The aftermath of an HIV diagnosis can often leave you with so much to think about that you sometimes forget what life was like when you were HIV-negative. When the shock wears off and you get a handle on your virus, life starts to resemble something close to normal. Before you know it, the time has come to start dating again.
You might think it would be easier to date someone with HIV, but your status has nothing to do with chemistry, compatibility, or sexual attraction. You deserve to be with someone who is the right match, regardless of your status or theirs.
As much as you worry about how someone will treat you because of your status, there are a few things to be aware of before dating someone who is HIV-negative. Pay attention, and you may just live happily ever after -- or at least not break up over HIV.
Cut him some slack.
As long as he is willing to learn, give your date some time to ask questions and become comfortable with your status. After all, it took you a while to figure it out; it will take some time for him as well. Let him know that he can ask any question he wants. Make him feel comfortable enough to talk about any concerns he may have. Soon enough, he will feel at ease with it and you two can move on to more important topics.
Be open about your own concerns.
Just like you hope he will be open with you, you have to let him know what's going on in your mind. Talk to him about your concerns and fears regarding HIV. Be honest about any worries you may have. If he is the right person for you, he will be happy to listen to the things that sometimes keep you up at night. It may even bring the two of you closer together.
Initiate the talk about sex and safety.
You know what is a risk and what isn't, but he probably doesn't. Talk about what is safe. Explain the simple science behind sex and HIV (go here for more info) and discuss what it means to have an undetectable viral load. Give him all the information he needs to help him find his comfort level while sharing your own.
After the sex talk, both of you can leave the rest up to hormones and chemistry.
Don't sell yourself short.
So he doesn't have to take medication every day. Big deal. Just because he is negative doesn't mean he is worth more or less than you are. He has to win your love and respect just as much as you need to win his. Do not mistake his comfort level with your HIV status as a sign of good character or a reason to overlook any character flaws. You are deserving of a partner who deserves you, regardless of status.
Don't worry about being rejected.
Be upfront about your status and date with no regrets. So what if you get rejected by someone for being HIV-positive? Plenty of people get rejected for a myriad of reasons each day. The right HIV-negative guy will be able to recognize what a catch you are and feel lucky to have you. Stand tall, make no apologies for who you are, and find the one person who is right for you, HIV be damned.