First date bombshell: She's HIV positive. (self.OkCupid)

{OkCupid}

42 ups - 8 downs = 34 votes

I posted this in /r/relationships, but since I met her online, I'll add here (unless that's against the reddit gods, if so, I humbly beg your forgiveness):

I'll keep it short. i met a great girl the other night. She's cute, athletic, educated (PhD) and we got along great. She eventually brought up the fact that dating has been tough on her for the last several years, and it's due to something she usually waits until subsequent dates to discuss. She felt comfortable telling me, so she did...she's HIV positive. I was floored! Of all the possible things she could've told me running through my head, that was not one of them.

She contracted it from a previous monogamous (or so she thought) relationship. I'm completely ignorant on the subject, so I asked a lot of questions. Her levels are extremely low and she's on medication (I'll have to do a lot more reading).

Any suggestions/advice/experience with this sort of thing?

TLDR: First date tells me she's HIV positive. What to do??

64 comments submitted at 00:43:13 on Apr 7, 2014 by ironmantridood

  • [-]
  • DaVinciRollOn
  • 28 Points
  • 00:47:18, 7 April

Have some resources.

It was good and smart for her to disclose early, and good and smart of you to take some time to think about it. Ultimately the decision is yours, and I'm sure she wouldn't blame you if this was a dealbreaker, but you consider all the info. Good luck!

  • [-]
  • ionizable
  • 11 Points
  • 01:13:38, 7 April

adding onto this with a few more resources:

look into prep. it's still a fairly new player in the game, but talking to a doctor or two (as well as your insurance) could be worthwhile. don't forget to look into pep as well if prep seems viable.

it's not an impossible situation, but it's understandably a hefty thing to think about (way better to be doing this now than later though!). some more reading: the world health organization's recommendations for serodiscordant couples. if you'd like to do further reading, "hiv serodiscordance" is a good search term for reliable sources on mismatched hiv status partners.

  • [-]
  • soafraidofbees
  • 9 Points
  • 01:15:52, 7 April

Came here to link this study; glad it was the top comment.

If she's being treated, the chances of her transmitting the virus to a partner are quite low. Of course, there are other issues related to her HIV status that could affect how the two of you relate -- obviously there's still a huge social stigma, plus she will be under the same emotional and possibly financial stresses as anyone else who has to manage a serious medical condition, so there's definitely some baggage attached. But if your immediate concern was for your physical safety, do some reading and I think you'll find that we've come a long way at managing the risk of transmission. Good luck.

  • [-]
  • rozilla
  • 12 Points
  • 00:45:11, 7 April

After the shock wears off, what does your gut say?

  • [-]
  • ironmantridood
  • 45 Points
  • 00:47:17, 7 April

My gut says give her a chance.

  • [-]
  • rozilla
  • 18 Points
  • 00:53:07, 7 April

Then you go for it, my friend! Always always be safe.

Also, I am reminded of this film where Angelina Jolie is very into this guy with HIV, their making out scene is intense.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playingbyheart

  • [-]
  • rozilla
  • 1 Points
  • 02:23:21, 7 April

Thanks for the gold, first time!

  • [-]
  • Phunk131
  • -7 Points
  • 02:29:07, 7 April

Are you sure?

  • [-]
  • raoul_dukes_lawyer
  • -22 Points
  • 01:37:03, 7 April

Lol...move on already! Cause you know, there's plenty of girls out there WHO DO NOT HAVE HIV!!!

  • [-]
  • OKCupid_Adventure
  • 10 Points
  • 02:01:00, 7 April

Wow, yeah, lol, right? Because someone taking the first steps to find out about the potential positives and negatives of something that a woman took a big chance in disclosing is hilarious. And she should be glibly disregarded with the logic of a twelve year old.

You're awesome.

  • [-]
  • raoul_dukes_lawyer
  • -6 Points
  • 02:49:00, 7 April

yeah cause being pragmatic about things is so 12 year oldish!

  • [-]
  • t__mhjr
  • 1 Points
  • 01:58:48, 7 April

yar a gr8 trol

  • [-]
  • bycurious
  • 0 Points
  • 01:56:30, 7 April

Lol?

