I first talked to Susan and Dan Hartmann in 2009, for an article I wrote for a hemophilia magazine on parenthood options for HIV-affected couples. At the time, I talked to couples who had adopted, did sperm washing with complicated assistive reproduction techniques, and I talked to the Hartmanns, who told me they had sex without condoms and had their daughter. It kind of blew my mind. At that moment, the germ of Positively Negative was born.
In the intervening years, Susan has been courageous about sharing her story with the world. The pair always struck me as particularly articulate, knowledgable and loving. I mean, this is a couple that's known each other since they were quite young:
So imagine my surprise when, on Thursday, Susan emailed to let me know that the Washington Post had published a story on their journey. I'm thrilled for them, of course, and a little blown away by the syncronicity. I expect Positively Negative to be out in the next month. This is a reminder that theirs is and was a wonderful story.
And it gives me hope that Positively Negative will get a foothold out in the world. The Washington Post article is great, of course, but it's not their whole story. And it's not the whole story of what it's like to be a couple affected by HIV and wanting to have a family.
I'm looking forward to more such stories in the coming years. And I hope that Positively Negative will play some small role in our dawning understanding that being affected by HIV isn't a reason to put off your dreams of having a family.