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A "Negative" Outlook: Dr. Steve Natterstad Shares Secrets to a Successful Magnetic Relationship

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    Steven M. Natterstad, M.D. When "Dr. Steve" isn't responding to questions from our Spanish-speaking readers on TheBody.com's Tratamientos forum, he runs the Frascino Medical Group, which provides comprehensive care for people living with HIV/AIDS. With his partner of nearly 17 years, Dr. Bob Frascino, he cofounded the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation -- a philanthropic nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS services. Drs. Steve and Bob live with their dog, Presto Frascino-Natterstad, in northern California.
    "I remember thinking to myself, 'If only Bob was a woman, he would just be the perfect life partner for me,' because that's where I was back then."
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    Drs. Steve and Bob.
    Drs. Steve and Bob.
    "There's always awareness that there's this elephant in the room. It's always going to be there, no matter how great things are going in terms of controlling HIV."
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    "Some negative partners may feel, 'If _I'm_ comfortable pushing things a bit or taking more of a risk, then that should be just fine.' ... That isn't the way it works. ... That positive partner may turn out to be more cautious for a variety of reasons that the negative partner has to respect."
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    "We like to dream about and discuss hypothetically when we'll be able to have a bit more of a carefree relationship in this regard. But I think we're holding the line there and basically staying tuned. We haven't altered our behavior based on any recent studies."
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    "You could look at a relationship like Bob's and mine and think, 'You guys are going to be together until the very end. Maybe there _is_ a place to throw caution to the wind.' It's a little different than being careless on a one-night stand, you might say."
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    "I don't think there are as many opportunities as there should be for HIV-negative folks \[in magnetic relationships\] in terms of support groups."
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    "If you do hook up with someone who's HIV positive, try to take part in that positive partner's positivity. ... It's a _huge_ part of the life of someone who's positive. That can really strengthen a relationship if the negative partner takes an interest."
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    Olivia G. Ford

    Olivia G. Ford

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