If you ask someone who’s HIV positive and what their greatest fear is. I’m taking a gamble and I would say that someone learning about their status would be first and the second greatest fear is rejection. The fact that someone you know or trying to get to know turn their back on you because of who you are and what you carry inside of you is a hurtful experience.
Even in my forties rejection it is still a painful monster. You would think that I would have developed thick enough skin, but in most case I let it roll back down, but there’s always those small gaps of glimmer when you let down your guard and share your true self and when you do you end up with a turned back.
Looking back I remember one of my early form of rejection. I was dating this guy and we were really into each other. I hadn’t told him I was positive because I didn’t know the right time. That’s the tricky part about being positive is finding the right time to let someone know. Do you let them know on the first date when they may refuse to see you anymore and start putting your business on the street or do you wait until the second date when they may feel like you should have told you in the beginning which makes them see as someone deceitful and non-trustworthy. Back to the guy I was dating. At the time I chose not to tell him as we were not having sex but we did spend some fun times on dates like going to the movies, walking the town, talking about things in common. When I felt he wanted to go to the second level I took out my Boy Scout badge and thought I would do the right thing and let him know my status. Literally and I’m not exaggerating, he broke off the date for that night. which was cool as I just gave him some heavy news. I even gave him a couple of days to digest the news. When I didn’t hear back I called him and the phone always went to voice mail. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt I stopped by his house when I knew he was home and the knocking of the door would go unanswered. He even went to the trouble of disconnecting his number.
It was hurtful and it made me not want to share my status with anyone. I thought I was doing the right thing. I say that so that people can understand why those who are positive don’t readily share their staus. It’s not because of a devious plot but it’s the fear of being hurt. And when you’re looking for a partner or want to develop a relationship it gets real tricky.
Everyone no matter who you are wants to be loved and find love. even animals find comfort in love. When you’re positive it makes it more difficult because it’s the finding that one person who will accept you for who you are. It’s a hard balance. Even since I started this blog and have been honest with my status I have been de-friended on Facebook by some people and for those I have no hate or negative feelings toward. That’s who they are and the place their in. But when it comes to falling in love and truly opening your heart to someone to build a future, you want to carry that same disregard but underneath it is a level of hurt you only share with yourself. In the public you’re strong but behind closed doors, the true you emerges.
I think that’s why I have some sympathy for those who get into relationships and don’t share their status right away. I suppose for me the only thing I’m against is if you’re getting into a relationship, especially an intimate one and not only sharing but also not being safe. But also when it comes to sex it takes two. If you’re having sex with someone it’s not just their responsibility of them telling you their status but you also have to ask yourself.
At my job I help design ads that speak against HIV stigma and the silence and this is the final product:
I hope those who are positive don’t let the stigma stop them from finding love and that instead of turned backs they’ll find open arms!