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HIV Stigma Among Gay Men

| 46 Comments
When the boogie man is among us, we humans tend to point fingers. So it's no surprise to me that many gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who do not have HIV (or think they do not) point fingers at those of us who do have HIV. We're all only human.

After all, I was once HIV negative. I haven't forgotten what it was like to be afraid of contracting HIV. Unfortunately for me, that fear became reality. Fortunately for most, that fear is never realized.

For too many, that fear is a heavy burden. For some, they believe that fear is as bad as having HIV (trust me, it's not). For a few, that fear becomes irrational.

The viral divide between HIV-negative and HIV-positive gay men has existed since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic. However, it does seem to me that the divide is just as bad now as it has ever been.
gawker.jpgAcknowledging the viral divide exists is the first step toward bridging it. To that end, I applaud blogger Rich Juzwiak at Gawker for diving head first into the topic.
"Please Don't Infect Me, I'm Sorry" is the title of his post. As an HIV-negative gay man, he shares his personal struggles with staying HIV negative and with dating HIV-positive gay men:

[T]he chances are that I have hooked up with an HIV-positive guy or five and didn't know it. Maybe I didn't know it because he didn't know it. Maybe I didn't know it because he was a liar. Maybe I didn't ask...getting tested is never less than horrifying, no matter how regularly I do it...

I think I'm HIV negative, but since the virus can three months to show up in blood, I can't really be sure. In fact, none of us who are sexually active can be sure - except for those who are HIV positive.

Therein lies the hypocrisy in turning down a potential hookup who a) knows his status, and b) is honest about it in favor of one who doesn't or is lying about it. That kind of discrimination is motivated by fear of the known while taking an agnostic approach to the unknown. It's especially foolhardy considering that guys who know they are HIV-positive tend to be healthier and with lower viral loads than guys who don't know they have it and are going untreated. The kind of optimism that assumes someone's word is as good as a hard copy of a test result is potentially life-altering.

And yet, I've turned down guys who are open about their positive status. I watched the onset of AIDS in the '80s through the confused eyes of a child. I had it drilled into me that this was a disease to stay far, far away from. I also know better than to sleep with someone who announces himself as HIV positive. Or knew. Now I'm not exactly sure what to think. I feel guilty and scared, but not necessarily in that order.

Juzwiak goes on to share his experiences not dating and dating certain HIV-positive guys and the lessons he learned.

An interesting point that I hadn't thought much about before Juzwiak pointed it out is the "East vs. West Coast divide" on dating guys with HIV. A friend of his from San Francisco told him that, generally speaking, East Coast gay guys are much more uptight about dating guys with HIV. No reasons for such a difference were offered. But as an East Coast guy myself, perhaps that may have something to do with my perception about how bad the divide is.

I do have a teeny, tiny bone to pick about Juzwiak's numbers on how many U.S. men who have sex with men (MSM) have HIV. He says that using CDC figures he estimates 1 in 14 U.S. MSM have HIV. In a blog post last year, I used CDC figures but arrived at an estimate of 1 in 10. We'll agree to disagree on that point. He was correct in citing 1 in 5 U.S. MSM in 21 U.S. major cities have HIV.

Whatever the numbers, I believe the fact that so many gay men have HIV should motivate gay men who do not have HIV to be more educated about the virus and less judgmental about their fellow travelers.


Oriol on:

46 Comments

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Comments on Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr.'s blog entry "HIV Stigma Among Gay Men"

It's not "14%". Anyone who has left their house realizes that figure is a joke. It's also not "10%". If I recall correctly Oriol, your figure divided the number of poz MSM by an estimated number of gay males nationwide, but failed to control for the fact that a huge chunk of those gay males are children, or otherwise sexually inactive. Honestly, it's probably more than 1 in 5. It would do us well to remember that study was conducted way back in 2006, and had some counterintuitive anomalies. Further, Fewer than half of people approached for that study allowed themselves to be tested, and let's be honest, the ones who ran from the test were probably more likely to wind up poz than the ones who brazenly put their saliva on the line in public.

What is the actual percentage? God only knows. 1 in 5 is probably a conservative estimate though.

You urge negative gay men to be less judgemental. I agree with that sentiment, but think they're more likely to do so if they can admit the magnitude of the virus' impact in their backyards. Telling them that it only affects 1/10 of their peers isn't just questionable statistics, it's poor motivation to change their perspective.

On a final note, am I the only poz gay man who is sick and tired of hearing about HIV from the perspective of the seronegative?

HIV+ gay man here and totally upfront about my status, which I believe (or at least hope) most who know they are positive are. Though I certainly have known of a few guys who are Poz but say they are Neg online.

