Dating an HIV Positive Dude
Dear Cousin Butchie,
I really have no other person to answer this question for me.
I am 16 and my b/f is 19. We've dated off and on for about eighteen months. I love him, but he has just told me something which has made my world implode. In short, he is HIV Positive. We have never had unsafe sex, but I still feel that he should have told me this long ago. I wonder if I am "safe" and I wonder how far our relationship could go. I don't want to be a widower at 20. In every other way I love this guy, but my trust has suffered from this revelation, and I don't have any idea where it can go next. Can you help me?
First of all, I can only offer my opinions and suggestions. What I write is not medical advice.
From my point of view, I know that HIV is not the death sentence it once was for most people. With many new and effective meds on the market, doctors can assure an HIV person of a normal life span. The most important factor is the HIV Positive dude's VIRAL LOAD. When the viral load is undetectable, he cannot transmit the virus to another person. By the same token, you need to be assured that he is not putting himself at risk of hooking up with someone else who is positive and has a detectable viral load. In other words, you need to have a very serious discussion with your b/f and both of you need to promise each other not to mess around with anyone else. You either establish this trust or your relationship will never survive. Promiscuity is totally out of the question for both of you.
In the community of gay men, HIV Positive men are still viewed as having a stigma. It's caused by memories of this pandemic in the past and lack of knowledge of what the infectious disease doctors teach now.
If you both want a confidential and free HIV test, there are several hospitals offering this service. One of RWJ Barnabas Somerset (Somerville) in their PROUD PROGRAM. Another is at Morristown Memorial Hospital.
For your peace of mind and to put your relationship of an honest and true level, both of you should be tested. It is the only way to ease your mind, no matter what Cousin Butchie writes!
If you love each other enough, I think you will do it. If you don't, it would be difficult for me to see how a real relationship will endure.
Good luck... and I'll close this with an LOL-- meaning LOTS OF LOVE!!!!