Marriage and Dating
Dating and Marriage
If you are living with HIV/AIDS, you may be wondering whether you can ever date or get married. The answer is: “Yes!”
It’s true that the issue of having a sexual relationship with a partner can cause anxiety when you have HIV disease. But you have to remember—“living with HIV” means just that. Living! People with other illnesses and disabilities lead normal, healthy lives which include relationships and marriage. Having HIV does NOT prevent anyone from dating or marrying—it just may require a little more responsibility and trust from both people in the relationship.
Kiss and Tell or Tell and Kiss?
Disclosing your HIV-positive status to a potential intimate partner may be one of the most personal and stressful situations you will face. There is no “right” way to disclose, but there are a couple of options to help you to decide when to disclose:
- Kiss and Tell. Go out on several dates and see if the relationship is going anywhere before you disclose. This limits the number of people who become aware of your status.
- Tell and Kiss. Disclose early in your relationship—maybe even on the first date. This will help you to establish honesty at the very beginning of the relationship. And it could help you avoid rejection after you have developed an emotional bond with the other person.
In most cases, sharing your HIV status is a personal choice—but it may also be a legal requirement. Many states have laws that require you to tell potential sexual partners about your HIV status BEFORE you have sex. For more information, see the American Civil Liberties Union’s State Criminal Statutes on HIV Transmission .
Some people living with HIV attempt to avoid some of these issues by practicing serosorting. Serosorting, in this case, means that you intentionally date or have sexual relationships only with other people who are also HIV-positive.
But it’s important to remember that, even if both you and your intimate partner are HIV-positive, you still face a risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you are serosorting, you still need to use a condom to protect yourself against other STDs, unless you and your partner have BOTH tested negative for STDs and are monogamous.
Keep Yourself and Your Partner Healthy
In order to keep you and your partner/spouse as safe and healthy as possible, you need to use a condom, consistently and correctly, during all sexual activities. If this is not always an option, talk to your partner about safer sexual practices and alternatives to intercourse.
You can also discuss your sex life with your healthcare provider. Your provider may be able to provide counseling and suggestions for safer sex activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a couple of mixed HIV status conceive a baby without passing the virus to the uninfected partner?
It is risky for mixed-status couples to attempt to conceive on their own. Having unprotected sex to have a baby poses a risk of passing the virus to the uninfected partner.
A safer option is to seek assistance at a fertility clinic. Some fertility clinics offer a sperm-washing program for HIV-infected men or an artificial insemination program for HIV-infected women, so that couples of mixed HIV status can try to conceive a child without exposing the uninfected partner to HIV. This is legal in some states, but not all.
Can two HIV-positive parents have an HIV-negative child?
Yes, they can. HIV infection in both parents does not appear to affect the likelihood of having an HIV-infected baby. An HIV-positive mother can pass the virus to her child during pregnancy, at the time of birth, or when breastfeeding the infant—but medical treatment of both the mother and her infant during pregnancy and delivery can reduce the chances of this happening.
Last revised: 10/11/2010