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It woke me up and made me realize what I needed and wanted from a partner.Matt never been a good match for me, really; my diagnosis just shined a spotlight on that.But one day, randomly, I added the HIV rapid test to the list of things to do before intake to my pap smear appointment.I thought it was a formality I should finally take care of.I naively thought I was invincible, that one day a hookup would lead to true Disney princess-style love, and never assumed that HIV would have anything to do with my life.After my diagnosis, Matt and I stopped making dinner together, speaking to each other, and sleeping in the same bed.The only bad thing about breaking up with Matt was the realization that I would have to start dating again.But when you're the kind of person who equates dating with dinners, drinks, and casual sex, HIV can put a real damper on all that. Not only was I still trying to figure out what living with HIV meant, I couldn't just do that whole "put on your high heels and get back out there" thing that most newly single people do.
Even better, it means that there's no risk of sexual transmission, even if I don't use a condom (though I'm better at that now, obviously).
I was in shock that simply sleeping with probably close to a hundred men throughout my 20s — in college, in Rome, Italy where I lived for five years, in New York City upon my return — and not being strict about using condoms could have such a serious consequence.
I grew up during the HIV/AIDS crisis and should have known better, but as a heterosexual woman, I equated safe sex with not getting pregnant more than with getting an STI, let alone HIV. It's embarrassing to admit that now, but I really did ignorantly think sex was all fun and games.
Undetectable means is that the amount of HIV virus in my blood cannot be detected by a lab test.
When a person goes on treatment — I take one pill a day — undetectable is the goal.