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.