Dating Positive or Negative
Throughout my life, I have met many different people who are living with HIV. What I have heard from them is that they also would like to date someone who is living with HIV, because they would understand them better.
I always try to play devil's advocate when it comes to these types of things, and express that I completely understand what they are saying. I also ask if they would be open to dating someone who is HIV negative if they took the time to understand exactly their wants and needs.
Are you currently dating or in a relationship?
Dating, in my opinion
My current partner is HIV negative, but I would not be opposed in other circumstances to also date someone who is living with HIV. I believe that someone who is HIV negative, if given the time and opportunity, can understand to a certain extent what you may be going through.
They will not understand all of it, but they can learn ways to approach and care for you.
What you should know
If you are dating someone who is HIV-positive, there can be unique challenges that can arise within your relationship. With these challenges can also bring forth love, support, and respect for one another.
Before dating someone who is living with HIV, you should not only educate yourself on the topic, but also breakdown common misconceptions that you may have.
You can learn about medication adherence and how individuals who are living with HIV can take a pill a day to become undetectable. For peace of mind, you should learn all about transmission and what preventative measures you can take to address your own health, like PrEP.
Is your partner taking PrEP?
Open communication for the win
One major thing for both parties is constant work towards open communication. The person who is HIV negative should feel comfortable enough to ask questions to their partner. What this means is that the person who is living with HIV should not take offense to questions that their partner might have about their status. I try to always promote open communication within my own relationship.
I am guilty in the past of forgetting to take my medication with me on a weekend vacation. My partner knew that I did not take my medication in 2 days and asked if this could affect my viral level and change my undetectable status. I knew that I could not get upset, because he wanted to learn and help me maintain my health and wellness.
Treating disclosure with respect
Disclosure is also a big thing within a relationship. If you are dating someone who is HIV positive, and they are not out to the world about it than that should be something that stays between the both of you.
If someone is disclosing to you, you should always approach the conversation with support and empathy. Regardless of everyones status, a healthy relationship is one where you are listening to one another's concerns. This builds and reinforces a safe space together where each person's thoughts and feelings can be heard and validated.
Creating dialogue around all of these things with one another can help maintain and grow an amazing emotional connection.
What advice would you add to Steven's list for mixed status couples? Share your perspective and tips in the forums!
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