Monday, November 5, 2012

REPLY: "Dear Geo: Dating an HIV+ guy..."

I have finally received approval from the advise-seeker to post my reply to his letter. So here it is...

Dear Confused HIV Dater,

Thank you for seeking my advice on this. Though I am not a guru in terms of relationship and stuff, I am glad that a blog-reader would actually trust me in their problems.

First things first. Never ever blame anyone just because of their disease. What they need now is support and care. One thing you have to understand though is that you will have to sacrifice a lot of things.

You have to bear in mind that as of today, there is still no cure for HIV. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the medications being taken by the patient and the treatment itself “do not cure people of HIV or AIDS. Rather, they suppress the virus, even to undetectable levels, but they do not completely eliminate HIV from the body. By suppressing the amount of virus in the body, people infected with HIV can now lead longer and healthier lives. However, they can still transmit the virus and must continuously take antiretroviral drugs in order to maintain their health quality.”

You also have to understand the risks involved. I took the following information from the NIAID website as well for your benefit.
HIV Risk Factors
HIV is found in the blood, semen, or vaginal fluid of someone who is infected with the virus. You may be at increased risk of becoming infected with HIV if you: 
1.      Engage in anal, vaginal, or oral sex with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners without using a condom 
2.      Inject drugs or steroids where needles/syringes are shared
3.      Have a sexually transmitted infection, such as syphilis, genital herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, bacterial vaginosis, or trichomoniasis 
4.      Have been diagnosed with hepatitis, tuberculosis, or malaria 
5.      Exchange sex for drugs or money 
6.      Are exposed to the virus as a fetus or infant before or during birth or through breastfeeding from a mother infected with HIV 
7.      Received a blood transfusion or clotting factor in the United States anytime from 1978 to 1985 
8.      Engage in unprotected sex with someone who has any of the risk factors listed above  
Quick Facts About HIV Transmission 
·        HIV cannot survive for very long outside of the body 
·       HIV cannot be transmitted through routine daily activities such as using a toilet seat, sharing food utensils or drinking glasses, shaking hands, or through kissing. 
·         The virus can only be transmitted from person to person, not through animals or insect bites 
·         People infected with HIV who are taking antiretroviral therapy can still infect others through unprotected sex and needle-sharing

Lastly, there is currently no vaccine to prevent HIV infection nor is there a cure for HIV/AIDS. To reduce your risk of becoming infected with HIV or transmitting the virus to others, one must observe the following:
·         Get tested regularly for HIV
·         Practice abstinence
·         Remain faithful to your spouse or partner
·         Consistently use male latex or female polyurethane condoms
·         Do not share needles

Understanding all of these may help you better appreciate your relationship with your soon-to-be-partner. Also understand the strong advise of practicing abstinence. Though you may be protected by using latex condoms, it is still highly suggested that abstaining from any sexual activity will lessen the risk of getting infected. I hope that I have enlightened you in one way or another. Thanks for writing.


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