By Alex Kopel, HIV Equal
If you are in a new relationship with someone who is HIV-positive, you might not know just how to be as supportive as you would like to. Just remember that all relationships can have ups, downs, and quirks that you will have to work through together. Living with HIV definitely comes with its share of issues, but an HIV-positive diagnosis doesn’t need to strain or define your relationship.
If you want to be the best supportive partner a guy or girl could ask for, here are five easy tips to help get you there.
Don't dwell in the past.
Just because your partner tested positive for HIV doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she was reckless or did something bad. We all have a past and we all have done things that have placed us at risk from time to time. Focusing on the past isn’t going to help in the present. It’s best to let go of the past and move forward.
Educating yourself about HIV will not only help calm your own fears, but it’s a great way to show your partner that you care and are on their side. Stay up to date with research, treatments and preventative measures. Use facts to help your partner stay optimistic, reassure him or her that everything is going to be okay.
Go to the doctor together.
Show support by going with your partner to the doctor or to pick up his or her meds. Let your partner know that you want to do this not because he or she is scared or needs your help, but because you want to be part of all aspects of each other's life. Getting blood work done is no different than any other errand he or she has to run and it can even be quite the bonding experience.
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Everyone knows that good communication is a necessary part of any good relationship, but this is especially true if your partner is HIV-positive. Discuss how and when you want to tell friends or family. If you are in an open relationship, discuss how this changes how you want to approach hook-ups. Make sure you tell your partner how you’re feeling, but also be there to listen to what he or she’s going through and what your partner needs.
Show your partner unconditional love.
Reassure your partner again and again that an HIV-status doesn’t change who he or she is as a person and doesn’t change the love you have together. With time, HIV will just become another detail in your lives. Through mutual understanding and support, it can even strengthen the relationship that you already have.