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Where to Find Answers to Questions About Dating and HIV Stigma

March 23, 2016

Where to Find Answers to Questions About Dating and HIV Stigma


"Having HIV matters, but it need not stop you from dating or having a healthy relationship," writes social worker, sex therapist and long-term HIV survivor David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. From disclosure to safer-sex talk to the everyday insecurities that come from being open with others, HIV stigma can certainly throw some stumbling blocks onto the dating field. Many people living with HIV have been there before and have shared their experiences -- and some even answer questions about dating and stigma.

So, check out the resources below, and as David Fawcett advises: "Get ready and go for it."


In this article Fawcett details five things to keep in mind in the dating game -- including staying authentic, having fun and creating a strategy:

You can also ask Fawcett questions directly on his expert forum on TheBody.com!


The Well Project, an innovative organization that uses technology, research and story-sharing to improve the health and quality of life of women living with HIV, breaks down many questions and answers about dating with HIV, especially for women. Their fact sheet addresses questions such as:

The Well Project dives deeper into the topic of disclosure and dating in its article on HIV disclosure.


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Another TheBody.com forum expert, Richard Cordova, works with a dating and community website called PositiveSingles.com, which is especially for people living with all kinds of sexually transmitted conditions. Cordova reached out to those living with HIV and asked them questions such as, "How has HIV-related stigma impacted your life?" and "What's the hardest part about dating with HIV?" He summarizes their responses in this article:

You can check out the community at PositiveSingles.com for yourself. You can also ask questions of Cordova and his four expert colleagues on TheBody.com's Forum on Safe Sex and HIV Prevention.

A helpful hint: The questions on the forum are not "just" about safer sex. The collection of forum responses addresses all kinds of questions about dating and relationships, specifically for paramours of mixed HIV status -- like this encouraging advice from expert Erik Glenn in response to the question:


Want to know how to protect yourself legally while dating?

We know that HIV is not a crime: No one should be at risk of getting in legal trouble because they have a health condition -- something about them that they can't change. But, unfortunately, there are outdated, fear-based laws and precedents in well over 30 U.S. states, under which people living with HIV can, and sometimes do, end up in jail if a sexual partner decides to turn them in for potential HIV exposure.

The SERO Project is a network of people living with HIV dedicated to fighting HIV stigma in all realms, including dating, sex, disclosure and where these activities meet up with the law. SERO offers a wealth of resources and tips to protect yourself in dating situations. They’ve compiled these resources into a helpful, printable brochure, which includes stories of people who have been prosecuted under these unfair, biased laws.

SERO and other organizations are fighting to change these laws across the U.S. and worldwide. Find out more about HIV criminalization, and how you can become an advocate to end this stigmatizing practice.


This article from Emma Kaywin, a sexual health writer and activist, on Bustle.com is a helpful resource on the basics of HIV and dating, largely from the perspective of the HIV-negative partner -- complete with funny GIFs. Who doesn't love those!

This could be a great resource to share with an HIV-negative sweetie as you get to know each other better.


Speaking of GIFs, remember those "Shit People Say" videos that were all the rage on YouTube a few years back? Here's TheBody.com blogger Patrick Ingram's humorous take on the genre:

Patrick's post provides smart responses to dating bugaboos such as, "Are you clean?" and "How did you get it?"


Over at HIVEqual.com, an international anti-stigma campaign and online magazine, Tyler Curry breaks down five thoughtful points for an HIV-negative gay man to consider in a potential relationship with a guy who's living with HIV.

Also on HIVEqual.com, Jenny Block details an illuminating conversation she facilitated with women living with HIV on the topic of dating, the questions that came up among the women and the affirming answers the group shared.


On HIVEOnline.org, a community supporting the reproductive and sexual wellness of people affected by HIV, many heterosexual mixed-status couples have shared their dating challenges and successes. Take Joshua, for instance, who had many questions as he re-entered the dating field after his diagnosis -- including, eventually:


To hear from even more people living with HIV who've been there, check out the posts below, from TheBody.com's community of writers. These personal stories explore questions and concerns such as:

Olivia Ford is a contributing editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.


Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.


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