If you are not in a relationship but are looking for one, having HIV may affect how you feel about finding a partner, and even the type of partner that you look for.

Some men have felt unable to form new relationships after they were diagnosed, sometimes because they feel in some way ‘tainted’ by their HIV, and sometimes because the psychological burden of being diagnosed with HIV can cause problems with confidence and self-esteem. 

There’s also the fear of rejection which can play heavily on the mind. It is true that some men will choose not to sleep with you because you have HIV, which is their choice. However, there are also many men who don’t feel HIV is a reason not to have sex with someone. Just because it happens once or twice it doesn’t mean you’ll always be turned down.

If you are finding that HIV is making it difficult for you to form new relationships then there are people who can help. You’ll find information about the support available later in the section on relationship support.

You may feel that you can only look for, or may only want, a partner who also has HIV. This way HIV can be out in the open from the start and so you shouldn’t have any worry about rejection because of your HIV status. However, a lot of men with HIV don’t feel they should restrict themselves to one group of men just because they have HIV. After all you can’t help who you fancy, or fall in love with, and there are plenty of perfectly happy couples where only one man has HIV.

If you find someone you are keen on, you may worry about when to tell him you have HIV. If you have been open from the start and told him you have HIV before you had sex with him then this may not be an issue. However, if you didn’t talk about HIV with him before you had sex and the relationship starts to develop you will probably find it increasingly difficult to tell him. Find help and advice on how to disclose your status here.