When Do You Tell Your Date That You’re HIV-Positive?

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If you’re single and HIV-positive, the dating scene is more than just “Does he think I’m cute?” and “What should I wear on our second date?” It also encompasses “When do I reveal I’m positive?”

There seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to the big reveal: 1) Rip the Band-Aid off and tell a prospective suitor right away that you’re HIV-positive, so there aren’t any misconceptions or hurt down the road; or 2) Get to the know the person a bit to see if there’s a connection, and then give the news, hoping it won’t scare the person away. (There’s also Option 3 — never tell the person — which, uh, could be illegal in some places.)

And why wouldn’t some folks be reluctant to reveal their status? While some men wear their HIV on their sleeve (perhaps branding an issue of POZ magazine in their man purse), others less so. And with reason: “A study released on Wednesday by Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York says half of Americans surveyed believe HIV/AIDS contributes to anti-gay bias — the same proportion as in 1986,” notes the Miami Herald. But what about bias from other gay men?

In group therapy, Felix González shared an incident that provoked his ire and made him feel awful. He had met a man one recent night and they agreed to have lunch the next day. When Gónzalez, 39, disclosed his status, “he automatically lost all enthusiasm of continuing the conversation.”

For González it is important to be honest upfront. However, other men with HIV believe that if the person doesn’t ask their status, it is because he would rather not know.

”It is a struggle for them, because on the one hand they want to be responsible, but on the other they want to protect themselves from breaching confidentiality and rejection,” said Linda Simon, the Miami Beach program’s psychotherapist.

Sure, everyone enjoys the freedom to not get involved in a relationship with a person with HIV/AIDS.

But it’s also true that some in the gay community should be more sensitive when responding to these situations and not shut out a potential friendship.

It is dreadful that from fear of rejection, someone might place another at risk, just as it is to not show compassion.