I’ve been positive for over 13 years now. I got HIV in a way that I thought is not too common and I never expected that 13 years down the line, I would still have problems accepting my status but well, there we are.
I found out eight months into a relationship that lasted over a decade. My partner got diagnosed a day later and neither of us knows who brought it into our relationship. During our relationship, because we were both positive and together for so long, I quickly came to terms with my status. He encouraged me not to tell anyone and I pretty much got on with it. The problem is, we’ve now split up and I am finding it really difficult to deal with disclosing my status to friends and potential partners.
I recently met a great guy but I ended up dumping him after only six months of dating - the main reason; I was positive and couldn’t bring myself to tell him. We’ve kept in touch and he now wants me back but the feeling that I lied to him holds me back. Relationships should be based on trust, right? But I can’t help it; the feeling that he will reject me is a huge factor that I just can’t handle.
Earlier this year I started counselling to help me face my HIV. Even though I’ve been positive for so long, the protective bubble that was my relationship has now burst and it’s like being diagnosed all over again. I'm finding it difficult being single and going on dates. I am shocked by the number of guys that want me to bareback them. I don’t want to put anyone at risk but I’m increasingly feeling under huge pressure not to use condoms. What’s more mind-boggling is that many of these guys are in their early 20's and only once has someone asked for my status. Young guys these days just don’t seem to care. I started using drugs as a way of escapism. Drugs make me lose my sexual urge so I now take them on a daily basis, to avoid the need to have sex and face all this pressure.
My counselor says that my status is my business and I should tell people when I'm ready to. Perhaps he is right? Although I do feel like I'm entrapping guys and once they have fallen for me, they could face a situation where they have no choice but to accept me?