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Dating is a tricky area of vulnerability, intense emotions and fear, as well as a very real risk of rejection for anyone. When HIV and/or AIDS is involved, the vulnerability, fear or risk of rejection and intensity of emotions can be ramped up high enough to cause serious anxiety.
Some people who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS prefer to date others with the same diagnosis. This can bring tremendous relief, as discussions around this topic are not, for the most part, bound to be taboo, and the physical, emotional, spiritual, family and medical struggles and challenges that are shared may create a profound sense of communion and understanding.
Others are open to dating people without a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS and this brings up a whole host of confusing issues and multiple questions which must be answered.
Should you disclose your diagnosis? If so, when might that be appropriate? If not, is that all right, or even fair or ethical to your partner or potential partner? If you are taking medication and practicing safe sex, are you still contagious and can you spread this disease to a potential partner?
These questions bring dinner, movies, music, romance and long walks on the beach to a whole other level, one in which illness and questions of contagion and mortality are turned over and over in one’s mind. The sources at the bottom of this page can lead you to find answers to many of these questions, and I will attempt to briefly touch on them here.
Firstly, any dating relationship would thrive in an atmosphere of honesty. After all, if you are looking for a real connection with another human being and not merely for a quick romp in the bedroom, having HIV/AIDS and living with that reality would be a very important part of your life.
While you don’t need to disclose this on the first, second, or even third date, if things are getting more serious or leading to a sexually intimate relationship, disclosure is important. Not only that, but if you are dating someone whom you feel would not be able to handle hearing about this condition, you must ask yourself why you are putting yourself in that position to begin with.