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09 Apr 2006

Lost my dream
I tested HIV positive just over 5 months ago. At the time I freaked out but I'm OK with it now, I've changed many aspects of my life, I am healthy (CD4 of 680) and generally doing very well. I'm 32 and generally successful and have a good career and many good friends. But there's one thing that feels as if it is tearing me apart and I can't let go of and that makes me incredibly sad - the thought that I won't ever have another relationship. I've been single for 3 years and that has been OK because I always knew I would meet someone really special and instead of going out there and trying to meet someone I've been working on myself, trying to improve myself in every possible way so that I'd be a better person and in a way worthy of that guy I knew was out there for me. I wasn't in a hurry to meet him. Now that belief in having that relationship is smashed somehow and it really makes me sad and a bit lost, I kind of ask myself what's the point in trying so hard to lead a great life and to become a better person and improve myself. Hope I'm making sense here but if anyone feels or felt the same way I'd like to hear your views on this, especially if you're HIV positive.
Answer 392 views
Gay, lesbian and bisexual expert
gay, lesbian and bisexual expert

01 Jan 0001

Hi Solid, welcome to our forum and thanks for your post, which I think many people will be able to relate to. Firstly, congrats on your CD4 count and that you're doing so well.

Dealing with a positive HIV result is always a crisis which people respond to in different ways. On many levels this relates to a fear of the unknown, a sense of not being in control, being confronted with mortality, a sense of loss and frequently a sense of guilt or shame.

For many people the sense of loss can be quite profound. This often translates into a sense of loss of the person they perceived themselves to be prior to testing positive. Many gay men experience a loss of 'innocence' (which resonates with their sense of guilt or shame), while many people focus on the potential loss of how they anticipated their lives unfolding. A profound sense of losing the concept of the ideal relationship is, sadly, fairly common among single gay men. Somehow, becoming HIV positive makes the idealised relationship seem out of reach.

This is probably more pronounced for you because of the high regard you already held for your potential partner - you had to strive to make yourself "worthy" of him. You tended to over-value him (or the fantasy ‘him’). It is quite possible that you may have a sense of shame about being HIV positive and because you have difficulty in accepting yourself you project this onto your fantasy partner and conclude that he won't accept you either.

If he's really worthy of being on that pedestal he'll certainly accept you, with or without your being HIV positive.

On another level, did it never occur to you that your ideal partner may be HIV positive himself? Would that have negated your perception of him? Quite possibly you need to review how you view other gay men who are HIV positive and question to what extent your own attitudes and perceptions are resonating with your current fear of not finding your ideal partner.

There are countless gay men out there who are HIV positive, and many of them are in very functional relationships. Both sero-concordant (both partners are HIV positive) and sero-discordant (only one partner is HIV positive). Love has no limitations so hang onto that plan to meet Mr. Right.

If you want to explore this further you may want to speak to counsellor, or you can call the Gay & Lesbian Helpline any day between 1 pm and 9pm on (021) 4 222 500.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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