On the other hand, one needs to consider whether their confidentiality will be protected after disclosure.
It is a tug of war.“When one person is infected and has an undetectable viral load, there’s little risk of transmitting the virus to the other party and so some choose not to tell – especially if it’s casual sex.
But in case of long-term relationships, the parties need to discuss this at length.“HIV should be an everyday discussion among couples, just to ensure that they continue to safeguard their negative status, rather than continue in ‘good faith’ and end up being infected.
I think we are far from discussing or just letting anyone know our status the way one would do with diabetes or cancer.
I ask them, “Do married couples talk about HIV/Aids?
” Patrick, the more talkative and animated of the two, quips, “Aiii bwana!
But the same girlfriend from the nightclub got to him first. Florence confirms that disclosing one’s status could be received either way.
“I’ve had a man show up for our Valentine’s dinner after he found out.
You can’t disclose every tiny detail on the first date though; there’s a gradual process of mutual disclosure.“People very often don’t do that in casual relationships, and this causes trouble when a fling gradually turns into something serious.
Most importantly, many people do not know their HIV status.
But those who realise that something serious is starting should always give each other a broad-brush description of their relationship history (no details, just the basics).
This is still the most stigmatised disease and I don’t want to come into a relationship from a point of shame. ‘HIV positive’ is not my identity.” Florence has been in her current relationship for three years.
When does Florence think is the best time to disclose one’s status while dating?
They used condoms for the first two months of dating, “then one day we just did it without,” she says. After that I had a pregnancy scare which turned into a HIV scare. “I’d go out with my friends, meet guys and engage in some harmless flirting. He asked me if there was something he needed to know, like my health status.