So, Where is My Prince Charming? : Dating While Living With HIV
With all the media excitement over the engagement and upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, I had begun to feel some kind of way, after constantly seeing their pictures plastered all over the tabloids in the checkout line at the supermarket. Standing there with groceries in hand, I began to go to that dark place of self-pity and started to wonder—so, where is my Prince Charming? But, I had to stop and think, is that a reality for me as an older Black woman living with HIV? I just have too many realities to consider, first I’m 67 years old, and available men around my age are scarce, plus I have HIV. And if you are a person who is living with HIV, you probably already understand how dating while living with HIV can be difficult.
In spite of the scientific breakthrough of U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable), I still have to face up to reality. I’m ecstatic that U=U has made me feel better about myself as a person living with HIV. I no longer feel like I’m a walking biohazard and a danger to anyone, but U=U probably won’t help me to find my Prince Charming. The reality is that most people are still afraid to date someone who has HIV. Even when the U=U studies prove that an undetectable viral load means you can not transmit HIV, it’s still hard to break old beliefs that some people have about people living with HIV. The common belief today is that we are still infectious and to be feared. I was disheartened after listening to a Wendy Williams People Poll question on Wendyista blogspot.com. She posed a question, “Would you pursue a relationship with someone who’s HIV-positive?” Ninety-five percent replied no, and five percent said yes, but most of those 5% basically said they would only have a platonic relationship.
Although this Wendy blogspot was posted in 2017, it’s supposed to be a flashback from a previous show from years ago. I was relieved to know that, but are people today more educated about HIV? Some people are but others have a long way to go; I discovered that after I recently read quite a few ignorant comments on a Facebook thread. The question arose about being intimate with a person who has HIV. The numerous responses ranged from an almost apologetic “hell no” to a graphic, disgusting comment one man wrote, “I would rather put my dick in a meat grinder.”
I understand that most people are still not educated about HIV transmission and even when presented with the correct and updated information, it may take time to change their thinking. And sadly, some people will never change what they believe.
So, because of stigma and ignorance about HIV, I face the reality that my prince may not be on his way, but I’m okay with that. I’m not going to hold my breath waiting, but I will continue living a wonderful, fulfilling life. Also, I have been married twice so I’m not looking for marriage but a companion would be nice. Because honestly it does get a little lonely at times. Oh, and forget online dating, gone are the days of surfing the dating websites; I’ve kissed too many frogs in hopes that they would transform into my prince.
But I still have faith and believe in possibilities ,what would life be without those? I’ve learned to stand up to the truths and realities of my life with HIV, so that I can live my best life. I know that in order to have real love in my life I have to love myself more. I must stay close to my loving family and supportive friends, practice self-care and love myself like I would want someone to love me.
Of course on May 19th 2018, that magical day of the royal nuptials, I’ll be glued to the television. I’m always happy when two people find each other, fall in love and get married. But, I’ll be just as happy waltzing around the house with myself and singing, “Some Day My Prince Will Come”— because anything is possible!
To learn more about U=U (undetectable equals untransmittable), the
science that states if a person living with HIV is in treatment and maintains an undetectable viral load for 6 months or more then that person cannot transmit HIV. Please visit:https://www.preventionaccess.org