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Valentine's Day for Women Living With HIV -- Finding Your Heart, Soul and Voice

February 11, 2014

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Cecilia Chung Discusses Dating While HIV Positive and Transgender

Inspiring stories of people living with HIV.

In general, I'm very open about being HIV positive. People can actually just Google my name and find out everything about me -- like how many siblings I have, where I'm from, what I do. So it's really hard to hide who I am. And I warn people about it, that I'm very high profile. So, if you date me, be forewarned.

I think that that's one good thing about living a very open life, right? So that's how I'm dealing with it, in general. If someone doesn't know about my status, it's a two-way street. I try to really look at how comfortable I am with the person before I decide to go there. Yeah. If it's just the first date, I'm not going to go into all the details. There's really no reason. But I'll drop enough hints about who I am. And if they want to go Google me, they can go ahead and go Google me and find out.

So, now, since this is a question that comes up a lot among people who read our site and watch the videos, do you have any advice for people who are encountering the dating world as HIV-positive folks, as trans folks? Do you have any sort of tips or anything that has been helpful to you, or things that you've learned along the way?

I think that for people living with HIV, it's really about their own comfort level with disclosure. It's also about safety ... if they feel safe enough to disclose or not. I don't believe in compulsive disclosure. That is certainly not a vow, you know, that you have to disclose everything on your first date.

But also, in the Internet era, the other option is that you can always do email exchange until you feel like you've got all the things that you need to discuss out before you meet. You don't have to feel like you have to handle rejection in person. So that's the two options.

I think that that's the same for transgender people. It's especially true. It certainly helps to find someone who is accepting before you meet. Otherwise, for transgender people, it's easy to put ourselves into very dangerous situations. If someone didn't know, and finds out in person, it's a more risky situation, at times.

Make sure to watch or read the full interview with Cecilia.

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