People who have HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases typically find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to their illness. On one hand they have an infection or disease that was contracted sexually and more than likely has a stigma attached to it. On the other hand they are still human beings with feelings and desires and want to love. Disclosing one’s status can be difficult, particularly when attempting to get the timing correct. Ummu Bradley Thomas, founder of the Freddie Bell Jones Modeling and Finishing School and author of The Polish that Pays Series, has created 10 rules of etiquette when dating with a disease.
Thou Shalt Develop a Social-ship before a Sexual-ship
Go back to the old-fashioned rules for dating. Court them, learn them, and know them first. Move toward building an emotional before sexual relationship.
Thou Shalt Know Thy Illness
Understand your illness. Know its effects, periods of break-outs, possible side-effects, and how it may affect others.
Thou Shalt Remain Positive
If you are not ashamed of your illness…it is less likely that your mate will be ashamed. “Think of Magic and his lovely wife Cookie.”
Thou Shalt Express Your Feelings
Indicate how important it is for you to be open and honest in order for you to move forward and build a healthy (trusting) relationship.
Thou Shalt Teach Thy Mate
Combat illness ignorance by arming yourself with the ABCs of your condition and/or offer to speak with a physician together concerning protection etc. This may help to reduce any stigmas in your mate’s mind.
Thou Shalt Not Trap Thy Mate with Sympathy
Be prepared to allow your mate a guilt-free exit, if necessary.
Thou Shalt Respect Personal Space
Allow your mate the space to accept all that you have shared.
Thou Shalt Not be Pesky
Don’t expect or attempt to demand an immediate response. Let him or her re-group, re-evaluate and consider the relationship in perspective with his or her feelings for you. In other words, “Don’t call them…wait for them to call you.”
Know Thy Mate
If the relationship ends, do not be so hard on yourself and automatically assume that it is because of your illness. Know that he or she may also be suffering from an incurable illness—Chronic Commitment Disorder!
Know Thy Community Networks
There are several websites for those who wish to date others with similar illnesses. This may be an option for those who want to date those whom are experiencing the same challenge.
Mrs. Thomas’ finishing school is located in Denton, Maryland. She offers several workshops on etiquette, hygiene, and voice and speech through out the year. For more information on her books, click here.
Get tested. Get care. Get involved.
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