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VIDEO: What Negative Men Really Think of POZ Guys


"Talk to me like you talk to your friends when no one is around."


That was my only request when I sat down with each of four HIV negative gay men to create a short film about their lives and attitudes (video below).


AJ Grab.jpg

They held back nothing, sharing details of their sex lives, their fears of becoming infected, and, perhaps most surprising, what they really think of HIV positive guys. I couldn't believe their candor, and have worked to distill two days of explicit conversations into ten minutes of brutal honesty (the language is sometimes NSFW).


They don't speak for every gay man, only for themselves, and the differences of opinion between them is really striking. It really is a snapshot of what it means to be a negative and sexually active gay man these days. No matter which of these men you might relate to the most, there's no doubt they are all just trying to carve out a satisfying sexual existence during a pretty confusing time.


I couldn't help thinking of The Golden Girls when I was editing, because all the archetypes are here: the reserved one, the sensible one, the endearing one, the man-eater. Just saying this makes me guilty of the very thing the video is meant to address: how easily we label ourselves and others, and how we try to assign the same perspective to entire groups of people.


I deliberately produced this without any particular context. No one is presented as right or wrong. It is meant to provide a forum for these men to speak their truth without interruption -- and perhaps help us see them as men stumbling through life as we all are, trying to make the best decisions they can with the information they have. I refuse to judge them for that.


If there is anything to be learned from this video, it is that there is no monolithic "HIV negative perspective." Gay men are far too diverse for that. That's a lesson our community seems to have to learn over and over again.



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Comments on Mark S. King's blog entry "VIDEO: What Negative Men Really Think of POZ Guys"

Mark, that was very insightful. I have forgotten what is was like to be afraid of HIV. I tout the freedom from that fear as the greatest of the silver linings that come with this black cloud of HIV. I do not date outside the virus for that very reason. Fear is not sexy. The exhibition of fear is damaging to my self esteem; and, I no longer allow that in my life. I'm not in a big city, so, I don't have the opportunity to be extremely sexually active; however, I'd rather go without than be with a "negative" guy who needs a hazmat suit to touch me naked. Yes... that makes me a "negaphobe". I can own that!

Thanks, Daniel. It was striking to me, too, how much these four men were driven by fear. Even though I didn't agree with a lot of what they said, I did finish this project feeling a lot more empathy for what they are going through.

Thanks for a very powerful video. It speaks to a lot of my personal experience as a "poz since '87, undetectable since '93" guy.

Perhaps the title was misleading. I thought the video was too fractionated, switching between each man too quickly and often. It was sound bites, which I don't care for. I actually got kind of bored and stopped viewing less than 1/2 way through. (sorry) They interviewees were talking so much about themselves, how they handled sex negotiations, what their "style" was, their fears, what people were saying about them, and I wished there were more men interviewed. I got bored because I was hearing very little what they were supposed to be talking about, POZ men, instead of themselves. Maybe that would have been revealed if I'd lingered longer.

I agree judging them negatively, if I could use that word, may not be nice. However two of the men in the video seemed pretty level headed, but the fearful one, represents the reality we poz men live with.

I don't judge him for not wanting to become positive, however his refusal, really, to stop judging us is indefensible. What rock has he been living under? Really! With the disease practically notched down to a chronic, rather than a death sentence, I can't understand his fear. The only conclusion I could come to, it's that he persists in seeing poz men as fearful. That is a judgement.

I've been online for way too long to have experienced guys like him. The ones that exclude poz men, or consider us "unclean". You yourself wrote a piece of that, in addition to Peter Staley's recent piece on the growing problem of gay stigma online. This worries, and saddens me greatly.

I've chat with plenty of negative men, who take a more logical approach to the sero discordant issue. Sorry but after chatting with these men, some of whom are on PReP, others still using condoms, and all having full, and satisfying sex lives.

I was in sero discordant 8 yr relationship... he's still negative. The fearing guy in the vid, is more part of a growing problem in our "community", than sn innocent neg man. He could also be celibate. That would assuage his fears a bit.

I am glad you had attempted to get opinions of negative men about poz men. I have been poz since 1985 and have been undetectable for many many years. For the guy who said being poz is a death sentence is still living in the dark ages. As a poz man my fear is what neg. men think of poz men. Are we outcasts to them or not. They have the right to their own opinions. Whether you are neg. or poz we should all try to have safe sex for a lot of reasons not just for HIV. Just like one of the guys who commented said they should of answered the question instead of talking about themselves.

