The Love At Tatelicious Lounge is a dating site that was found by Tatelicious Karigambe Sandberg.
The Zimbabwean born woman who resides in Sweden saw it very difficult to find love on a usual online dating site as being HIV positive herself people will be afraid to ask her on her first date.
So she went forth to create this platform so that people who are HIV POSITIVE can find one another and love each other creating loving relationships where Stigma and Discrimination is to its minimum.
After the first few rounds of failed relationships, it can take some positive affirmations and a few Sex and the City reruns not to become disillusioned with the prospect of finding love. Unfortunately, Tylenol doesn’t cure heartache, and a breakup can seem to break you altogether. Still, we keep trying and hope the next one will love us for all the reasons the last one didn’t.
The good news: As we get older, the image of the man we see standing beside us at the altar starts to take shape. We curb dating wildly inappropriate people and become more discerning when choosing our Friday night dinner guests. The bad news: With every potential love comes a series of risks. As the years start to tick by, every bet we make on love seems to be a little more weighted. What if his mother is horrible? What if his friends don’t like me? Or… What if he rejects me for my HIV-positive status?
Learning which risks are unavoidable and which are optional is something crucial for us to do when swimming in the dating pool. Protection from possible disease, including HIV, should be on the mind of every single gay man. However, the risk of dating someone who is HIV-positive is severely misunderstood. As for the actual risk of dating a man who doesn’t know his status—a human question mark—that’s when you should hold on to your chips.
You may think that dating an HIV-positive man increases your risk of infection. In fact, it likely does the opposite. If your prospective mate has the gumption to disclose his positive status before the first round of cocktails, you can be certain that he has taken steps to protect your negative status.
So who is the risky bet?
So often you will hear a gay man prematurely divulge his negative HIV status as soon as one of his friends brings up the topic. Be wary—he may just be the guy who convinces himself he is negative just because he doesn’t know whether he is positive. Truth is, if he has had even one sexual encounter since his last test, he is a question mark.
Of course, we would all like for those who don’t know their status to be up front about it. We would also like to believe that we are smarter or better protected than those who bear the plus sign. But the persuasion of romance, compounded by several months of exclusivity, can sometimes get the best of us. I know. I was suckered into a bad gamble by sweet talk and pretty brown eyes once before.
Yet the romance faded, those brown eyes now sparkle for someone else, and I am left with this damn positive sign that I can’t seem to scrub off. It’s not the bet I thought I was making, but life is far from over. Now I approach every pair of pretty eyes with my truth, because the gamble of transmitting this stigma is far worse than any pill the doctor may prescribe.
So if you need to, take some time with Carrie Bradshaw and the girls and collect yourself. Dating is exciting, and anything exciting involves risk. But as long as you are honest with yourself and safe with each other, one thing you won’t be gambling with is your health.
As for his bratty friends and snob of a mother, you’ll just have to roll the dice.
Reasons To join
First of all, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about HIV. HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. That’s because this virus interferes with your immune system, weakening it so that it can’t fight diseases that enter your body and try to take hold and make you sick.
HIV is related to but distinct from Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. AIDS is what we call the condition created by HIV. If you are diagnosed with AIDS, that means that HIV has damaged your immune system and as a result, you are getting sick because your body can’t fight back against other infections.
HIV lives in only certain human bodily fluids, and is transmitted into your bloodstream through only certain parts of your body. So to know if you’ve been exposed, you need to answer two questions: first, is there HIV present? and second, did it get into my blood?
This may seem obvious, but it’s really important to remember — you can’t get HIV from someone who doesn’t have it in their system. What this really means is that in order for you to be exposed to HIV, the other person who could be exposing you to it needs to have it. The fluids through which HIV can be transmitted are blood, semen, precum (also called pre-seminal fluid), vaginal fluid, breast milk (only for mother-to-child transmission), and rectal fluids, also called anal mucous. Notice fluids not on this list, including spit, sweat, and tears.
Let’s say you know that the other person in question has HIV in their system. Just because they have it doesn’t mean you will get it. In order to potentially get their HIV into your system, you need to get it into your body through either a mucous membrane (which can be the lining of your vagina or anus, the tip of your penis, or the inside of your mouth depending on what parts you’ve got), a cut on your skin (it has to be pretty big and actively bleeding — a papercut or old cut that’s healed aren’t risks), or straight into your bloodstream through sharing needles.
There are some main acts that can result in fluid and site coming together, resulting in a potential infection. The main ones are having unprotected sex (we’ll get to protection tools later) with someone who has HIV and sharing needles with someone living with HIV when you inject drugs. HIV positive mothers can also transmit to their babies through blood during pregnancy and when they give birth, or during breastfeeding through breastmilk.
