It’s almost National Youth HIV Awareness Day. Last year I wrote something about it that was positive. This year I’m having a hard time being positive. Maybe it’s because I’m a teenage girl and because of puberty I’m really sensitive about everything. But I don’t think that’s all. I think as I get older certain things about me having HIV get harder.
I’m not ashamed of living with HIV. It’s not a bad thing – it’s part of me. But it complicates things sometimes. One thing that it is complicated right now is dating. It seems like almost everyone around me is dating. Everybody but me.
I have never had a real boyfriend. I’ve had a crush on a guy, and I’ve had guys have crushes on me. There’s a guy who I can tell likes me right now (but I don’t like him back because he really annoys me). But having a crush is not the same as having a boyfriend. A lot of my friends have had boyfriends, but it’s not as easy for me as it is for them. Because they don’t have HIV like I do.
When they meet a cute guy, all they have to worry about is whether he is nice, whether he’s a Christian, whether he likes them back, whether he’s smart, whether he’s a player, whether their mom or dad will let them go out with somebody or whether they’ll have to sneak to date him. I have to worry about that AND whether he or his parents are going to have a problem with me having HIV. I think about it a lot and it stresses me out.
When I was little, I was scared that nobody would want to be with me because I have HIV, so I decided I would just fall in love with one of the guys from camp. Because all of them either have HIV or somebody in their family has it, so they don’t care about it. But later I started thinking it wasn’t fair that I would be stuck having to choose only camp people when there’s billions of people all over the world. (And some of the guys from camp are really weird.)
But if you don’t date at camp, then you don’t always know what’s going to happen. Somebody at school or church or some other place might seem nice, but how do you know you can trust them? What if they only date me because they feel sorry for me? Or if they’re trying to use me because they think I’m desperate and I’ll do anything to keep them?
And if I don’t tell them then when they do find out they’ll be mad that I didn’t trust them enough to tell them. Trust is important in relationships. I know I would be mad if I found out my boyfriend didn’t trust me, so of course they would be mad at me if I didn’t say anything and later I told them about it.
I know lots of people living with HIV fall in love, get married and have a family. But a lot of people are alone too. I’m okay being alone now, but I don’t want to be single forever. I don’t want to hide or lie about who I am and I don’t want to just pick any random guy.
A lot of people don’t understand young people that have HIV have problems too. Everything isn’t easy for us just because we are young. It’s good that we have meds and that we can grow up to be old, but we still have things to worry about.
Today, I am worried about if I will ever find someone to love me for me.
Information and Resources from HIVE
Are you a woman living with HIV? Check out The Well Project for fantastic resources! Interested in policy and advocacy work? Join Positive Women?s Network. Looking for information on how you can have a baby? Check out HIVE?s HIV+ Women page.
Looking for a platform for your voice? Interested in helping others by sharing your story? We can work with you if you prefer to be anonymous. No professional writing skills necessary. Contact Caroline@HIVEonline.org.
Dear Mina K:
You are such a bright light! Thank you for writing and sharing your story. It’s not easy wondering about love and thinking about whether or not we will love and be loved in life. I admire your maturity for looking at yourself and the people around you so deeply, for recognizing what attracts you and what you really want.
I wish for a path in this world where you get a million chances to love and be loved. Then to do it all over again. Lucky all the people who will get to know you and love you.
Carry on, sister.
Mina I have been living with HIV for 8 years now. I’m 44 and divorced. I feel the exact same way and so do a lot of women like us. Just be patient, focus on the positive and prepare yourself for the greatest love story ever. God bless you always. (((Hugs)))?
Thank you for sharing this with us. Sometimes we tend to take things fore granted and assume we know how the next person feels. First of all I want you to look into what I call the ” imaginary” mirror and say out loud who it is that you see there. Answer: YOU. There is no one like you, not by a slightest inch. Even if you had a twin she wouldn’t really be exactly like you. You don’t pity yourself so don’t let others pity you just because of your status. You are intelligent enough to know when someone is really genuine about his/her feelings towards you. The important thing to remember is that as a teenager, you need to be true to yourself and focus on what is good for you by your standards, not someone else’s. Notice how I keep emphasising YOU. This is what this is about!!!! The difficult thing about teenagers and dating is the disclosure issue and sometimes it sucks. Take time, think it through and if need be seek advice from the right people who have the right knowledge. You are doing good so far!!!! Love you to bits-not because of your status but because you have heart.
thanks for being brave enough to express your feelings.
With your permission i would like to share this on our web site at the University of Miami. Plz let me know.
Thank you Shannon, Marie, and Alex. It is ok to share it.
As a peer educator & fellow advocate… I solute you and am extremely proud of you and your courage to speak up!
You are a beautiful person inside/out and God will give you the perfect partner… Someone who’s supportive, understanding and loving of you no matter what! There are now so many options to keep our partners safe and education is the best tool you can provide anyone who’s interested in you…
God bless you and keep on educating your peers!!!