If this is a lesson our community seems to have to learn over and over again, who then is discussing it honestly and factually?
Will one need see the walking dead all over again? Which one the fools you interviewed will know the hard choices about whose funeral to go to when 4 or 5 five they know die in a week? (These rules are not hard n fast, just when a change may develop is anyone's guess.)
It is refreshing to hear some of these guys having educated themselves speaking of making choices. Both being fearful or risky due to inadequate education is a sad thing this far past the advent of GRIDS. Ironic same BS is spread in the same groups, think this sort of barriers would be breached when the same groups become infected again and again. Sill sick and sad to think anyone would fall for something as silly as "I won't cum in your ..." or "who me, do I look sick, no worries!"
Sadder yet, the publishing of the minimal sized study suggesting an unmeasurable viral load means one need not worry about safe sex or disclosure. This type of reporting SHOULD be Criminal!
Guess gay men "truly" are a mindless lot... Don't give dam who they mess-over so long as they get theirs... You know, "hump & dump" to hell with ever having a lasting relationship or even being sure things are even good for both parties... Dogs all unless in a relationship and even then(???)I'd be including myself if I were out there now... Sorry this sounds bad to those interviewed with educated opinions, YOU ROCK! Vic R. (Just to old to learn new ways to screw a guy over, give love making a try for once. Spend a few days together before having sex, you may be shocked at what you find; HIV be dammed.)

If you feel as if they didn't answer the questions, please blame that on me. The editing process required that I make some tough decisions about what to include or not.

It's interesting to me that some of you think they talked too much "about themselves." I found their thoughts on their own sex lives, and fears, etc., to be the most revealing things they said. And those thoughts inform their views of poz guys.

If you want to know how someone feels about other people, finding out how they feel about their own lives is a pretty good place to start.

Are neg guys who reject Poz outright, any different than "no fats, no fems, no Asians"? There is a definite hierarchy of "fabulousness" which values blond, blue twinks with straight white teeth above all else. I feel embarrassed for even talking about it. Is HIV status any different from other ways we discriminate and pick partners?

Wow, good food for thought! I often think/wonder how would I be if I were negative. The older educated me would be as I am now > No sex, only interested in finding true love & companionship! I fear acquiring the numerous other disease's out there HPV, Hep C,etc. Meningitis, Herpes, to name a few! The younger un-educated me might be out there not caring or disclosing, having sex harming myself as well as others! Thank goodness for self awareness & wisdom while ageing!
I often say to myself when on the Internet are these folks crazy with all this raw behavior, did I not get that memo? Or I say to myself the new form of Gay discrimination is now "undetectable"! Oh the tangled web we weave! Me myself have been Poz for over 28 years & I intend to remain healthy & continually educate myself! As for you neg men no thanks, I'm just as afraid of you as you are of me! Just like u don't want my disease I don't want any u might have! Please Note: Sex has been dangerous since the beginning of time & still is & will always be! Be it syphilis, gonorrhea, or any other STD u can think of! Many STD's can kill you not just HIV & Aids! & other STD"s just mark you for life! As for my fellow poz guys stand up be counted, stop discriminating & educate yourselves! If I meet a guy who's not undetectable I;m gonna teach him how to get there! And I'm not having sex with anyone raw poz or neg! Mark thanks for the video & all the work u do!

Lets get the facts straight please,even though I been struggling with h.i.v for years,cancer has taken a heavy toll on my family,it has taken out siblings,I lost three cousins to colon cancer in their 50's,so aids is a serious disease and not to be taken lightly,I would rather deal aids than pancreatic cancer,because of the hard fight of the act up activist,younger gays have better options,protect vour health at all cost,but at 59 yrs of age,I lived through the 80's and 90's so I really don't need acceptance of young h.i.v. negative men,I only deal with h.i.v negative with h.i.v is high in the black community,but I am a 59yr old African American,we have diabetes,cancer,high blood pressure,obesity taken a toll on us also,so to say h.i.v is a death sentence is ridiculous.Thank you.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark S. King published on April 24, 2014 9:10 AM.

When People with HIV Became Suicide Bombers was the previous entry in this blog.

My Phone Sex Career During the Dawn of AIDS is the next entry in this blog.

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