HIV and dating, the vexing question

11th July 2017
Stanley Monageng Source:The Midweek Sun


By Yvonne Mooka -

Dating can be hard for just about everyone, and dating while HIV-positive can pose some unique challenges. This was expressed by some members of the public living with HIV last week at a media sensitisation seminar on Treat All last week organised by the US Embassy and Ink Centre for Investigative Journalism. Stanley Monageng, 70, runs an NGO called Thusang Bana and has been living with the virus for 20 years now.

He says people living with HIV are not having it easy when it comes to dating because those without the virus hardly stay longer in the relationship. “I’m a professional when it comes to HIV/AIDS. I’ve been through it all,” he said. After testing positive, Monageng was forced to retire from his job as a nurse because of stigma from both his colleagues and patients. His wife, who was HIV negative died in 2008.

He is currently dating someone who is HIV negative and ‘she is supportive.’ However, in his activism and past experiences, Monageng has seen and heard of stories of people living with the virus being rejected and disrespected by those without. His take is that most of the time, it only works when it is two people living together with the virus. For Boitshepo Rice, who found that she was HIV+ one Valentine morning in 2014, people who date them hardly stay long. “It is not easy to fall in love with someone who is HIV negative.

They pretend they support you for a short period of time and then leave you,” she said, adding that it is way easier to date someone who is HIV positive when you are living with the virus. For Onalenna Mpebe, the stigma attached to people living with HIV contributes to failed relationships. She tested HIV positive in 2013. “Some people think that being HIV positive means you had been sleeping around for some time, but that is not always the case. You can get infected within a day or a minute,” she said. She has dated people living with the virus and those without after testing.

“The challenge was being rejected by a negative person after knowing my status,” she said. Meanwhile US Ambassador Earl Miller said that his government is contributing P480 million this year to support Treat All in Botswana. With Treat All, anyone infected with HIV should begin antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis.

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