News / Health

Young People Navigate Relationships, Romance and HIV

Young People Navigate Relationships, Romance, HIV

x
Young People Navigate Relationships, Romance, HIVi
|| 0:00:00
X
July 27, 2012 11:27 AM
Relationships and romance. They are tough to navigate for all young men and women, and they are even more complicated for young people who are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV-positive youth who work with AIDS Alliance discussed disclosing one's HIV status at the International AIDS conference. VOA's Suzanne Presto in Washington has more.]]

Young People Navigate Relationships, Romance, HIV

Suzanne Presto
WASHINGTON — Relationships and romance. They are tough to navigate for all young men and women, and they are even more complicated for young people who are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. 

HIV-positive youth who work with AIDS Alliance discussed disclosing one's HIV status at the International AIDS conference in Washington.

The exercise in this panel discussion: whether to disclose HIV status in a hypothetical relationship. Red means no, green means yes and yellow means maybe.     

There's a variety of responses in the scenario.

Jahlove Serrano, an entertainer from New York City, says there is a lot to consider. "Do I need to disclose this soon? Am I close to putting my partner at risk? Is our relationship ready for sex?" he pondered.
 
The young panelists have faced the dilemma about disclosing their HIV-status. "When I date, I openly disclose a soon as I meet somebody, just hoping they'll give me the same respect and tell me if they're dealing with anything else or anything I should be aware of that could probably compromise my health even more," Serrano clarified.

Cristina Jade Peña, who studies public policy in California, recalls the conversation with her first boyfriend, back when they were teenagers.  "I sat down with him and told him and it took a long time.  It was a long conversation and he picked me up for a date the next day and we've been together ever since," she recalled.

That's 11 years and counting.  It's proof that, with proper precautions, young people with HIV can have fulfilling relationships with partners who aren't infected.   

"As a teenager or as a young adult who is sexually active, HIV changes its meaning.  It's no longer just your disease," said Peña. "You have to be mindful of your partner or your potential partner, or at least that's the way I saw it at that age."

Dee Borrego, a transgender woman who lives in Boston, says disclosing can pose dangers and also complicate relationships. "There are a lot of things that can come along with it, like feeling pressure or feeling guilt or feeling anxiety.  It can be an overwhelming process," she stated.

These youth advocates were born in the 1980s, when HIV/AIDS was a new, baffling disease. They have lived with HIV for much of their lives, or, in Peña's case, all her life.  She was born HIV-positive.     

"My mom told me about my status when I was nine years old.  I asked my mom, 'Can I talk about it?' and at the time it was advised not to be open about your status," Peña explained.

She began to speak at HIV-related fundraisers away from her hometown in order to maintain her privacy.

Peña now devotes much of her time to educating people. "There's this in-between from a child to young adult and there's all these challenges and barriers and circumstances that aren't being addressed or I felt weren't being addressed enough," she said.

She's part of the first generation to navigate a lifetime with HIV. "What does it mean to be on antiretrovirals our whole life?  What happens to us with the side effects?  A lot of people can't answer these questions because there are no answers yet," Peña added. 

Answers that could come from a young woman who doctors didn't think would live past age five.

"Then it was 18.  And, at this point, I'm looking at living until 99," said Peña. "I don't know if I want to live to 100, but 99 sounds like a nice number."

Nearly five-and-a-half million young people around the world are living with HIV, and almost half of all new infections are among people under the age of 25.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Don Warner Saklad
July 29, 2012 6:46 AM
The strategy... BEFORE sex get tested TOGETHER for A VARIETY of STDs then make an INFORMED decision.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid