HIV Dating Safety Tips
When dating in general, the need for safety and privacy is very important. But for HIV positive singles, it is even more crucial. At HIV and Single we have gone the extra mile to ensure the privacy and safety of our members. However, we can only go so far. Whether your use our site or another HIV dating site, below are steps that you can take, to further protect yourself and make sure your online dating experience is a positive one!
Staying Anonymous for Awhile
At HIV and Single, we utilize a double-blind system to allow members to exchange correspondence between each other. This allows members to communicate, without knowing each other's email addresses or other personal information. It's best to use our internal secure email system until you feel as though you know the person to some degree. This ensures that when you do run into the inevitable creep online, you remain anonymous and safe.
Sometimes we feel like we've made an "instant connection" online with someone we've just met. This can be especially true for HIV positive singles, who have dealt with many years of judgement, rejection, disclosure and other extraordinary dating challenges. Under these circumstances, who wouldn't get excited and want to jump at the prospect of finally meeting someone special, who understands what they are going through and doesn't judge them.
HIV or not, there are dangerous and whacky people in the world. We urge you to move slowly and get to know the person via messaging and emails first. Then proceed to phone calls if you still feel safe, attracted, and curious. Finally, setup a first date when the time is right. If the other person is a good match for you, then they will not only understand your pace, but will often mirror it! Follow these guidelines:
- Email several times through our anonymous messaging system before giving out your email or phone number
- Google the person's name once you get it
- Females - Get their phone number first instead of giving yours out and when you call, block your number until you get to know them better
- Be on the lookout for inconsistencies in their history or any stories they tell you of their life, background, or growing up. Ask informative questions of the other person to ensure they match what and who they say they are in their profile.
First Dates Should Be in Public
Never agree to meet at the other person's place or to pick them up - take your own vehicle or arrange your own transportation. Agree to meet in a public place. Most people find a restaurant is ideal, as it gives you both something else to concentrate on from time to time to break up the awkward moments. It also ensures that both parties are on their best behavior, while still allowing you the opportunity to see how your match behaves in a public situation. Be an astute observer during that first date, and don't drink too much (if you drink at all). The purpose of a first date is to not only see if there is a mutual attraction, but to learn more about the other person in their own words and see how they communicate their intentions non-verbally. By paying attention to all of these cues and information, you will learn a lot more about your match.
Let a friend or two know that you'll be out on a date and tell them exactly where you're going and what time. Have your cell phone with you at all times, on and charged. You hope these are mostly unnecessary precautions, but better safe than sorry.
Be on the Lookout for Red Flags
Not everyone has similar morals or outlooks on life as you do. Some folks can do a pretty good job at hiding their true agenda, even if you've followed most of these tips. First dates (and second dates and even third dates) are for people to be on their best behavior, so you may not always see the "true self" behind the person you're sitting across from. Sometimes, though, people can't be on their good behavior for that long and signs begin to appear. Look for:
- Avoidance - Watch out for people that do not answer your questions directly, especially questions about issues that are important to you. It's okay if people joke about their answer, but eventually they need to get around to answering the question or explain why they feel uncomfortable doing so.
- Demeaning or Disrespectful Comments - About you or other people. How your match treats others can be a telling sign into their future behaviors.
- Inconsistent information - Look for any inconsistencies about any basics, especially anything within their profile. This especially includes marital status, children, employment, where they are living, but also things such as age, appearance, education, career or the like
- Is This the Same Person? - Be very careful if the person is nothing like they look or how they describe themselves in their online profile. Did they use a picture that's 20 years old or even a picture of someone else? Yes it happens. If it does...run!
- Inappropriate Physical Behavior - Be careful if the person is trying to kiss, or feel you up on the first date. Even if you're feeling very attracted to the person, remember the tip above - Slow Down!
- Pushes to Quickly to Meet in Person
- Avoids Phone Contact
Just Because Both of You are HIV Positive, Does NOT Mean Unprotected Sex is Safe
Inevitably, some online dating is going to lead to a sexual relationship. This is not the time to start being coy. Know your partners' sexual background by asking direct, frank questions about the number of partners he or she has been with, whether protection was always used, how well they knew the people (was it mostly serious relationships or just one night flings?), and whether they have any known sexually transmitted diseases. Yes, it's not easy to talk about these sorts of things, but it's important to do so before your first night in bed. Until both of you have seen a doctor together and been tested for other STD's together, use a condom.
Remember, you're the only person you have to answer to at the end of the day. If you don't feel comfortable in any particular situation, that doesn't mean you're a bad person or you're not ready for dating. It simply means that you're not comfortable with the other person in this situation. You don't need to apologize for needing to leave a date or anytime you feel you are in a threatening situation. Your safety should always be something that is on your mind throughout the entire dating process. Relax your guard when you've met the person face-to-face and feel entirely comfortable with who they are and how they relate to you and those around you.
There are plenty of fish in the sea - even for HIV positive singles - especially now with the internet. Don't pin all of your hopes on one person. You do not have to sacrifice because you are HIV positive. Keep an open mind, an open heart, and most of all, your common sense.