  • [-]
  • fourlit
  • 12 Points
  • 01:12:44, 7 April

Had a long discussion about HIV transmission rates and life expectancy these days with my corpsman the other day. According to him, it is both difficult to contract even when trying and has little effect on the quality of life of most that get it with access to the right medications. That echoed things I had heard browsing some related subreddits, but I haven't done any legit research. Could be scuttlebutt.

Soooo... worth looking into, is all I'm saying. Still a tough issue/decision.

  • [-]
  • blaw91
  • 1 Points
  • 03:28:22, 7 April

And you know, if you do get HIV, he'll give you some Motrin for that.

  • [-]
  • Multidisciplinary
  • 9 Points
  • 01:17:44, 7 April

Good on her for being honest, and there are some really good references in this thread already. I'd talk to a doctor too.

Don't rush into a decision, necessarily, but don't string her along either.

  • [-]
  • DeadliestGinger
  • 13 Points
  • 02:11:42, 7 April

ITT: People who seemingly know zero about HIV prognosis.

  • [-]
  • MuddieMaeSuggins
  • 5 Points
  • 02:57:33, 7 April

Indeed. A lot of people over 25 or so learned everything they know about HIV in the 90s when it was a lot less treatable than it is today and the bloodbath of the 80s was still fresh in the public mind.

  • [-]
  • J3553
  • 4 Points
  • 01:46:26, 7 April

this was one of the few okc questions i actually thought long and hard about. my first inclination was "hell no" but then i imagined an otherwise amazing woman and i realized it really wouldn't matter. i wouldn't risk years or possibly a lifetime of shitty relationships and loneliness over something like this, even if it meant i only got a 10-20 years with an amazing person.

i hope you give her a chance.

  • [-]
  • Over-Harsh_Criticism
  • 5 Points
  • 02:19:44, 7 April

All's fair in love and war. You can do whatever you want. You are under no obligation to "see past it."

Of course, you can also see past it if you want!

  • [-]
  • Larfox
  • 4 Points
  • 03:01:18, 7 April

One of my best friends has AIDS, and has been on OKC. She has been on medication for almost a decade and is pretty healthy otherwise. Her chances to transmit it are very low.

Unfortunately she can not find anyone who is ok being in a relationship with her. But even after disclosing the information to her dates, they are still willing to sleep with her. I don't get it, and I feel terrible about it.

  • [-]
  • billnyethewifiguy
  • 3 Points
  • 03:45:37, 7 April

Even with low transmission rates and longer life expectancies, it's still tougghhhh financially, emotionally, side effects of meds, etc. Tough call. I don't think I could deal with it.

  • [-]
  • attractivenuisance_
  • 9 Points
  • 00:45:16, 7 April

I have no experience and I wouldn't date someone who is HIV positive, however, I think it would be helpful to consult a health professional to discuss risks and other considerations. Good luck.

  • [-]
  • ironmantridood
  • 9 Points
  • 00:47:33, 7 April

You mean WebMD, right?

  • [-]
  • attractivenuisance_
  • 2 Points
  • 00:48:13, 7 April

Ha. No. Your internist.

  • [-]
  • ironmantridood
  • 4 Points
  • 00:53:10, 7 April

My career field's medical care is pretty specialized (flight medicine), so I'd have to get a referral. I don't think our guys will be too current on HIV :)

  • [-]
  • Ssutuanjoe
  • 11 Points
  • 01:20:53, 7 April

Most people here are being pretty supportive, and only a few nay-sayers. You like this gal, and you said you'd like to give her a shot...so my vote is to go for it.

For what it's worth, most docs these days know that (well-controlled) HIV isn't the death sentence it used to be in the 80s or 90s. Don't let people freak you out with the "It's like playing Russian Roulette!" stuff, because there's a deeper clinical picture to consider. Educate yourself :D Knowing about the meds, how they work, what her viral load means (as far as her health and risk of spreading it to others), and about getting yourself prophylaxis if you decide to take things to the bedroom with her...I think all those things should ease your concerns.

No judgement here if it's a dealbreaker. After all, it goes with the territory and I'm sure she's heard it before. I would only recommend that you don't spend too long hesitating about it, because her feelings are certainly at stake, too.

