If you are dating and you are living with HIV or you are HIV negative & considering dating someone living with HIV and you are feeling the same frustrations we all feel around dating, just remember that dating for everyone is a daunting endeavor at the best of times!

Some may wonder if you are living with HIV should you be dating or can you date someone living with HIV? In years past the answer was more complex, but in today’s HIV world there are more opportunities that will allow someone to make a more informed decision.

The fact is, there have been great advancements in a person living with HIV greatly reducing the chances of passing on their HIV.  TASP (Treatment AS Prevention) is a great example, if a person living with HIV is taking their meds consistently and doesn’t have any other STI, then the chance of them passing their HIV to you is less than 4%.  PreP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is another great example, if you are HIV negative you can take one pill a day (Truvada) and as long as you are consistent in taking the pill, your chances of contracting HIV are again less than 4%.  It must be noted that these are very complex subjects (with enough information to fill up ten blogs), that I’ve only mentioned the highlights and the best choice is to educate yourself on these subjects by researching them, checking out the CATIE website and talking to a health professional!

That said, if you are living with HIV and are sexually active, please know that Canada has some of the toughest laws in the world around disclosure, you have to tell your partner your HIV status and you should use a condom.  I tell you this information so you can protect yourself if dating leads to sex.  This is another complex issue that deserves some research.

Dating is stressful enough and adding HIV to the mix, when we have turned it into a social issue dripping with our stigmas, can seem overwhelming but can it be done? Yes it can!

Everyone has the right to date and every dater has many things to consider.  Please understand that educating yourself on the facts of HIV, transmission, new prevention technologies, serodiscordant couples (one person living with HIV and one person HIV negative) etc. offers just as much, if not more protection, than any contraceptive.

Hopefully we can evolve enough as a society to see HIV positive dating as one more thing in the long list of things a dater must consider, from “what am I going to wear” all the way to “could they be my knight in shining armor” and your knight just may be someone living with HIV.

Here are some great websites for further reading

www.hivcl.org/

http://www.catie.ca/

http://pwn.bc.ca/hiv-community/hiv-dating-and-relationships/hiv-couples/

http://www.aidslaw.ca/EN/community-kit/index.htm

http://www.cdnaids.ca/newpreventiontechnologies

http://www.thebodypro.com/content/73528/should-hiv-serodiscordant-couples-always-take-prev.html