Being HIV-positive is a challenge. Being HIV-positive and single is often a nightmare. We all want to love and be loved, but the barriers- social and psychological- for HIV-positive persons are high. From The Seattle Times:
Like many women with HIV/AIDS, Nicole Price worried about love and life, post-diagnosis. She now counsels HIV-positive women on forging romantic relationships, knowing each time out that disclosing one’s status can be a deal-breaker.
In 2000, Nicole Price’s ex-boyfriend fell ill. They had recently ended a five-year relationship, so she went to see him in the hospital. He had AIDS.
She got tested. She was 24.
“It was the longest two weeks of my life,” said Price, now 37. “We thought we would get back together because we both had it.”
At the time of her diagnosis, Price was using meth and living in California when her mother, a Bothell resident, learned about a Seattle-based support group for HIV-positive women.
Within two years, she packed her bags for Bothell for a fresh start.
Like many women with HIV/AIDS, Price worried about love and life, post-diagnosis. Once she settled here, she became increasingly involved with the support group, BABES Network-YWCA, eventually rising to program manager. Price now counsels HIV-positive women on forging romantic relationships, knowing each time out that disclosing one’s status can be a deal-breaker.
“They can stop having sex altogether and never do it again,” Price said. “Some of our women have chosen to be in a lesbian relationship. Actually quite a few of our women have. I think they feel that betrayal. They feel like maybe they got betrayed, and now they have issues when it comes to men.”
Trusting a sexual partner and dealing with rejection are regular topics at BABES.
Through peer counseling, support groups, educational lectures and retreats, BABES tackles the challenge of maintaining relationships — especially romantic ones — after testing positive. Women take part in mock disclosures, an exercise meant to ease the stress of telling a partner about being HIV-positive.
“I encourage women to date when they’re ready. I ask them questions to see if they’re ready. When do you want to disclose your status? Are you ready for the response?” said Brenda Higgins, a BABES peer advocate.
“I’m never ready for the response I’m getting,” she added. “There’s really no way of preparing someone with that.”