Gay Dating

Declaring Your HIV Status

Jonathan Welford

Written by: Jonathan Welford

Jonathan Welford

Jonathan Welford is a dating and relationship coach, author of three relationship coaching books and regular GayDatingExpert.com columnist. He heads up a coaching and therapy practice specializing in dating and relationships. He lives in the UK with his husband and their English bulldog named Lola.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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If you are aware of your HIV status, it can be a nerve-racking experience to let a new partner know if you are positive. Some people are completely upfront on their dating profiles, and in life generally.

However, others feel very insecure about telling people. Perhaps they haven’t told anyone or kept it secret from friends, family and work colleagues. Ultimately, when you tell is completely down to you. However, it’s vital you tell a sexual partner.

I had a client who was positive and was completely angst ridden over telling dates. There had been a couple of times in the past where he’d told dates after he’d been to bed with them, and the reaction wasn’t the most favorable.

He used protection, of course, but his partners had felt he should have told them before it got to that stage.

When to tell.

When you have a one-night stand, should you tell them (even if you play safely)? In my opinion, yes you should.

You don’t know where a one-night stand may lead. It could be the start of a long-term relationship, not just scratching a sexual itch.

You don’t have to declare everything on your first date (you may well have the complete collection of GI Joe action figures in your attic. That’s a little disturbing, but it doesn’t have long-term consequences to the person you are with).

If you are positive, would you not have liked the option to make a decision or take additional precautions before sleeping with the person who infected you?

So telling someone your status has to be done clearly before you go to bed together. With current medication and treatment, HIV positive people can lead a normal life.

There is a chance of rejection, but you have done the honorable thing and gave them the choice. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of getting the outcome you desire. That depends entirely on the person you are telling.

 

“I know many couples in serodiscordant relationships

that work like any other healthy relationship.”

Aids.org recommends the following:

  • Know why you want to tell them.
  • What do you want from them?
  • Anticipate their reaction.
  • What’s the best you can hope for? The worst you might have to deal with?
  • Prepare by informing yourself about HIV disease.
  • You may want to leave articles or a hotline phone number for the person you tell.
  • Get support. Talk it over with someone you trust, and come up with a plan.
  • Accept the reaction. You can’t control how others will deal with your news.

There is no easy fix or hint or tips to telling someone your status. It’s not something you can build up to reduce the impact.

This is a part of talking about your dating past, so simply say, “I think you should know before we get physical I am HIV positive.”

You could add your recent health screening status. Be prepared to answer their questions, as even though there is a lot of information out there, some guys do bury their heads in the sand.

If you have been diagnosed after you started dating a guy, then it’s important he gets screened to find out his status.

Discovering your status sooner rather than later has better health implications for your long-term health.

Without going down the route of a HIV positive lecture, if you are told by someone the night after you have slept with them that they are positive and you had unsafe sex or think you have been infected, you have a maximum of 72 hours to take a Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP).

PEP can help in getting rid of the virus if it has entered your body. There are no guarantees it will work 100 percent, but it is likely to work. You can get this from your local sexual health clinic or accident and emergency departments.

To reduce the conversation about your status, there are dating sites purely geared for people who have a positive status.

However, you don’t have to only have a relationship with a positive partner. I know many couples in serodiscordant relationships (relationships with an HIV positive and an HIV negative partner) that are fulfilling and work like any other healthy relationship.

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