Dating Tips for HIV Positive People
The first attempt at dating after you are diagnosed with HIV can be a very stressful, frightening experience. There are some simple tips that will help make the experience much less difficult.
Some people find it easier at first to only date other HIV-positive people. If this is a comfortable starting point for you, you may be asking "Where can I meet other PLWH?" Many opportunities exist to meet other HIV-positive individuals, such as attending support groups, case management and medical provider sponsored events, and social events specifically for PLWH. You can also consider placing personal ads in publications targeted to HIV-positive people. There are HIV-positive dating services on the Internet. Below is a list of some of the sites available.
Important Note! - Dating only other HIV-positive people does not mean safer sex, specifically condom use, can be ignored. Even between two HIV-positive people, safer sex and condoms are a must with each and every sexual encounter because of the risk of re-infection and/or contracting other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). For more information, check out these articles:
"Practicing Safe Sex When Both Partners Have HIV: Why Unprotected Sex Can Still Be Risky"
and HIV Re-infection — The Importance of Positive Prevention.
Talk to other people living with HIV who have begun to date. Ask how they approached getting back into the dating scene after diagnosis and advice on things that you should consider. Did they disclose? If so, how and when? What was their experience like?
Be prepared for a reaction after you disclose. It is hard to predict what that reaction will be. It could range from supportive understanding to rejection and abandonment. Rest assured there will be a reaction, so be prepared for it. That being said, don't be afraid to get your feet wet. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Before disclosing, assess the relationship and the person you are about to disclose to, as well as the surroundings/atmosphere. What will you gain from disclosing? Is the relationship worth risking your confidentiality? Is this the right time and place to disclose?
HIV does not define who you are or what type of person you are. HIV does not rob you of your desires, your goals, or your personality. Healthy, rewarding relationships are possible for people living with HIV. Don't compromise your standards or settle for anyone less than you desire for fear of that person being your only choice.
Having HIV does not mean you are desperate. Never lose your self esteem.
If you choose to use online services, use the same precautions anyone using such services would use. Your first meeting should be in a public place. Do not divulge too much personal information too soon. Do not let your guard down until you are sure the person you have met online can be trusted and is who he or she says she is.
Important Note! — Before your new relationship becomes sexual, whether oral, vaginal, or anal, HIV disclosure must occur.