The world of HIV has changed with so many advances being made. Including easier HIV regimens (requiring
Sadly stigma continues to have an attachment to HIV, yet even that is shifting as there are more people open to dating someone living with the virus. I should know as I’ve been in a relationship for the past 21 years with a person who is HIV negative.
We met online during the AOL chat room times. At that time I was all about quickies and not really looking for a long-term relationship. Besides, because I was living with HIV I didn’t think a relationship, long or short, was an option. I also thought I would only be attractive to someone who was HIV positive themselves, denied by others. Yet that turned out to not be true which took some risk of disclosure, but that disclosure affirmed to me that not everyone has hesitations dating someone living with the virus.
Sometimes people assume my partner is positive, and I have to correct their ignorance. In fact, we have had the most loving relationship we could squeeze out of the years we’ve been together. In that spirit, I would like to share some of my insights of being in a positive-negative relationship with advice for negative individuals who have recently started a relationship with someone positive or considering.
- You can still have a healthy sexual relationship
It was once thought that being in a sexual relationship with someone positive carried the risk that their partner would pass the virus to them. Even before
- Don’t freak out when we get a cold or some other ailment
Simply because we may catch a cold or get exposed to the flu doesn’t mean you have to come
- Don’t take it personally if I don’t want you to come to my medical appointments
Sometimes it may feel like we want our partner at every appointment we have with our HIV primary doctor, but it’s really not necessary. There is some value to taking a partner to an appointment only to introduce the doctor to our new
- Don’t watch me take my pills every day
This is my own little irksome annoyance and something my partner did early on. Whenever I took my daily HIV medication he would watch me like a hawk with Disney tears of sympathy as if I was swallowing a fistful of knives, followed up with him asking if I was okay. When this happened on a daily basis early in the relationship, I was tempted to put on a Broadway production each time I took my meds. But finally had to tell him to stop. Yes, it shows that your partner cares but in an ironic way. It wasn’t the pills that reminded me I had HIV, it was the increasing attention from my partner that reminded me of the disease. Others may feel different, but as I shared, this is one of my pet peeves. I feel there’s no harm in occasionally asking your partner how their HIV medication regime is going but there’s also a way of not being too intrusive.
- Don’t love me any different
The last advice is the simplest one. When entering into a relationship with someone HIV positive, don’t enter the relationship thinking you’re doing them a favor. Relationships are built on an equal playing field and not of one feeling they are either settling or someone coming into it as a savior. I would rather be alone if I knew my partner had those intentions. To have a long sustaining relationship, all you have to do is show love. It’s a simple as that. Our life doesn’t revolve 100% around HIV, so why would we want a relationship that does? But knowing that someone loves me for me, HIV status and all, is wonderful. Just prepare yourself for mutual affection.
And as a bonus:
- Don’t ever introduce me as your partner living with HIV. Simply don’t!
As shared, these are my own feelings when it comes to providing tips to HIV-negative individuals who are newly dating or thinking of dating some HIV positive.
I’d love to hear other tips that people have. Until then keep on loving!