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Dear Fayza: Should I have children with the HIV-positive man of my dreams?

Dear Fayza: Should I have children with the HIV-positive man of my dreams?

HIV test

Why, hello there. It's been a little while, hasn't it? I could blame it on you, but let's be frank with each other — mama's got a brand new bag. No, I'm no longer a full-time CultureMapper, in case you actually have a life outside Twitter and Facebook and hadn't heard the dish.

But pick that chin up off the floor! I may have relocated my physical prowess down the street to the best museum on the planet (I'm not biased, I swear), but my virtual treasure trove of advice is right where you left that bookmark.

Turn that frown upside down, folks. Dear Fayza is here to stay.

And what better to re-ignite our bimonthly ritual than a very serious, very personal matter: Life after a life-threatening diagnosis?

Now that's what they call "hitting the ground running."

 

Dear Fayza,

My boyfriend and I were starting to talk about marriage. We went for an HIV test, and he came out positive — and I came out negative.

I love my boyfriend very much and I believe we are soulmatesI don't think I can stand the idea of him being with someone else, so I have decided to stick with him. 

However, my friends are totally against it. They have laid out the pros and cons for me that have now made me confused and afraid. I truly love my boyfriend and he also feels the same way. I want his babies. 

If I go on with this, will our sex life be exciting? Will we be able to have children together? 

- Discordant Diagnosis

 

Dear Discordant,

First of all, congratulations are in order to you for finding someone you love that feels mutually and wants to make that pie-in-the-sky commitment to you. Despite what the most bitter, disdainful hearts have to say about it, the emotion of true love kinda sorta really does make the world go 'round.

But a diagnosis like this can leave you wondering just how long that "lifelong" undertaking may actually be.

I've answered a question similar to yours before, but the relationship was merely budding and blooming. I'm assuming, if you're discussing marriage, you've been together for far longer than a few hot dates. In fact, your heart is not only dangling from your sleeve, but it's more ripe for the picking than a field of freesia in the summertime.

 What's OK for you may not be OK for your friends. And guess what? That's still perfectly OK. 

At this point, you're in, and you're in deep (no, uh, pun intended). Abstaining from sex simply isn't an option, unless you foresee a future for the two of you in neighboring houses of piety, hoping a divine act will deem you the second coming of the Virgin Mary. Stamping out your sex life and putting plans for progeny on hold simply won't happen. 

Like they always say, where there's a will, there's a way, right? I happen to think so.

I should explain that I'm no doctor, so I can't sway your hand in good faith. But you don't need a doctor to straighten your thoughts. Focusing on the facts — not the fears — is the most important step you can take to determining what sort of future you have as a wife to this man and the mother of his children.  

So do your research. Find out what strain of the virus he carries. Find out when and in what situations he's most likely to transfer the virus to you — and when he isn't. What if bearing his children isn't an option? Is he worth a lifetime of careful, orchestrated sex? Are you willing to die for this man — literally? Education is your primary salvation in being true to with yourself, your health, and your expectations.

Your friends are not in this relationship — you are. Dismiss them. I'm sure their concerns are valid to some degree. But I've also got faith that you're also a grown woman with the wherewithal to make your own decisions. You determine the extent of what you can handle with his illness. You define what risks you're willing to take in the name of love.

What's OK for you may not be OK for your friends. And guess what? That's still perfectly OK.

But I will tell you one thing definitively: If you're staying with him because you can't stand the idea of someone else calling him her main squeeze, you might want to push pause on your sugar plum visions. Loving a man with a terminal prognosis is no light-hearted, will-our-sex-life-suck matter.

Other than making sure you fully understand what you're getting yourself into, make sure you understand the depth of your love for this person. There may be no turning back once you enter into his danger zone, and if you're not honest with yourself now about the way you feel about him, you may be carelessly jeopardizing your own existence and gravely regretting a hasty decision in the future.

No one person in this world is perfect. We're human. We all have our flaws, our skeletons, our baggage. When we intertwine our lives with a love interest, we involuntarily shoulder those human qualities as burdens and responsibilities of our own.

Sometimes, they're more than we can fathom, and they're more than we bargained for. But no one else can decide what's best for you or me — except you and me.

Cheers,
Fayza

I always wear my heart on my sleeve for my readers. Send an e-mail to advice@culturemap.com, message me on Facebook or Twitter, or leave a question in the comments below. I'm completely honest about my love for you. I'll never deny you the truth.

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