayin him by nt bein onest about my status hw could i tel him dat im afrait plez help
Comment by: Agnes
Tue., Aug. 13, 2013 at 1:00 am UTC
I think it easier for gay men to find partners easier than it is for us heteros. I personally know of many that don't even bother to try because most of us, including me have been rejected. Times are still tough with this stigma. There are those out there that feel that HIV/AIDS is a death sentence and they would not touch you with a ten foot pole.
Replies to this comment:
Comment by: Steve
Thu., Aug. 15, 2013 at 3:43 pm UTC
I hear ya! I've told men that have asked me to go home with them, that I was HIV + ! The first thing out of there mouth, "I can handle that!" They would rather not discuss it and go have a good time. It's easier for them, to not know. It's our duty to let a guy know! If you get rejected and I've been rejected several times, then you move on! It's truly not about you. It's about their ignorance! Date w/ in the HIV community!
Comment by: Tony
Tue., Aug. 20, 2013 at 7:28 pm UTC
I have been living with HIV for a long long time. I have been rejected, but more often I have been accepted. I even have had the good fortune to settle down and have a child with a accepting woman. I think a lot of men want to be strong and care for a spouse, so don't be defeated. A good man will see through whatever flaws we have in order to see the good.
As another poster recommended, you can date within the HIV community. I did that too. But ultimately, it was double the trouble. Sure they could understand, but there were points of my drama is worse than yours.
It will work out. Be up front. If you accept having HIV as part of your identity, it is easier. Be open. Be proud. You're a survivor of adversity. But always take those meds. Women very rarely infect their partners. If your viral load is undetectable, you'll have no worries. Stay safe and be happy.
Comment by: Penny
Wed., Aug. 21, 2013 at 8:16 am UTC
I totally agree with you. The stigma is overwhelming and being rejected is a given.
Comment by: Ndumie
(South Africa, Jhb)
Fri., Aug. 9, 2013 at 11:42 pm UTC
I guess we have all experience rejection because of our status. It over 2 years now for me without dating. If anyone is looking for a decent, God fearing, honest and positive lady who is hiv+ I''m here.
Comment by: Ishaku
Fri., Aug. 9, 2013 at 4:00 am UTC
I am really impress by your write up. It brings back hope. Actually, i was diagnosed positive in 2007 and ever since tried to date again but each time failed. The problem with me was that i seem to always like people whose status i am not sure of. However, your blog says to broaden my horizone to include people with the same status. I hope this work for me cause i wish to even find a life partner.
Comment by: jimwhoksi
Thu., Aug. 8, 2013 at 3:02 pm UTC
God bless your therapist for opening up your mind to trusting others and sharing your status Patrick. I was living in denial even after mentioning my status to friends in 1991 when being hiv+ wasn't as accepted as it is today. Today I'm on dating sites that the average person uses instead of limiting myself to sites for people living w/ std's or those just for people living w/ hiv. I'm open about my status on facebook and to certain people I meet in person. I was brought up to keep things private and knew little about my own relatives health and personal issues which I am still learning about today and I'm 52 yo. I started seeing a professional in mental health about 10 years ago. I put things out there today in hope that it will help another to see that it's ok to come out about our status. There's nothing to be afraid of unless you let bullying, gossiping and rejection get to you, which we shouldn't. Negativity will always be a part of life but that doesn't mean we should take it to heart. I got my little blessing from being an IDU back in the early 80's. My friend who I first used shot up with in 1982 died of pc pneumonia in 1986. The same year I stopped using needles after being locked up. I stayed in denial until I got AIDS/pc pneumonia myself in August of 2000. It's been a life style change since and is why I call it mt blessing. Dodging death still with other issues but even with all my health issues I'm still healthier than ever before it now that I stopped all my vises and take good care of myself. Keep the focus on you, get some spirituality in your life, keep a positive attitude, laugh often it's great medicine and hold your head up high with a smile upon your face being proud of who you are, a person who's blessed to be wiser and stronger then before. God bless and keep the faith.
Comment by: Lee
Thu., Aug. 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm UTC
This article is so reassuring. I recently had a handsome guy pursuing me which was a bit of a dream. He wanted to do bareback. When I told him my status, he was in a dilemma. So I advised him to leave it and move on. Painful for me but glad I was able to help him handle a situation. I wasn't prepared to educate him and advised him on options as I hardly knew him.
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Patrick is a gay African-American male who is living with HIV. Patrick was diagnosed December 1, 2011 (World AIDS Day). Never the kind of individual to accept defeat, he has worked hard to spread awareness, education, resources and support to his community. By using his blog, his YouTube channel, and working alongside the Northern Virginia Gay Men's Health Collaborative and the Fredericksburg Area HIV AIDS Support Services (FAHASS), Patrick has worked hard to empower youth and people of color to know their HIV status and take steps to continue to care for themselves (positive or negative).
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Other Articles and Videos by Patrick:
My Letter to HIV: A Letter From Patrick Ingram
Day One With HIV: "A Shadow Came Over My Head" (Videos)
What About Black LGBT Pride?
My Greatest Fears
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