  • [-]
  • attractivenuisance_
  • 3 Points
  • 00:56:25, 7 April

Whatever it takes to make sure you're making an informed decision

  • [-]
  • IHeartDay9
  • 5 Points
  • 03:09:16, 7 April

I'd sooner date someone with well managed HIV than with Herpes, but that's just me.

  • [-]
  • Wow-Neato
  • 1 Points
  • 03:16:58, 7 April

Why is that?

  • [-]
  • Yitzach
  • 7 Points
  • 01:21:19, 7 April

Do you want kids? (assuming you view her as a potential life partner)

For me, HIV positive is a deal breaker.

I would like to have kids one day. There's a chance HIV gets passed from mother to child. It's something like 1%, but put that on top of the odds of contracting it myself during unprotected sex and I wouldn't be willing to take that chance.

Just a thought.

  • [-]
  • IjsKind
  • 4 Points
  • 03:18:02, 7 April

I'm not saying anything is wrong with your views and I tend to agree with you, but weren't two babies recently cured of HIV with some new procedure? I don't know a lot about it but it seems like a step in the right direction.

  • [-]
  • Yitzach
  • 2 Points
  • 03:47:25, 7 April

I did hear about that, but we can't yet assume that whatever procedure or medication etc is a viable option for everyone.

And as I said, with medication and other therapies during pregnancy for an infected mother the odds of passing HIV to the child is on the low side of 1% (with C-section, among other things).

I'm just not willing to take that 1% chance knowing the effects of HIV/AIDS.

  • [-]
  • IjsKind
  • 1 Points
  • 03:50:09, 7 April

And that's perfectly understandable! I don't think I could, either. But it's interesting to see the medical advances that have been made.

  • [-]
  • kittycat45
  • 4 Points
  • 03:12:51, 7 April

umm people can always adopt/use someone else's eggs

  • [-]
  • Yitzach
  • 0 Points
  • 03:45:06, 7 April

A) Some people (like myself, although I wouldn't be afraid to adopt in addition to having my own kids) want their own children.

B) The egg has nothing to do with whether or not HIV is passed from mother to child.

There are only 4 fluids that can transmit HIV from person to person and the various activities that involve them. 3 of them are heavily involved in Pregnancy(post conception)/birthing/early childhood.

  • Semen
  • Vaginal Fluid
  • Blood
  • Breastmilk

It's not a genetic thing, someone else's egg wouldn't do anything except make the child not genetically the birth mother's (assuming in vitro fertilization).

You contract HIV, you don't inherit it.

  • [-]
  • rnztanfotograf
  • 1 Points
  • 03:22:38, 7 April

For any accurate reference from the MD/PhD's on HIV/AIDS, I highly recommend a site called "The Smart Couple Project" at: http://www.thebody.com/content/art14649.html.

I am not qualified to dispense advice, other than leading you to a reputable source on the topic concerning sero-discordant couples. If you follow the link I provided, you find information on how HIV+ and HIV- couples make it work in their relationship and their chemistry in the bedroom.

I CAN and WILL dispense the following advice when you asked, "What to do??"

Please DON'T freak out or react in a negative manner. Read up the basics on the how HIV replicates and more importantly—read up on the transmissive mechanisms on HIV. For example, everyone should know that it is OK to hug an HIV+ person. If you start exchanging sexual bodily fluids, obviously your chances of contracting the HIV strain of your sexual partner will be increased exponentially.

Since you mentioned the key phrase, "her levels are extremely low and she's on medication." Low levels mean that her viral loads are "undetectable," which is a good indication that her prescribed medications are working for her and her HIV/AIDS situation is managed accordingly.

Please show compassion and kindness towards her. It took courage for her to be open about her condition.

  • [-]
  • Pulsating_Pickle
  • 1 Points
  • 03:41:49, 7 April

My mom has AIDS and she has had it since 1990, shortly after my little brother was born. My brother and I both tested negative for it. My mother traces back the infection to my biological father because he was both a Bi-Sexual who frequently slept with various people without protection as well as an Intravenous drug user. A couple years after they were diagnosed my biological father committed suicide.

In 1996 my mother remarried to the man that become my father. It was one of those things she had to bring up at the time. Hey I have two kids and by the way I have AIDS. When I ask my father why he didn't run away at that very instant he says because he knew it was love or something to that effect.

