I am an openly gay male. Clean cut, put together, intelligent, good job, morals, and attractive. I have been out of a relationship for the last year and it has been a nightmare. My partner and I broke up due to infidelity. We were together for a little over 5 years. My partner was exposed to HIV, and transmitted to me. There is a lot of stigma in the gay community surrounding this epidemic. But, it is falsely portrayed as ‘Whore Disease”. I only had 1 sexual partner my entire life, which was my partner. I will never have sex with anyone without disclosing my status, but I am being shunned and shut out early on due to me keeping 100 out here. Should I wait to tell someone my status once we get serious, or should I continue to be upfront and getting blown off? Help…
Dear Robin Hood,
Thanks for writing to me. First off, let me start by saying that I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. I can’t imagine being with a partner for over 5 years, and his infidelity led to my contraction of HIV. That’s a tough break, so again I’m sorry to hear your story.
Now as far as HIV being a “Whore Disease,” that is an extremely ignorant perception surrounding an issue that impacts over 1.2 million people. It’s like someone saying heart disease is an obesity problem or cancer is a chain smoker problem. As we all know (well should know), heart disease is not exclusive to obese individuals and cancer affects way more than smokers. In the same light, HIV in fact is not synonymous with promiscuity. So people really shouldn’t think that way in 2016.
Look, I’m a firm believer that your health is your business. You are not entitled to tell everyone you come in contact with that you are HIV positive. HOWEVER, you do owe the people you are planning to sleep with full disclosure about your health, before you engage in a romp in the hay. Legally and morally, you have to let your potential sex partner know the risk, and allow that person to decide for himself if he wants to engage in risk.
Having said that, don’t rush to jump in bed with anyone (having only slept with only one person, I guess I don’t have to tell you that). Take your time to get to know someone. Find out a person’s likes, dislikes, if he has an interest in being in a relationship, or just playing the field. Determine if you two could even be a romantic match. After you gather the intel and see sex in your near future, then tell the guy your truth. If he can’t handle it and flees, while unfortunate, that just means he wasn’t the right fit for you. Try not to take it personal per say, but instead view it as a dating fail. And everybody, positive or negative, have dating fails in their history of romance. Heck, I have some.
Suggestions going forward.
- For the ignorant people that believe HIV is a whore disease, you can address them in two ways. One, you can let them stew in their ignorance. Or two, you can school them and educate them on what’s what. I opt for option two. When you cross paths with these individuals, drop some facts on them.
- When you disclose your status to someone, make sure you share the precautions and medical innovations people use these days to when someone who is positive is involved with someone negative. (i.e. PrEP)
- Again, don’t be too discouraged about men not being able to handle dating someone that is positive. I know plenty of people that aren’t bothered by someone’s status, given the precautions available in this day age.
As always nothing but love,