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HIV and Intimacy: Making Connections Work

Emotional intimacy is the basis of healthy relationships, but HIV can make it seem like a challenge. You may worry about disclosure, judgment or losing someone important to you. In the long run you’ll find that sharing your feelings with someone who is trustworthy can improve your health.

Alone with HIV

You might sometimes find HIV ‘freezes’ you and you feel cut off from people. Maybe it’s your lover; maybe it’s your best friend or parent. You may feel alone and unable to talk about it.

Feeling alone with an HIV diagnosis is normal, but it doesn’t have to become the norm. It’s normal to feel scared to talk when you are bringing up important feelings. What if you get laughed at, or discredited for how you feel? What if you are rejected? Intimacy involves trust, honesty, and risk. But you won’t be heard if you don’t speak. You may feel stuck, but even by saying “I feel stuck,” you can start a conversation. Speak out. You don’t need all the words at the start.

Getting Support

Intimacy is the sharing of meaningful, often private feelings and thoughts with people you trust and see as important – friends, lovers, family members, elders. You may share joys, hopes, fears or worries. (Sex is another way to be intimate, but it’s not part of every relationship, or everyone’s life).

If your intimate relationships make you feel controlled (emotionally, physically or sexually), they may be edging into abuse. Intimacy is not about being cornered or controlled. You deserve to feel free. A support worker at PWN can help you out if you want a safe space to talk about it.

Discussions of disclosure, safer sex, and parenting or pregnancy issues can understandably make you feel stressed. If you want to talk before you bring up an issue with someone in your life, contact us. You don’t have to be alone.

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