I am 28. White. A Female. And a former Peace Corps Volunteer. I am HIV Positive. This is my story of how a few months, a few people, and a few events in Zambia changed me and my life forever. This is the story of how I contracted HIV and brought my Peace Corps Journey to a crashing halt... and how I am working now to pick up and put back together the pieces of my life as a newly diagnosed person living with HIV. This was not the journey I had originally planned... my path has traumatically and dramatically changed... but it is the one I am on now. There is no going back. There is only forward. I welcome you to follow along with me as I attempt to explore this new life ahead of me, whether you are someone from the Peace Corps community, or someone living with HIV. I welcome your comments, questions, suggestions, and opinions. Let us go forward together. To start from the beginning, click here He Gave Me More Than A Bracelet.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dating Update 1

I promised you I would keep you all updated on my "adventures" with dating....

Well, I have gone out on a few dates with a few people in the last couple weeks.

I went on a date with a guy from the HIV dating site. He was a nice guy, and it was nice to hang out with someone without having to worry about any secrets or judgements or anything like that. It was also nice to be able to discuss/compare/share our stories and various feelings and experiences so far with HIV. Right now we are just keeping in contact as friends.

I then went on about 3 dates with a guy from my kickball team (someone I have known for about 5 months now). We had fun going out for dinner, drinks, the beach, and hanging out at my house. We talked a lot and went through all the normal "getting to know you" conversations. I felt uncomfortable a few times as the conversation steered too close to coming back from Africa or how I met/got together with my ex (as those things are both related to the HIV). After hanging out a few times, we decided to just be friends, as there is actually a VERY big age difference between us and we decided it was just too weird.

Most recently, I went on 2 dates with another guy from my kickball team (I've also known him for about 5 months). We had a very eventful 2 dates, including homemade dinner, drinks, yardsaling, canoeing, dinner out, casino, and relaxing watching the basketball game. We have hit it off pretty well so far. Again, there have been some uncomfortable/awkward moments where I feel like I have to tiptoe around things to omit HIV related topics. It is a horrible feeling to be sitting there trying your best to get to know someone and let them get to know you, but the whole time feeling guilty because you are hiding something HUGE. Well, regardless of how guilty I was feeling, we still had a very enjoyable time and we ended up cuddling and kissing....which I am now having mixed feelings about (as I really did not intend to even kiss anybody before I tell them my "secret").

So there you have the details about what has gone on on the outside. Now, for a little more insight to the inside....

As I mentioned, with both of the negative guys, there were multiple times where it felt awkward and uncomfortable, or where I felt I needed to change the direction of the conversation in order to avoid certain topics. They of course want to know all about Peace Corps and Africa (but every time I talk about Africa, all it reminds me of is contracting HIV). They want to know where/how I met my ex (at an HIV conference, but I can't say that). They want to know why I don't accept friend requests on Facebook (because none of my new friends, kickball team, or co-workers know my status and I don't want them to find out). And so on...

So, the whole time I am with them, and when I am at home on my own, my thoughts have overwhelmingly been stuck on how and when I should disclose. I want to wait long enough to make sure that I really like the person and the person really likes me, and that there is an honest intention of the relationship going somewhere. I also want to wait until I know that I can trust the person with the information, regardless of whether they stay with me or not. This is especially complicated because the guys so far are from the kickball team, and I definitely do not want the information to be passed to the whole team, nor to one of my co-workers who is also one the team, which would then give it a chance to be passed on to my workplace. But at the same time, the longer I wait the more guilty and unsettled I feel. I hate hiding things. I hate lying to people. I hate feeling guilty just because I kissed someone before telling them.

I want to know WHEN it is going to be the right time. But I don't think there is a clear answer. I don't feel like it is going to be something I can schedule or plan for in advance. I think I am just going to have to take it day by day and conversation by conversation, and when I suddenly feel like it is right, I will just have to somehow find the guts to go for it.

Stay tuned for more updates...
                            (getting all dressed up for my friends' wedding last weekend)


  1. Looking stunning!
    I'm sorry about the difficulties you're facing. I really don't have any good advice about it. I guess if I were going on dates with someone I would want to know... but then again, I don't know WHEN I would want to know. Not the first few dates, I guess. So it is really difficult, and I think it's awesome that you're sharing the experience.
    I wish you well!

  2. Hello, first I must commend your courage to even write your heart out here. U have nothing to worry about I assure. I can't imagine the world without people like u. U make all the difference. I'd love to meet u someday. I wrote u on POZ.com. My name is David. Keep being yourself.