HIV-Positive Dating Advice and Tips
Dating can be difficult, and if you're HIV-positive (HIV+), it can be even more complicated. You're not only imagining your first kiss but also trying to envision his or her face when you reveal your HIV status. Navigating these situations can be challenging.
Luckily, the HIV landscape has undergone a radical transformation with so many innovations being made, from easier HIV treatments, more publicity for those disclosing HIV status, to more prevention methods like PrEP.
So, living with HIV is no longer a life sentence. You can still have a happy and fulfilled romantic life. In fact, the WHO estimates that almost half of people with HIV across the globe live in long-term, romantic relations and have HIV-negative partners.
In this article, we'll focus on how to overcome any challenges or anxiety you feel about HIV-positive dating.
Dating Advice for HIV-Positive Singles
HIV makes identifying the right person for a long-term relationship difficult. Luckily, these actionable tips can help you navigate dating, irrespective of your partner's status.
Be Comfortable with Your Status
You must be comfortable with your HIV status and be proactive about living a healthy life. That way, your potential partner will be more comfortable with it too.
Don't Rush Things
Don't be in a rush to start a relationship with your date. Only invest if you're confident she or he is worth investing in.
Don't waste your time meeting or getting to know a person who may mistreat or reject you because of your status. You don't deserve that. Also, if your date rejects you, don't waste your time on him or her either.
If you disclose your status before your first face-to-face meeting and she or he no longer wants to be in a relationship with you – don't feel like you're at a loss. Instead, continue your search for your perfect partner.
Establish a Healthy Support System
Before you start a romantic relationship with a new person, your family and close friends should be aware of your status.
A strong support system is an integral part of any romantic relationship, despite your status. It helps when you can share your dating issues with your close friends and family. Before attempting to add a new person into your life, ensure you are at ease with those who are already in it.
Attending a support group for HIV+ individuals is another avenue that you can try to learn from others about they handle their status disclosure while dating.
Disclose at the Right Time and Be Prepared for Questions
It's advisable to disclose your status before you find yourself in an intimate situation, and while both you and your partner, are sober. This will allow your partner time to process the information that you've disclosed and helped you both determine if you want to continue with the relationship.
It's also important to educate yourself on HIV. This includes HIV prevention, safe sex practices, and HIV transmission, so you can confidently answer any questions your partner may have.
Tips for Dating Someone with HIV-Positive
On the other hand, as a person dating someone with HIV, here are some dating tips that will make your life easier, including:
Educate Yourself and Ask Questions
Educate yourself on being in a relationship with an HIV+ partner and ask your partner as many questions as needed so that you feel comfortable in the relationship.
Make Time for Yourself
While it's important to support your partner in the management of their disease, you shouldn't spend all of your time taking care of your HIV+ partner. You should make it a priority to also take care of yourself too.
Consider Preventative Measures
In addition to practicing safe sex with your HIV+ partner, you may want to consider taking preventative HIV medications with antiretroviral therapy to prevent contracting the disease. PrEP is a preventative medication that is taken daily, and PEP is another option that is taken if there's been exposure to HIV.
The Best Way to Disclose Your Status to Your Partner
For many HIV+ people, disclosure is a challenge. What is the best way and time to reveal your status?
There is no ideal or straightforward way to inform your potential partner that you're HIV-positive. Mostly, it's not the approach you use or the timing of your disclosure, but the person you disclose to.
If a person is going to reject you because of your status, how and when you tell him or her won't matter. Likewise, if a potential partner is going to accept you despite your status, it may not matter when you disclose (provided you do it before having sex). There are two key approaches to when to disclose.
Before the first kiss
This approach involves disclosing your status to your potential partner before the first kiss, probably before the first date. While there is less emotional attachment before the person potentially rejects you, more people will discover that you are living with HIV.
After the first kiss
This approach entails meeting your potential partner a few times and disclosing only when you are at ease with the person. This approach allows you to have more privacy surrounding your status, but potential partners may be upset that you didn't disclose your status earlier.
It's imperative to reveal your HIV status to your sexual partner(s), even if you don't feel like doing it.
In many states, some laws require you to inform your sexual partner(s) if you're living with HIV before engaging in any sexual act (oral, vaginal, or anal). You are also required to disclose your status to your drug-using allies before sharing needles to insert drugs.
HIV Dating Apps
Dating with HIV calls for total honesty concerning a topic that can be difficult to talk about. It also needs some level of disclosure before having sex. Luckily, there are various apps devoted to helping people living with HIV find their right match.
Below are three popular HIV dating apps worth checking out.
This dating app is committed to helping individuals living with HIV. Apart from providing community forums, medical information, and mentorship, this app has its own dating community.
A basic membership on this site is free and lets you view profiles of other members, share five pictures, and monitor who has viewed your profile. With a paid premium membership, your profile appears above other matches, and you can save your preferred searches.
Established in 1988, PozMatch is a dating site owned and operated by HIV-positive people. The free basic membership on PozMatch features a profile, ability to share five photos, browse, search, and send and receive instant messages.
A premium PozMatch membership consists of:
- A private email, video, and webcam
- Support services
- All the features found in the basic membership
Other than romantic relationships, members can establish meaningful friendships on PozMatch.
Hzone is the leading HIV dating app for HIV-positive singles.
It leverages location-based technology to identify matches within your area. You can like, pass, or send instant messages to potential matches with just a simple swipe.
Given that this app is password protected, only you can access your profile.
It's important to bear in mind that dating is a process of searching for the ideal person for you. Whether you're HIV-positive or -negative, dating virtually always involves some rejection.
Nearly everyone has to do a few trial runs before meeting the right person. So don't be discouraged if it takes you some time to find your perfect match.