My parents are still happily married and whenever I call home I ask my dad, "So how's Mom?" and his response is always "Still Bitchin" so I'm positive the love has never faded.

She does take a cocktail of medicines and has frequent doctors appointments for a range of issues but nothing that she ever lets bring her down.

TL;DR

Give her a chance. I'm glad my dad did because he helped make me the man I am today and he has always been there for the three of us.

Edit: Since this is the usually the first asked question I'll answer it now. Yes they have sex. No my Dad doesn't have AIDS.

  • [-]
  • chasineverlight
  • 1 Points
  • 03:46:55, 7 April

If you do continue with her and are nervous about things escalating I would talk to your Doctor about Truvada. It's a medicine designed to both treat HIV AND help prevent it (along with safe sex practices) in at risk adults. Honestly more people need to know it exists.

As for the girl. Dude. If she's worth it. It shouldn't matter. Go for it.

  • [-]
  • randarrow
  • 1 Points
  • 03:56:23, 7 April

She should be using specialist dating websites like positivesingles.com . This is like showing up to a date and saying "You don't mind if I juggle hand grenades, do you? Don't worry, the pins are in, as long as everything goes right we'll be OK. Juggling hand grenades is OK if you do your research first.. Don't worry, here are some ear plugs in case one goes off..." We wouldn't accept someone with bad breath, why the FUCK would we accept someone with whom having sex could kill us, or at the least lower our standard of living.

  • [-]
  • Duces_Tecum
  • 2 Points
  • 00:54:12, 7 April

To me, that's a deal breaker. I wouldn't knowingly subject myself to a disease that will in all likelihood kill me. She may be amazing, maybe even the one, but, to me, it would be like playing Russian Roulette and pulling the trigger over and over. Mentally, I don't think I could ever get over that.

  • [-]
  • Speed_Junkie
  • 4 Points
  • 02:48:53, 7 April

I thought that medication meant that it was near impossible to contract?

  • [-]
  • kubryk
  • -10 Points
  • 00:47:46, 7 April

Damn. It's kind of like dating someone with Herpes I suppose; if you're going to get serious and all sorts of freaky then you're going to get the disease most likely.

  • [-]
  • MuddieMaeSuggins
  • 6 Points
  • 01:11:30, 7 April

Not necessarily. Sero-discordant couples are not unknown and there's actually been a fair bit of research on them. It's possible for the negative partner to never contract HIV.

  • [-]
  • kubryk
  • -2 Points
  • 01:12:42, 7 April

I always say "why risk it?"

  • [-]
  • MuddieMaeSuggins
  • 2 Points
  • 01:15:45, 7 April

A completely valid choice if that's what you're comfortable with. I can't say I wouldn't make the same decision but I haven't been faced with it yet, and I don't honestly know what I'd do. That said, for the OP it's worth doing some research on this if they want to.

  • [-]
  • ironmantridood
  • 5 Points
  • 00:50:11, 7 April

Yeah, that's one thing that "freaks" me out is when I was a kid, all we ever heard about was AIDS AIDS AIDS and saw footage of people on the verge of death. Then, cancer started getting more starring roles in the public eye so HIV/AIDS took a back seat. After doing some initial research, HIV research/medicine has come a damn long way (I think. If it's on the the internet, it's true, right?)

  • [-]
  • kubryk
  • -5 Points
  • 00:53:15, 7 April

AIDS is getting closer to being the new Diabetes in terms of treatment ... but it's still a death sentence.

  • [-]
  • dontforgetit
  • 12 Points
  • 01:26:17, 7 April

But isn't life a death sentence?

  • [-]
  • updock
  • 1 Points
  • 02:08:15, 7 April

Yes. And would you rather live to be 85 or die when you're 50? It's not that having AIDS might make you suddenly die one day, it's that it will reduce your lifespan - whether you die from AIDS or not. additionally, it will also make your life much harder.

  • [-]
  • bondagenurse
  • 2 Points
  • 00:55:54, 7 April

Whoa, but you look at herpes and you get it. HIV isn't that easy to acquire. It requires more than contact.

  • [-]
  • kubryk
  • -2 Points
  • 00:59:46, 7 April

Why risk it? It's like putting a gun to your head with your finger on the trigger, figuring out whether or not to pull the trigger.

