“Could you date someone with HIV?” is a huge question. We want to start by acknowledging that and reiterating that no one can make this choice for you. The best we can do to help is provide you with information that will enable you to make the right decision for yourself. Since it’s such a big topic, we’ll be realistic in this post and start with the issue of greatest significance when considering this question: What are the odds of transmission and are you willing to take the risk?
According to studies, the rate of transmission in safe sex from an HIV+ person to their HIV-negative partner is relatively low. For instance, a “study published in 1994 in The New England Journal of Medicine looked at 256 heterosexual mixed status couples. Of the 124 couples that consistently used condoms, none of the HIV-negative partners were infected. Among the 121 couples that did not consistently use condoms, 12 (about 10 percent) of the HIV-negative partners became infected. Additional studies found similar results.” Another study shows that in “high-income countries, the risk of female-to-male transmission is 0.04% per act and male-to-female transmission is 0.08% per act.” That comes down to a 1:2500 chance and 1:1250 chance, respectively.
Of course, statistics are general. If you’re considering a physical relationship with an HIV+ partner, please communicate with your partner and your doctor about the issue directly. You should speak with your doctor or your partner’s doctor so that you can get a medically sound opinion on the rate of transmission in your case, specifically. It will help to know your partner’s medical history, his or her current viral load, and current medications.
What do other people considering this question have to say? Two commonly searched Reddit threads tackle the issue, with a bunch of users weighing in. What’s interesting is that the people who contributed to these conversations fell into two major categories: one group who saw that statistical data for transmission and thought the odds could be worth it, and one group who saw the same data and weren’t willing to take the risk. Like we said, it all comes down to what the right answer is for you.
If you’re struggling with the question “would you date someone with HIV?”, you have a lot to consider. We think the best policy is direct communication with both your partner and medical professionals. Find out as much as you can about the rate of transmission in your particular case so you can make the best possible decision for yourself. In the last analysis, you’re the only one who knows what the right call is for you.