Dating with the looming stigma attached to hiv.

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by twtrob88, Mar 26, 2019.

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Would you date and person that has HIV?

  1. Yes

    62.8%
  2. No

    37.2%
  1. twtrob88

    twtrob88 Active Member

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    Hey everyone,

    I rarely post, but I have seen many older posts on this topic and wanted to revive the conversation, because I’m sure it can help positive and negative guys. I myself was diagnosed as being positive when I was around 23 years old. As soon as I found out, I was in total shock. It was like a rock bottom moment for me and reminded me that I wasn’t invincible. It only took one lapse of judgment to change my life forever. After starting treatment, I became undetectable. I thought I That I had overcome the first big obstacle, but little did I know that dating with the stigma would be the hardest challenge yet. I have tried many dating sites and I’m very upfront about my status on my profiles, because I think it is easier to be upfront about my status because it is just one small part of me, but doesn’t define me as a person. However I learned quickly that a lot of guys on these sites thought the opposite. I would receive the craziest messages, ranging from me being a slut and deserving what I had, to people telling me I shouldn’t even be on these sites and apps because people like me desire to infect others with the disease. I understand that there are people who have fears of HIV but it doesn’t give them the privelage to be cruel. Speaking for myself, after my diagnosis, I was broken. I felt that I couldn’t trust a guy ever again, that I was considered ruined and no guy would ever want me. And receiving these kind of messages made everything so much worse. I hope that people who send these cruel messages or judge positive people understand that they are kicking people who are already down, which can lead to self harm, suicide, and even worse. I’m 30 now and I can’t say that things are easier at all. I have been single for about 5 years. Either I receive hate messages, messages asking questions about how I contracted the disease, or guys who just want to hookup because they think positive guys are easy. It’s totally not the case. We are people just like you, looking for our fairytale ending if that even exists. If I can only get one thing across is to be kind to others, educate yourselves, and if you encounter a positive person on a dating site or an app, treat them like you would treat any other person, with kindness and respect. Now that I got that off my chest, is there any other positive guys on here who can shed some light on dating with HIV. If you have found a relationship and or are dating with HIV, do you have any strategies on how to date and overcome the stigma. Also are there any negative people who have dated or are open to dating positive people, and are willing to share their experience?
     
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  2. ItsAll4Kim

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    Have you tried any of the dating sites specifically for HIV positive people?
     
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  3. kewlkid75

    kewlkid75 Well-Known Member

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    To answer your question Would you date a person with HIV? I am HIV negative and have dated someone was positive..undetectable. I worked in the healthcare industry so i knew about the ways of how you could catch HIV. I was and still am educated about HIV and AIDS and other diseases. Would I date a guy with the disease, I would and have no issues with it? I know what the risks are, but I doesn't mean the other person can't be loved. I am sorry to hear about your situation and hope that are to find a meaningful relationship someday. I agree with ItsAll4Kim. Hopefully you will find someone who wants to be with you for who you are. There are always going to be negative people in this world. The only advice I have is keep working hard on you, your confidence and love yourself. Trust me it helps. You have to keep living and find your inner peace and joy. Find what makes you happy, feels good, makes you want to get up in the morning to face the day. Don't allow stigma and society to dictate you, your life and how to live it. I would say just be up front, in which you already have and when that person comes along you will be ready. Find your joy, open your heart and be ready when love comes. Like you're doing just be you and be kind. Me, I am not dating, but have FWB and we know each others status. I am open to dating and being in love.
     
  4. sundancer

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    Hello there. . I am negative. . And I have dated 2 men who were positive. I understand how the virus is transmitted, and both partners were careful about not exposing me to the virus. I didn't have any issues with dating a positive man. So finding someone to date should be possible for you. Being in a large city in California should raise your chances of meeting people. Maybe I was OK with dating someone who was positive was because I was raised in San Francisco. Don't give up, and I wish you the best of luck in your search for someone.
     
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  5. headbang8

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    My heart goes out to you, @twtrob88. The attitude of the world at large, and even our own gay community, is poisoned by misinformation. Often, our own internalised homophobia does us no favours.

    For the record, I've been in relationships with two HIV+ partners, one of whom is now my husband. I remain negative.

    Let me go out on a limb: Nowadays, it is no more difficult to avoid transmission of the virus than it is for a straight couple to practice contraception. Would we expect straight men and women to avoid dating each other because they might transmit a pregnancy? The stigma which attaches to HIV+ individuals is frankly quite absurd, given the low level of risk which intimacy with an undetectable positive lover poses. Safe sex is hot, and moreover, it actually works. My husband and I are living proof.

