With the ever increasing role of Internet dating in today’s society and a large number of HIV dating sites, HIV positive people are finally given the chance to equally participate in the dating scene. If you happen to be dating or are about to start dating an HIV positive person, there are some things you should bear in mind. Dating HIV positive people is generally just like “regular” dating but it does include certain sensitive issues, particularly those regarding the person’s HIV status.
Those who have been diagnosed with HIV have already been through hell and back and they finally managed to get their life back on track. What they need now is love, support, companionship, understanding, and, of course, some fun. What they absolutely do not need is you treating them like they are aliens of some sort. They don’t need your pity and they most certainly don’t need your judgment. Here are some general tips for what to avoid when dating an HIV-positive person.
This one is incredibly important. As we said earlier, HIV positive people have already been through so much. They have probably gone through a phase where they hated themselves for getting exposed and they definitely went through a phase where they had to deal with a tremendous amount of shame. Whether or not they have managed to become deaf to other people’s opinions on HIV and sometimes even open insults, they’ve heard it all by now. They do not need your judgmental opinion on how they “ruined” their life. So, your view on how irresponsible and stupid they were to get infected is either going to upset them or it’s going to annoy them. In either case, it’s not good. Don’t be a jerk and don’t judge.
Don’t Ask Too Many Questions
Allow your date to give you as much information about their HIV status as they feel comfortable with. Let them dictate the tempo and follow their lead. Of course, you can actively participate in the HIV conversation if your date initiates it, but don’t be pushy and don’t pry. Asking too many questions is not polite and, more importantly, it can be very frustrating for your date, as it may often feel like some sort of hostile interrogation. HIV dating requires a certain level of discretion and you simply have to respect that.
You probably have an opinion on how a person with HIV should behave and what kind of behavior is “acceptable” in that case. Please, keep that opinion to yourself. No one wants to hear it. Even if you mean well, you’ll come off as preachy and annoying and your date can easily end up offended. HIV positive people are generally well informed about their health and they can take care of themselves. They don’t need you telling them they should drink more water or lay off the beer.
Don’t Be Scared
Medicine has gone a long way since the 1980s and today we know so much more about HIV and AIDS than we ever did. We know that HIV positive people can live a long, healthy life and that they can enjoy dating, romance, sex, and have children. We also know that their HIV-negative partners can stay negative thanks to HIV prevention and prophylaxis. As long as you are informed about HIV and the ways it can be transmitted and act accordingly, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of when dating a HIV positive person.
Don’t Worry About What Others Think
Remember that the only opinion that really matters is yours and your date’s. Others don’t matter. What your coworkers or neighbors think about you dating HIV positive people is irrelevant. As for your close friends and family, well, it can be tough if they don’t approve of your relationship, but this is your life, not theirs. Don’t let the anxiety over “what will people think” get in the way of what could potentially be a beautiful romance.
Don’t Hold Back
If you’re going to do this whole HIV dating thing, do it all the way. Don’t let any negativity in and focus on your partner completely. Together, you can overcome whatever difficulty comes your way. The key is to be open, honest, understanding, patient, and optimistic. Treat this like any other relationship and give it your absolute best.