HIV might be a part of you, but it doesn’t haven’t to control you or your relationships.
Here are things to remember when it comes to dating and living with HIV:
- Patience and perseverance
- There is stigma, but it isn’t everywhere
- If you’re undetectable, you’re not a danger to anyone sexually
- You don’t have to disclose to people before you get close to them
- You don’t owe anyone an explanation of how you got HIV
The ones who hang around are the ones who matter. Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.
Sex, love and HIV
Living with HIV doesn’t have to limit you from having a fulfilling and satisfying sex life.
That said, it can be a little different when one partner is HIV positive.
All that is needed though, is communication. Talking about sex and sharing decision making can help to make sex safer and better.
When it comes to sex, talking about doing it, how you will do it and what feels good is important for all couples. With HIV in the picture, talking about it also means including some more topics. The impact of HIV on your libido (sex drive) might be one of these.
Preventing HIV transmission
Protecting your sex partners from HIV is an obvious concern for everyone who has HIV.
Maintaining an undetectable viral load is the most effective way to protect people. By taking your medication every day you can reduce the level of HIV in your body to such low levels that it can’t be sexually transmitted. We call this Undetectable = Untransmittable.
If you are not undetectable, condoms and lube are your best option. They not only prevent HIV transmission but also protect against other STIs.
HIV and disclosure
Laws around sex, HIV and disclosure vary from country to country, and state to state.
It can be hard telling a new partner that you are positive. You may choose to put off having sex until you trust your partner enough to tell them and then discuss the implications.
Disclosure can, in some circumstances, be beneficial, serving as a way of accessing support, of minimising depression and isolation, of improving physical health, and regaining a sense of control of your life.
Deciding how and when to tell someone you are HIV positive is a personal and sometimes difficult decision. Talking to a counsellor or a friend on how to approach disclosure can be helpful.
Check out our HIV and disclosure page, which talks about when in a relationship to share about your status.
Remember, we all have a right to live with dignity and truth, and no one has the power to take that from anyone else.