This thread is another in an ongoing series of threads regarding HIV.

Two other threads in the series:
"OMG! I just found out I'm HIV+!!!!"
OMG! I can't believe I'm still alive!

Recently, another younger RJ'r contacted me after they had had unprotected sex. I am sharing the exchange for the benefit of any other RJ'rs out there who may benefit from the sharing of my personal experience and viewpoints...

Hey I saw your post about positive living with HIV. I had unprotected sex about (redacted; certain time period less than 90 days mentioned) ago and I felt regret soon after. I took an HIV test and it was negative. But I keep having this odd fear that I have or will get HIV in my lifetime. I don't want this fear to hinder my dating life. Any tips on how to get over the fear of getting HIV.

Here is my response...

First, I commend you on taking decisive action in getting an HIV test and I'm very happy to hear that the result is negative. I suggest that you have a follow up test about 90 days after the day when you had unprotected sex. HIV infection can take time to show up on a test. Keep yourself healthy in the mean time and be conscious of any kind of "flu like symptoms" which you may encounter before you get your next HIV test. I do hope that if you get another test after 90 days that it also comes out negative and that you've "dodged a bullet".

I'm sorry to hear that you had to experience regret and fear after having unprotected sex. Unfortunately, for many people this is a natural response to making a sexual risk management decision "in the moment" that must have crossed your sexual risk management tolerance boundaries. Consider learning more about HIV and other STDs, as well as sexual risk management strategies and tactics. You can learn a lot from online resources. And, I suggest that you consider seeking out an HIV/AIDS services organization which offers facilitated peer discussion groups about sexual risk management issues, strategies and practices. I've found that by speaking with other people my age (and other ages) about our experiences in what issues we face and how we address sexual risk management, that I'm able to establish reasonable and appropriate boundaries for my own conduct so that I never have to feel guilt about my sexual behavior.

Now let's address the fear of HIV. A healthy respect for HIV is wise. However, fear of HIV to the point where it interferes with a healthy, active dating and sexually fulfilling lifestyle is (IMHO) not healthy. From my own experience, I have found that I need to balance my healthy respect for all of the STDs out in the world with my natural, healthy desires to have sexual relations with others. Again, I've found that educating myself about HIV, what it means, what it doesn't mean, transmission risk, transmission risk mitigation measures all contribute to a sense of serenity which I now enjoy as I have sexual relations with others.

My situation is a bit different. I am HIV+ "undetectable" through treatment, so my focus is both on 1) not infecting anybody else even though that risk is minimized by my "undetectable" condition; and, 2) I don't want to get some other STD or possibly reinfected with a treatment resistant strain of HIV. I know that last focus of concern is controversial, but it is still a focus of concern for me none the less.

I hope that what I've had to share with you helps you to educate yourself so that you can determine where to "draw the lines" with your own sexual risk management practices in balance with having a healthy dating and sexually active life.

Please feel free to message me again if you have follow on questions.

Aloha and Be Well!

HIV does NOT have to be a dark cloud which eliminates dating and a healthy sexual lifestyle. Nobody needs to live in "fear" of HIV or any other STD. Turn that "fear" into and educated, reasoned set of choices which allow you to balance staying STD free AND having a healthy dating and sexually active lifestyle.

I'e said it once, and I'll say it again: Where possible choose "Prevention" over "Treatment". Keeping your life free of STDs within reasonable and appropriate sexual risk management lifestyle choices.

Aloha and Be Well!

EDIT 20130131 - P.S. Any questions posed to me in a private message MAY be sanitized to remove any situational or personal identifying information so that I may post a generic answer to this thread for the benefit of all. I will always respect your anonymity and confidentiality and am honored to take questions in private.