Knowing how this virus is transmitted is what you need to protect yourself against it (if you’re HIV negative) or protect others from becoming infected (if you’re HIV positive).
You can’t tell if someone has HIV just by looking at them. In fact, some people don’t know they are infected with the virus for years, because they haven’t noticed any symptoms. To know your status, you have to get tested.
However, some people experience symptoms in the first two to four weeks after they’ve been infected. These are usually described as an extremely bad flu — fever, a sore throat, headache, achy muscles and joints, and rash. This is called primary HIV infection, and what’s happening here is that your body is trying to fight off the HIV infecting it.
It’s extremely difficult to give an exact risk of getting HIV. That’s because it depends on a number of factors, including how much of the virus is in the other person’s fluids and how it’s getting into your body (through what site). The important thing to know is that while each time you have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive the likelihood you’ll become infected is pretty low (an estimated 0.08 percent if an infected penis goes into your vagina, an estimated 0.04 percent if your penis goes into an infected vagina, and an estimated 1.4 percent if an infected penis goes into your butt), those numbers are true every time you do that act. So the risk can pile up if you’re having sex with an HIV positive person multiple times. It’s also important to remember that you can get infected the first time you have sex with someone.
It’s also important to take into account the amount of virus in the other person’s blood. When someone first gets infected, the virus goes all spring break on your body while your immune system scrambles to retaliate. During this time of primary HIV infection, you have a lot of copies of the virus in your system, which means you are very infectious to other people. With proper medication and care, you can get the number of these copies very low, reducing the likelihood of transmission significantly.
The only foolproof way of not getting an STD is not having sex in the first place. Since that’s not how most adults operate, the good news is that there are an increasing number of ways you can protect yourself against becoming infected with HIV, while still being able to connect sexually with your HIV positive partner.
A common misconception is that once a man learns he’s HIV-positive, he’ll behave in an unsafe, reckless way—that the damage is done and he no longer has to worry about protecting himself. In fact, the positive man must protect himself even more, to safeguard his health from pesky ancillary viruses. For him, that means avoiding those question marks at all costs. For you, well…an HIV-positive man who is in treatment and is determined by his physician to have an undetectable viral load has reduced your risk to the smallest statistical possibility. Of course, condom use should be nonnegotiable in any dating scenario. But a man who is up front with his status should put you at ease. After all, he showed you his cards.
Latex and polyurethane condoms (both male/external and female/internal types) are a literal physical barrier against HIV — the holes in those materials are too small for the virus to get through. However, the same isn’t true for lambskin condoms, which are more porous and allow HIV to pass through.
Possibly the most exciting and definitely the newest prevention tool available is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP. PrEP is kind of like the hormonal birth control pill but against HIV transmission, not pregnancy (so … sperm transmission?). PrEP is a pill you take every day, and if you do that you can be protected from HIV by up to 99 percent.
If PrEP is like the birth control of HIV prevention, then Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is like Plan B, or the morning after pill. You can start PEP within 72 hours of a potential exposure to HIV — such as a condom breaking, finding out your partner is HIV positive after you’ve slept with them, or experiencing sexual violence. PEP is a medication course of 28 days, and you need to complete all 28 days’ worth of pills. This solution isn’t 100 percent effective, but it does cut your risk for becoming infected significantly.
A Healthy Vagina
It’s easier for HIV to be transmitted in certain situations, like if you already have another STD, or bacterial vaginosis. So if you have an STD already, get it treated (if it’s curable) or learn how to manage it (if it’s one of those pesky ones you have for life).
If your risk for getting HIV isn’t through sex but is because you use injectable drugs, protecting yourself is easy. Just don’t share your needles with anyone else, and don’t use a needle anyone else has used. HIV used to be way more commonly passed between people who use injectable drugs, but through needle exchange programs this has been significantly diminished.
In addition to keeping themselves healthy, your HIV positive partner’s treatment plan can also help you stay HIV negative. This is called treatment as prevention, and it works because the less of the virus someone has in their system, the harder it is for them to transmit it to someone else. In fact, an extremely exciting recent study found no instances of transmission between partners when the HIV positive partner’s viral load count (the number of copies of virus in their blood) was less than 200 copies per ml of blood (called an “undetectable” amount).
So if your partner takes their medication and gets their viral load count down, they are also helping your health! Everybody wins
There’s a ton of literature out there and many professionals that can speak to you at length about the ways to support someone who is dealing with being HIV positive. I’m not going to go into all of them. Instead, I’ll just say that the number one way to help someone who has just found out they were diagnosed with HIV is to support them — however they want. Ask them. If they don’t know, give them the space to let them figure it out, just as you would any other challenge they go through.
Meet Our Team
Founder,Executive Director and President.
Vice chairperson and Vice president