What does having HIV mean for my future?

Even if you’ve just learned that you have HIV, you might be thinking ahead to all the ways it could affect your future. Again, try not to stress, HIV is entirely manageable. Let’s walk through some of the questions you might be asking yourself.

If I have HIV, how long will I live?

Someone with HIV can live just as long as anyone else if they take care of their health. The key is to start treatment right away and take your meds every single day! 

If I have HIV, how do I deal with dating?

Dating is always complicated! And it can be hard in different ways if you have HIV. You might be afraid that a potential partner may reject you.

There are no easy answers, but here are a few tips:

  1. Be honest with the person about your HIV status. Yeah, that can be scary, we know. But the right partner for you will be the one who accepts you as you are and is open to educating themselves about HIV. If you don’t tell them, you’re going into the relationship already keeping a secret, and that never ends well. 
  2. Make sure you’re well informed about HIV yourself, so that you can have an informed conversation with the other person about it. The content on this site can help! You can also ask the nurse at the clinic if you have any questions.
  3. Set the tone for how you want the other person to feel about it. If you talk about HIV with shame or embarrassment, you are sending the message that it is shameful and embarrassing. It’s not! It’s just something you have to manage. 
  4. Remember that stigma says more about the other person than it does about you. If someone has ignorant or outdated views of HIV, that is their issue, not yours. You may be able to help them to educate themselves, but if they choose to hold onto stigma, it’s their problem and their loss. 
  5. When you do find the right partner, talk to each other about how you are both going to stay healthy. If the other person does not have HIV, that means talking about your options for HIV prevention, including condoms, PrEP, male circumcision, and viral suppression (U=U). 

Bottom line: Never allow someone to treat you badly just because you have HIV. 

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