Stories Of Promise - Have the Conversation
I was dating somebody back in 1994 when I found out I was HIV positive. We both went to get tested, and I was the one with the bad news. At that time, I was disgusted and felt dirty - I wanted to shower in bleach! It took me a long time after finding out before I would even be intimate with anybody because I didn't want to put anybody through that. And so, disclosing my status hasn't always been easy for me because when I've shared my status in the past, sometimes I've been told things like I'm "not clean." And when you really, really like somebody, and there's chemistry, having to drop that bomb can be a very uncomfortable conversation whether or not the other person is HIV positive.
Once I was dating this doctor, and we were getting along great - the chemistry was incredible! Knowing that he was a medical professional, it seemed safe and that he understood once I did have that conversation with him. But soon afterward, he broke up with me saying he didn't want to get involved with somebody who could die. I had a hard time processing his ignorant statement because I didn't plan on dying, and he could've been hit by a bus tomorrow. But you learn to pick up and go on, and eventually, you come to terms with, okay, this is your life now, and you just got to deal with it. You realize that if you really like a person, then you should also be caring about their health and well-being and do anything to ensure that. That's why I always recommend disclosing your status. It's not about a quick experience. It's about caring for this person and having that conversation because you obviously want them in your life.
You can help that person be healthy and help them understand what HIV is about. Thankfully it isn't the same thing as when I was diagnosed. There are so many treatment options today. And if you're on regular therapy and undetectable, you can still have a close, loving relationship without endangering somebody else's health. So have the conversation. Be forward about it. If they're scared, then there are also condoms. And if they're really scared, then maybe they're not the one. This person should also be caring about your health and well-being and safety too. It's a mutual thing.
Eventually, you don't think about your past, but you're always trying to be better than you were the day before. Today I'm in a happy, healthy, loving relationship, and when I first disclosed my status to my future husband, I found out he was HIV positive too, so it was cool. He gave me a ring, and while we haven't set a date yet, we're headed that way. Everything's been really good!