    Here's a comment that I made some time ago. I stand by it.

    HIV+/HIV- relationship

    How to handle the stigma? Alas, there are no easy answers.

    I don't wish to sound glib, but it helps if you make yourself hard to hate. As @kewlkid75 says, just because the world views you negatively, doesn't mean you should let it dampen your spirit, your optimism, your capacity for love. Be the change.

    Not easy to follow that advice, to be sure. But you'll feel better if you stay the bigger person.

    You'll need to date much more before you hook up—sometimes a rarity in our gay communities, where we say hello with our dicks. It will be harder; you'll need to kiss quite a few more frogs to find your prince. But he will be out there.

    As @ItsAll4Kim suggested, you may wish to look for dating opportunities with other HIV+ people—a perfectly reasonable solution, in many ways. But I wouldn't restrict myself to other positive men; that's allowing the stigma to win. Be out, be open. Educate people. Let prospective partners know that you don't want to transmit the virus as much as they don't want to receive it, and demonstrate that you know the nuts and bolts of safe sex. Even if your prospective partner declines an encounter, you've made some progress in fighting the stigma.

    As you've discovered, the sheer shock of discovering a positive status can extinguish your spirit. Phrases like reaching bottom, no longer invincible, are actually good to hear. They show acceptance of that which is out of your control, and set you up to rebuild your life. My husband resisted that acceptance for a long time, and it was painful for us both. When he did accept it, we could return to pursuing a rich, fulfilling life together, and things got better.

    My husband and I send our love to you. Take care of yourself.
     
    #5 headbang8, Mar 27, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
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  6. palakaorion

    palakaorion Well-Known Member

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    (Summary of something I've written previously.)

    I probably wouldn't choose to start a romantic/sexual relationship with someone whom I knew was positive. I was caregiver for my late wife (not HIV but a constellation of other conditions); I don't want a repeat if it can be foreseen; it's exhausting and colors how you perceive each other.

    If I was already in love with someone who was then diagnosed, it would matter when and how the exposure happened.
    - If exposure was before we became exclusive, or was after but non-sexual in nature (like medical accident), then I wouldn't automatically end the relationship just because they were positive.
    - If exposure was sexual in nature after we became exclusive, I would probably end the relationship because of the betrayal, not because of the diagnosis.
     
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  7. pwrdick

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    When I was single, I self-disclosed as HIV+ soon after meeting someone who was a potential date. It was really all about efficiency and getting past that point. Like you, twtrob88, I posted my status (HIV+) on online profiles just so I would not have to deal with guys who did not feel comfortable with dating someone who was positive. I also posted that I was only interested in dating other HIV+ guys because I did not want to have to deal with the possibility that I would inadvertently infect them. I caught more flack from guys who were HIV- who felt I was blocking them without considering them as a whole person and more than just their HIV status. In effect, I was stigmatizing them.

    Things have changed since then. I am in an open relationship, and being undetectable makes me far less likely to ever infect someone, and HIV- guys on PrEP make it even less likely. I have only recently been open to having sex with HIV- guys on PrEP (who also know I am HIV+) but it still does not quite feel right to me.

    As a result of my own feelings, I am quite tolerant of those HIV- guys who prefer not to date or have sex with someone who is HIV+. We need to accept people where they are at, and not overweight the impact of their choices on us. There are a LOT of HIV- guys on PrEP and HIV+ date potentials out there for you - now go get those dates buddy!
     
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  8. twtrob88

    twtrob88 Active Member

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    I have but nothing really came out of it.
     
  9. twtrob88

    twtrob88 Active Member

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    Thank you for your insightful message and I also appreciate your kind words. I’m a work in progress and slowly but surely I’m getting stronger each and every day.
     
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  10. twtrob88

    twtrob88 Active Member

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    I was born is SF. I think out there guys are a little more open and friendly. From my experience, a lot of guys around my age in Los Angeles are a little more superficial and judgmental. But I still have hope that there are good guys out there, just have to be patient and positive.
     
  11. twtrob88

    twtrob88 Active Member

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    Thank you so much. Your response touched my heart and gives me so much hope. I do need to keep my head high, put myself out there, and be proud to be me. I want to inspire others just like you have just inspired me with your response. Thank you so much, it means a lot.
     