  • [-]
  • duriancupcakes
  • 8 Points
  • 01:24:27, 7 April

Being in a relationship with someone with HIV is not like "putting a gun to your head with your finger on the trigger". With proper contraceptive use, the odds of contracting HIV from an HIV+ partner are minimal.

People with HIV are not guns. It's not suicide to decide to have a relationship with someone who has a treatable communicable disease. (And, again, correct use of contraceptives can go a long way in minimizing the risk of getting HIV from a partner.)

Personally I think it's kind of distressing that you would make a comment like that.

  • [-]
  • bondagenurse
  • 3 Points
  • 01:17:38, 7 April

Hmmmm, if we're going to talk about risks....

I think it's more like skydiving, race car driving, etc. Doing things which may end up with you dead. And yet people do them. Because they are fun! Life enhancing! Thrilling! Kind of like the energy you feel when you start a new relationship, or the happiness of having a long term successful relationship.

You get no pleasure from the gun pressed up against your head, so your example is not taking into account this smart, pretty woman that the OP is romancing. We take some risks in life in order to have better, more satisfying lives. If you're smart and do your research, which OP is now trying to do, you can mitigate many of those risks, but you have to accept that acquiring HIV is a possible outcome with negative ramifications for the rest of his life. I've known plenty of people with sero-poz partners that are neg themselves and they've stayed that way through being careful.

  • [-]
  • goodbyeballys
  • 3 Points
  • 01:57:19, 7 April

> I think it's more like skydiving, race car driving, etc. Doing things which may end up with you dead. And yet people do them. Because they are fun! Life enhancing! Thrilling!

Are you seriously equating dating someone who is HIV positive to doing these things?

  • [-]
  • OKCupid_Adventure
  • 3 Points
  • 02:08:19, 7 April

It isn't the best analogy, but it's not entirely the worst, either, is it? Skydiving, race car driving, regular sex with someone who is HIV positive - all are things that have significant potential downsides if the worst possible thing happens, but all are actually pretty darn safe if you take precautions, use your head, and get educated about what you're getting into.

  • [-]
  • MuddieMaeSuggins
  • 1 Points
  • 02:54:32, 7 April

For that matter, sex with anyone involves inherent risks. A lot of people assume they and their partners are clean without rational reason to. A untreated HIV+ person who doesn't know their status is likely a riskier sex partner than a person who is getting appropriate treatment and has an undetectable viral load.

  • [-]
  • bondagenurse
  • 2 Points
  • 02:05:34, 7 April

Meh, I'm not braining well today. Isn't there some famous movie speech or something about the terror and joy that is love? Or something? Whatever. Do risky thing (have sex with HIV positive person) for the other, mostly intangible good things (yay sex and dating and stuff) if you feel the risk is worth the payoff, and take proper steps to mitigate the risks as possible.

  • [-]
  • arcanescience
  • 0 Points
  • 00:58:09, 7 April

I dated a girl with herpes for two years. We used a condom maybe once, and had sex almost every single day. She took Valtrex and had one breakout to my knowledge.

I'm clean. Not sure about dating someone with HIV though.

  • [-]
  • kubryk
  • 3 Points
  • 00:59:14, 7 April

A buddy of hooked up with a girl with Herpes once and got it ... she was on Valtrex as well. Depends on the person I guess.

  • [-]
  • arcanescience
  • 1 Points
  • 02:50:47, 7 April

Yeah, it really does. Apparently some people are like havens and the virus can sit there and play farmville all day, while others force it into submission. Sorry about your friend.

  • [-]
  • kubryk
  • 2 Points
  • 02:54:04, 7 April

Well ... he knew she had it and said "SHe's hot, it's not a big deal." So in a way I didn't feel all that bad ...

  • [-]
  • Wow-Neato
  • 1 Points
  • 03:19:53, 7 April

It has a lot to do with protection and how well they manage it. If they're lazy and uneducated about it, transmission is much more likely than if they're proactive and know the risks.

  • [-]
  • ironmantridood
  • 1 Points
  • 01:03:10, 7 April

Yeah, I've never encountered (to my knowledge, ha!) any STD and I get tested at work each year. So, for my first STD foray, this was a little extreme!