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To a certain type of gay man, the thought of dating someone who is openly HIV positive can feel like social suicide. They certainly aren't the best version of our culture, but any homosexual can attest to the reality of some sects of our society who view people's HIV status like designer labels. When it comes to a negative man choosing to date someone who is positive, they may run the risk of someone confusing their Prada suit in a Banana Republic bag.
But Joshua Stearns knew that rumors didn't transmit the virus and that the potential for a loving relationship with Andrew was worth a few whispers over a mismatched label. Joshua and Andrew began their relationship in 2008 over casual coffee, a shared workout, and the occasional frozen yogurt. In the beginning, they were nothing more than friends. Joshua knew about Andrew's HIV status from the start, as it was already widely spread throughout Dallas's gay landscape. However, a person's medicine cabinet was never of any interest to Joshua.
Andrew was sweet, honest, and relatively unaffected by the opinions of others. After two years, the combination of these traits took things from friendship to romance.
Unlike their initial friendship, Joshua and Andrew's romantic relationship progressed at a feverish pace. They had developed such a sturdy bond in their friendship that the piece of a partnership that take months for others only took days for them.
And in some ways, Joshua credits their swift slide into domestic bliss to their mismatched statuses. Unfortunately, sometimes relationships fall apart no matter how strong the communication may be. After about a year together, Joshua and Andrew eventually parted ways. For most people, the anguish that comes from a losing someone you loved is worst part of a break-up.
Joshua's story is a little more complicated. Joshua was faced with the same fear that plagues every openly HIV-positive single gay man.
Every time someone struck his interest, he was terrified that they would reject him because of the gossip that was surrounding his status. Often, positive men are so wrought with shame and guilt that they learn to live with the fear of stigma instead of fighting against it. But Joshua was happy that he met Andrew, even though their relationship didn't work out.
And more so, he was outraged by the venomous prejudice that those in his own community placed on himself and others who weren't afraid of looking past the labels we carry. The Needle Prick Project was beginning to attract attention, and Joshua was inspired to take part in the project, given his own experience with HIV stigma. He began to share the string of "Needle Prick" articles on his Facebook page and had his photograph taken with the red Band-Aid, symbolizing the pledge to a conversation about HIV.
Unfortunately to others, his involvement in the project was the confirmation that they had been looking for. Many people believed that Joshua was finally "out" about his presumed HIV-positive status.
Those who believed that he was HIV-negative questioned his reasoning for taking part in the project. They believed that the campaign was somehow irrelevant to him and only made him look positive. But those that think that there is a clear and visible division between positive and negative men are the ones who place themselves the most at risk. "I'm not scared to date someone because of their HIV status and I won't let what other people think get in the way of finding someone special," Joshua said.
"In fact, I am dating someone now who is HIV positive and I really like him. In the beginning, I think he was interested in me because he was worried I wouldn't like him because of it. It drives me crazy, because I would never rule a possibly great love out because of something like that." Joshua Stearns is an example of how HIV stigma impacts us all regardless of the labels we wear. Not only did he suffer from the assumptions made by those around him, but he also witnessed how stigma can infect an entire community.
Still, he remains undeterred by the whispers about his dating decisions. Instead, he chooses to focus on the quality of the material and not the perception of the brand.
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What is HIV? HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life. No safe and effective cure currently exists, but scientists are working hard to find one, and remain hopeful.
Meanwhile, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. Treatment for HIV is often called antiretroviral therapy or ART. It can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can have a nearly normal life expectancy.
HIV affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease.
When this happens, HIV infection leads to AIDS. Living with HIV Today, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States and 34 million around the world according to CDC. Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are now living longer—and with a better quality of life—than ever before. If you are living with HIV, it’s important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.
Online Dating for HIV+ Singles Finding the right footing in the dating scene can be difficult for anyone. However, a positive HIV diagnosis can complicate things further. Dating with HIV requires complete honesty about an issue that can be hard to talk about.
It also requires a certain level of disclosure before any sexual act.HIV-dating.com are dedicated to helping HIV positive individuals get a good start. We care about your privacy more than other sites, all your personal information can be private and anonymous. Everyone with an STD can join us regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender. Never feel lonely again! | | | CopyRight © 2015 All rights reserved
AIDS, HIV & STDs : Dating Someone With HIV