I chose to watch “True Life: Dating with HIV” because I was curious to see how it worked. The show followed one gay male and one straight female trying to navigate the dangerous waters of a relationship. The show started off focusing on a girl who was in a committed relationship. She had contracted HIV at birth, and had been taking medication and managing it her entire life. Her boyfriend was aware of her status, and they took special precautions before having sex, such as making her boyfriend thoroughly wash his hands. Even though they were both aware of her status, she admitted that they sometimes made mistakes and had unprotected sex. While neither of them seemed to be too worried about it, as she regularly visited her OBGYN and was in a state where transmission of the disease was extremely unlikely. She bought an at-home HIV testing kit, and it ended up being negative for her boyfriend. Yay. However, when her boyfriend came with her to an OBGYN appointment, they found that he had contracted some sort of urethral STI from her. A few days later, she’s on the phone with him, and they appear to have broken up.
The male followed in the show contracted HIV later in life from having unprotected sex. The show basically showed how he struggled with dating and finding a good time to tell the person that he was HIV positive. He said that even if people verbally said they were cool with it, they would often stop texting and talking to him soon after he told them. Moreso than the girl, he had a harder time dealing with the stigma and stereotypes that came with having HIV.
While the boy had a chaos narrative throughout the entire show, the girl’s transitioned from a quest narrative to a chaos narrative after her boyfriend dumped her. The boy obviously felt as though HIV was taking over his life, and that nobody would like him because of it. The girl started off as a quest narrative as while she was journeying through her life with her illness, she did have someone who loved and cared for her. However, when he broke up with her, I think feelings of “will anyone ever accept me” started to bubble up inside of her as well.