DEAR AIDAN: Disclosing HIV Positive Status?

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Dear Aidan:

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I am HIV Positive and am jumping into the dating world. I know that there is a stigma and judgmental gay guys will look as me as a “slut” and also am concerned that no one will want to date me because of my status. How do you maneuver this in the Gay dating world?

Dear Positvely Charged!

Okay. There is nothing holding you back, except for your own thinking on this issue. There are a lot of assumptions and beliefs in that question that are totally not serving you so we are gonna address that.

“I know that there is a stigma out there”

Is this statement absolute truth?! Really, let’s think logically for a second about this statment. That’s like saying “I know the world is racist.” Yes, some people in the world are racist… but to color the whole world as a racist is not an accurate assessment of the world. 

It is also an assessment that is not serving you whatsoever. It’s just creating more fear in your heart, which works against what you ultimately want – which is a connection with someone who will love you completely for who you are. To think productively, we must ask, can we soften this statement at all? 

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Maybe… “Some people may be judgemental but there are also lots of compassionate people who are open-minded and educated about the optic of HIV Status who would be open to dating me!” This is just a true of a statement that actually reinforces your strength in moving in the direction of what you ultimately want. 

Sure, both statements you can argue to be true. But which one will you advocate for? Anytime you are given a choice to line up with a truth, one should always assess which truth is more empowering and line up with the belief that will give you the most amount of forward movement toward the future that you want, not the one that holds you back from achieving. Make sense?

Here is another belief that is not serving you:

“Many gays will look at me as a “slut” OKAY, fair. Some might. But now, we have got to consider you in all of this. You are so concerned with what they think of you… what about what you want in your friends and partners?

First of all the sentence above is not even verifiable… maybe some might judge you, but here you are holding the opinion of the others more important than your own opinion of them! Do you really want to be friends with people who are going to call you a “slut” based on your status? Really? you want to impress those guys? WHY? It’s like being afraid that a drug-addicted cocaine dealer will tell you you are undatable. WHO CARES? Anyone who will think that is not someone you ultimately want whether you are positive or negative, or whatever!

As far as judgmental people go, what I have discovered is that JUDGMENTAL PEOPLE JUDGE. They will find any excuse to Judge. They will say this one is too tall, that one is too short, that one is a slut, that one watches too much tv, that one is positive or negative or weird or dumb pr blah blah blah… on and on and an on and your status is JUST AN EXCUSE for them to maintain their position of judgement, which they are looking for excuses to do all day long. SO WHO CARES.

More helpful thought (which is probably more true) would be: “There are LOTS of educated men out there who understand that even though I am positive I’m healthy and taking care of myself, and also know that it is less risky to date someone who is positive and taking care of themselves, rather than someone who is negative who doesn’t know this stuff. I deserve someone who will appreciate my honesty, upfrontness and sees all that I have to offer, and will see me beyond my status.”

So – this is really not a world problem. It’s a thought problem. Feed the thought that will get you moving in the direction you want to go. Hold your own opinion more important than the opinion of others. DO NOT buy into other people’s narrative of the world, which they are just using as an excuse for why they are unsuccessful in accomplishing what they want. Breathe. You got this.