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My boyfriend keeps his status private so I fit around that. It’s his HIV after all right?

I often think I’m the one with more of an issue over HIV than my positive boyfriend.

I was HIV negative at my last test, but it can feel like that isn’t going to last. There seems to be little recognition that we’ve kept me safe or negative until now. One course of PEP included. Friends who know we bareback look at me like I am mad. Those I confided in seem to have judged me for that – maybe they are telling me what I need to hear, but it’s not what I want to hear and has made me perhaps less likely to talk to them again.

My boyfriend keeps his status private so I fit around that. It’s his virus after all.

We’ve had couples counselling and probably will again. I get jealous or insecure – someone took something away from me, and until my partner became undetectable I couldn’t and didn’t dare dream of unsafe sex to reclaim that something special. But now we’re there it feels like a habit we’ve fallen into, and whilst it’s horny it can often feel isolating and destructive.

I had very few sexual partners before my boyfriend, who in comparison had enjoyed casual sex in big cities and has at times appeared to have had a black-book by way of his Facebook ‘friends’. Wherever we go there’s someone he “knows”. It’s either a small world with six degrees of separation or something else is going on…

hushI’d guess two dozen friends and family know our circumstances. The last one to ask how I was coping was three months ago and lives in Australia. I told a girlfriend I had been to hospital very recently and she didn’t ask or respond. My Dad asked months ago – I dressed-up the undetectable viral load and moved on. My partner rarely asks; I think that’s his way of coping. Keep calm and carry on – don’t forget me though.

I chose the title ‘Me and His HIV’ a play on the name of  THT’s support network, for positive people – MyHIV,  which last time I looked didn’t allow HIV negative individuals to access it. I did query them on this – they noted my feedback thank you very much (and thanks for the monthly GiftAid). Maybe I’ll qualify one day?  There are all these studies, such as the PARTNER Study, suggesting that won’t be the case now – which is great news, but doesn’t quite alleviate all my concerns and fears.

I try testing regularly, but it’s such a hassle and not much fun – all that waiting around, and judgement and quizzing from the staff. So I put it off and tell myself that I’ll be fine – not sure I believe it though. As for PrEP – my boyfriend is dismissive, I guess it’s an admission that you are doing something wrong. The study administrators consider his undetectable viral load to mean that it is not really necessary, and it’s not freely accessible in the United Kingdom yet either. With no one endorsing it for me I’ve not been able to take it forward.

I know that everyone copes with situations differently. By writing this piece I hope to catch the attention of both positive and negative people, and ask them how they’d deal with my situation. Are you doing everything you could do help your partner of the opposite status feel safe and secure?

Anon.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Why would you be less likely to talk to your friends again, when they’re only thinking of your welfare? They’re caring of you.

    Barebacking with someone that has a low viral load is, in reality, a low risk. But to your friends, all they would hear in their own minds are things like “unsafe sex” and the harm it could bring.

    You may be OK, and you could feel that you’re taking a risk, but your close friends haven’t gone through the same thought process.

  2. My boyfriend has been HIV positive for just over a year now. He has an undetectable viral load, and since we met the topic has never been something either of us has stigmatised. We’ve always discussed it quite happily. Since meeting him, I’ve realised that HIV is over-stigmatised, generally by people with little knowledge of the virus. A few studies now have recorded no cases of transmission from someone with an undetectable viral load to their HIV negative partner. I don’t see that there’s anything to worry about. It’s simply about discussion and honesty, which are the most vital parts of any relationship.

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