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  12. twtrob88

    twtrob88 Active Member

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    I definitely respect your honesty.
     
  13. twtrob88

    twtrob88 Active Member

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    I have never really thought of the idea of stigmatizing negative guys. I have been guilty of that. I can’t assume that every negative person would automatically not want to get to know me as a friend or romantically. This has provided a different and needed perspective that I have never considered.
     
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  14. ohiorod

    ohiorod Well-Known Member

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    As an HIV social worker, I find when and how to disclose is a difficult decision for the people I work with. I have known roughly 900- 1000 Poz guys over the years and each, like a negative person, is an individual. If you want to have a private conversation, feel free to contact me. As you say, you are a work in progress and so am I. In fact , I hope to never stop evolving into a better person. I refer a lot of my patients to
    www.the body.com. However, ignore all the drug company ads!!!
     
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  15. niceone0305

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    I am an older guy HIV+ I am very lucky indeed to have partner I love with every fiber of my being for 29 years and counting.
    As always there is a but,we are celibate. I know this a very hard concept,we both come from monastic orders and our love
    transcends physical desires we are one in flesh and spirit,he is my very purpose and I his.
    You will meet and find that person dont despair and give up hope,please!
     
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  16. Oregon97420

    Oregon97420 Well-Known Member

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    I completely understand where you are coming from. As a HIV+ guy little over a year now my life has become lonely. Karma has bit me in the ass. Before I became HIV+ I had a horrible fear of the virus and refused to reply to undetectable guys who would reach out to me when I was Neg. How that I am HIV+, I'm alone and it sucks. The stigma is real and the fear greater. Some days are better than others but all in all for me, this is a death sentence.
     
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  17. Infernal

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    I'm negative, my husband is positive. He was positive for a few years before we met. We deal with it, and I consider it part of the package. He sticks to his medication, and has been undetectable for year. We have an open relationship and play safe regardless. I still get tested for everything at least once a year - for my own peace of mind.

    There is someone out there for you - you just haven't met him yet. If you aren't meeting people of quality, that's a sure sign you need to look elsewhere.
     
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  18. pwrdick

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    I'm very sorry to hear how tough this is hitting you, Oregon. Many guys really don't give a lot of consideration to HIV in the dating scene until it directly affects them, so your past approach with HIV in the dating world is not uncommon. But, now that you are HIV+, it is vital that you stop punishing yourself and get into a mindset that allows you to move forward and to make the most out of your life. After my partner died and I went back into the dating scene in 1998, I decided to bypass direct rejection by putting my HIV status on my profile, and I also stated that I only wanted to date other HIV+ guys. It ended up being a very positive approach. Because I am in an open relationship, my profile on those sites continues to state my HIV status and I can tell you that I get a LOT of requests for hookups from guys who are HIV-. My being HIV positive no longer poses as much of a barrier to connections today as it did years ago. Keep on trying and, like Infernal says, there ARE guys out there for you. But, more importantly, talk to a therapist or in a HIV support group and start to deal with your grief and internalized hatred for becoming HIV+. You have a great life ahead of you, buddy, and you need to go after it! My best and let me know if I can help you move forward.

     
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  19. Oregon97420

    Oregon97420 Well-Known Member

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    My status is in my profiles.
    Thank you for sharing and your kind words.
    Peace
     
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  20. HotThroatLA

    HotThroatLA Well-Known Member

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    As they say @pwrdick, you are a mensch. And a sweet, thoughtful man.

    I am HIV negative, and have never ever used the word "clean" in association with that. I would never want my HIV+ brothers to feel less-than or "dirty" and I hate when I see that happening, especially within our own community.

    I feel like we live in world now, where all men should disclose their status. IMO, upfront and honest is always the best policy. And that helps to chip away at the stigma, too. Conversely, I think we all need to respect preferences (as you mention above). I've been turned down by poz guys who simply prefer to play with other poz guys only, and I totally get it.

    Before the meds etc. and U=U, I too mainly sought out HIV neg. guys only. But another fact about me, is I pretty much only have oral sex (giving and getting). I know, I know: tons of guys can't believe I don't want ass sex, but it's true! ;) Anyway, oral play is always much less risky for HIV transmission.

    I guess the moral of my comment is: there really IS a match for everyone out there. It ain't EASY, that's for sure. But men need to hold their heads up and forge ahead with the search!
     
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