When you have HIV, you often feel like you are marked with a scarlet letter, no matter where you live. While this is definitely a problem that has been around for decades, HIV positive people get to choose how they will perceive themselves. At the end of the day, how you see yourself matters the most.
As long as you can accept who you are, that you have HIV and that it does not change what you have to offer to your potential partners, narrow-mindedness should not bother you.
Since we believe that you can stay sex-positive with HIV, today we will talk about what your options are when it comes to your sexual life, how to regain and maintain a healthy and positive outlook on sex, and why you should not turn to celibacy just because you are HIV positive.
What Does It Mean To Be Sex-Positive
Sex-positive is a term closely connected with feminism, but its philosophy goes much deeper into human psychology. It is also connected with the societal tendencies to make sex taboo. Being sex-positive means having a positive attitude toward any kind of sexual behavior, as long as it is explicitly consensual and safe for both partners. In a civilization trenched in the religious belief that sex is a sin, this philosophy stands for accepting sex as a natural and positive thing, no matter who the participants are.
Members of the sex-positive movement are still aware of all the dangers that come with sex, primarily STDs and unwanted pregnancies. This is why they advocate exhaustive sex education that allows open-minded people to maintain healthy and uplifting sexual lives while being aware of numerous available protection methods.
However, it is very difficult to keep a sex-positive attitude when you are diagnosed with HIV because most people initially react to the news by avoiding sex altogether. Needless to say that this is not a healthy way to process your newly-found situation, not to mention that all the worrying will only make you feel worse. It is fine to take some time for yourself to accept what is happening and to acquaint yourself with what is ahead of you since living with HIV brings certain changes into your life, as you certainly know by now.
Work on being comfortable in your skin, surround yourself with the people who love you and who you can trust, and start doing all you can to get back in the game as efficiently as possible, whatever that means for you. The surge of top-quality HIV dating sites puts a variety of excellent tools at your disposal that can help you meet new people, share your experiences, and find somebody that could help you on your journey.
Use Your Condition For Personal Growth
We know that even dating can be very difficult when you are HIV positive, seeing you have to come out of the closet practically every time you meet someone you really like and want to be intimate with. The solution is honesty. Your potential partner has to be aware that you have a health condition that could affect them and you must tell them about your HIV status before you have sex. This is the scary part because you can never tell if the person is going to run for the hills screaming and yes, this is something you will face pretty much all the time until you find that special someone.
This risk of ending up hurt is inevitable, but it will also help you grow as a person. If someone cannot handle the fact that you are HIV positive, then they are not the right fit for you. The sooner you both realize this, the better for both of you.
Once you meet someone who is willing to listen to you after the words “I am HIV positive” come out of your mouth, you know you have found someone worth keeping. Maybe they will need some time to think about what you told them and they will definitely have some questions for you, but having someone mature and loving next to you after everything you went through will make the effort worth it.
Finally, meeting other HIV positive individuals on HIV dating sites might be the right way to start things. On these platforms, you can get to know both people who also have HIV and folks who are ready to date HIV positive individuals, so there is no need for awkward conversations and there is no room for rejection based on your HIV status.
Safe Sex Is Still A Must
If you are dating someone who is also HIV positive, sex should not be a problem. You still have to use a condom to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Bear in mind that an STD in your system can worsen your HIV, which is why you need to put safety first and protect both yourself and your partner at all times.
The situation is more complicated when it comes to mixed-status relationships. If you are dating a person who does not have HIV, there are several precautions you should take. The pressure not to jeopardize the other person in any way can be truly overwhelming, which is why you should approach sex slowly. This is again where sex-positivitycomes into play. A healthy attitude toward sex – devoid of fear and insecurity – is what will make your relationship flourish.
Naturally, the use of condoms is paramount. Both male and female condoms can be easily found in any pharmacy, so you have no excuse not to use them. There are individuals out there who still choose to have unprotected sex despite the fact that they are HIV positive. Some of them do not even tell their partners they have HIV. Do not be one of those people!
Another way to minimize the possibility of infecting your partner with the virus is ART – antiviral therapy. When it comes to this, your consistency and dedication are what counts because the therapy will only be effective if you take it seriously. The advantages of ART are many, the biggest one being that the virus will be much less present in both your blood and your bodily fluids, which means your partner will be much safer.
There are some preventative steps your partner can take as well. One of them is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). These are medications that your HIV negative partner can take in order to significantly lower the possibility of getting the virus. This, combined with ART and condoms, is your partner’s safest option. There is also post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which can be used after your partner was openly exposed to HIV.
When it comes to the act of sex itself, any form of penetration is considered a health risk that can be diminished by the aforementioned preventative measures. Oral sex is not completely safe either, so always be sure to wear a condom. Anal sex is pretty risky, so bear that in mind when experimenting in the bedroom.
All things considered, having great sex with HIV is not a myth as long as you take all the precautions necessary to protect yourself and your partner. The most important thing here is to keep a (sex) positive attitude toward yourself and your sexual life and everything else will eventually fall into place.
Maintaining a sex-positive mindset is hard enough even without being diagnosed with HIV. However, if you muster the courage to deal with your condition in a productive way, you WILL be able to use it to grow as a person and become a better partner and human being. Just because you have HIV, it does not mean you should distance yourself from the rest of the world and let your regrets and self-pity destroy not only your sex life but life in general.
Of course, there will be some new rules and limitations, but following them will allow you to build flourishing sexual relationships while keeping yourself and your partners perfectly safe. As long as you keep things honest from the get-go and do not let rejection mess with your self-image, you have nothing to worry about.
One of the most important things to realize is that you are not alone. Many people live perfectly normal lives in spite of their diagnosis and are able to maintain sexual relationships, fall in love, do their jobs, and contribute to society. On the other hand, many of them do not have those things only because they chose to let their illness defeat them.
Bottom line, it is up to you to re-make yourself and choose how HIV affects you. The weight of the world will seem unbearable at times and you will be on the verge of giving up every single day, but you will not do it. The advice provided here will help you persevere and rise from your personal tragedy with a whole new outlook on life; one that will have you laughing at your darkest thoughts and embracing sex once more for the beautiful thing that it is.