Intimacy and HIV
Before I found out that I was living with HIV, having sex was a beautiful thing. But after my diagnosis, being intimate with anyone changed a great deal. I always had in my mind that I may transmit HIV to the other person so it became easy for me to not want to have sex.
Sexual intimacy, fear, and guilt
I married a man who was HIV negative in 1999. Those feelings about being intimate were still there. I was always thinking, "What if he gets HIV?" Do you know how guilty I would have felt if that happened? My husband knew many people who died from AIDS-related complications and, although he was educated on HIV, I still had this fear of having sex with him.
My HIV never seemed to bother him...well, that’s what I thought. I was always afraid to ask him. I know I was because I was afraid of the answer.
My positive status bothered him
Well, 14 years later, I got my answer to the question that I didn’t want to ask. He said that being married to me and living with the virus bothered him. Those words cut so deep, but I was also hurt and outraged at him for waiting so many years to say this to me. After all the abuse from him and now he tells me this.
Moving out and gaining clarity
I moved on and raised our daughter in my home without her father, which was an eye-opener for me because I could now have clarity about my life. Sex isn’t love anyways, and some people get that part confused.
So in my 40s, I decided to not be in a relationship at all because it just caused to many bad emotions I didn’t want. I looked up 6 years later and I still had not been intimate with anyone at all. There was a man I dated for a year, but we were never intimate.
Did living with HIV make it easier to be alone?
The thing is: I was older and I just didn’t want to go into the long drag of telling the men I met that I was living with HIV. I was tired of that and did it so many times before I was married. Being alone let me know that I can do anything when I put my mind to it.
Learning more about myself
In those 6 years, I started school, worked full time, and enjoyed being with my daughter. I focused more on me as a woman and what I wanted in a relationship, if I allowed it. I still wonder if it was living with HIV that made it so easy to be alone or was it that I was just so tired of being treated any kind of way by the men I allowed in my life. But, I was still uncertain of what was ahead of me.
My life still goes on
In August 2017, I married again after being alone for so long. It was scary because I didn’t know if it would work at all. Living with HIV has put me through so many mental changes, but my life still goes on.
Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your HIV status?