I want to acknowledge that the stigma is understandable. That the fear HIV- guys* have of HIV+ guys is understandable. And even the fact that HIV+ guys sometimes outright lie about their status is understandable.

*I could say "people" instead of "guys", but my experience is with guys and I don't want to presume anything about what it's like for women.

When I say it's understandable, I'm not applauding it or condoning it, just acknowledging it.

NEG GUYS' FEAR: It's natural to have fear of something bad, something you want to avoid. It's self-protective. Fear can trigger the fight or flight syndrome. I'd bet (but don't know or remember) that when a neg guy finds out a guy he's interested in is poz, he _automatically_ has the 'flight' response with perhaps even an accompanying small jolt of adrenalin. He can't help it.

But that doesn't mean it's logical or even practical. More on that later.

POZ GUYS LYING: It's really not fun to be on the receiving end of so many "neg" guys' 'flight' responses. It hurts. A lot. Imagine you're poz and, online, don't disclose your status in your profile and a guy hits you up. After a while he asks, you tell, he flies. Ouch. Or he doesn't ask, you bring it up, he flies. Ouch. Or worse, you disclose it in your profile, he doesn't read it, you bring it up just to be sure, he flies. Ouch. Ergo the understandable solution: don't disclose up front, don't bring it up if he doesn't, even lie if asked, and perhaps even lie upfront (say you're neg). No ouch.

And sadly, unlike neg guys' approach, this does contain some logic and practicality. More on both approaches now.

Safe(r) sex is safe(r) sex. Bareback is bareback.

I've heard (but cannot cite) that one third of people who are HIV+ don't (yet) know it. Even if it's not one third, it's at lease "some". They may even truly believe they are neg. Even if they've tested neg recently, they could've since contracted HIV.

If you want to be safe, play safe. That means condoms for anal penetration. Period. The guy you're with may "know" he's neg but could be now wrong. Or he could be lying outright or by omission.

If you want to bareback, bareback. But if you're neg, stop deluding yourself that barebacking with another "neg" guy is safe. It's not. It has risk. The guy you're with may "know" he's neg but could be now wrong. Or he could be lying outright or by omission.

Saying, "Neg for same" or "DDF (disease & drug free) for same" (both usually with "safe only" tacked on) is illogical, impractical and risky. Instead, say "safe only" and then play safe! It really doesn't matter then what the other guy thinks, knows or lies about what his status is.

Practical knowledge can unpack the fear. Logic can disarm it.

For poz guys, all I can say is please choose the courageous route. Disclose (upfront I find is easier) at least some time before sex. It's not easy and it's certainly not fun to get all the rejection. But eventually--along with neg guys' education--it will help dismantle the stigma.

Oriol,

Thanks for sharing this. Boy it hits home and I needed to hear your words today!

Great Job!

Wow.! Thanks for such article. Unfortunately, there are men out there that are carrying on still like the hiv virus does not exists anymore or it is just another common col. I am amazed to learn of the amount of men that are having unprotected sex in this darn time.

Can I also address the phobia within the poz "community" i.e. the aversion for someone who doesn't look "healthy"?. Personal preferences for body type aside, looking beyond the narcissim of "UB2s", requests for "beefy", "muscle", "bears", "chubs" are also about wanting someone who has the appearance of good health, of not being sick.

Anyone who's dealing w/tissue wasting (no ass, CHEEKBONES!) or any other symptoms of lipidystrophy (back/chin hump, belly bulge) will know what I'm talking about.

Rejection for status is painful, but it's just something you have to get over. It's something else in the world of Things You Can't Have. Who wants to hear No? It hurts more because it can involve issues about identity, masculinity, self-worth.

Great article! I believe in full disclosure and have pointed it out in profiles and different sites that I have been on, including smartphone apps. Some people have applauded my courageous stancve on being so upfront and I am assuming some have simply been scared off or just have not chosen to contact me. I really don't know the answer, but upfront honesty is best.

Be honest with yourself and with those who really matter. This was a decision I took since I learned to be HIV + back in 1989 because in many countries is a crime a person with HIV maintain sexual relations without telling your partner. Fortunately nowadays, few people die from the virus (those who refuse to take the cocktail drug regim), but there are still many who deny it, unfortunately.

I just dealt with this yesterday on a dating site and it still hurts eventhough you'd think I'd get used to the rejection. I spoke to the guy and tried to have a pleasant conversation and he was very cold and distant. I couldn't figure out why. I went back and reread his profile and realized it was my status that he had a problem with and then went back and confronted him about it and he, at least, had the honesty to admit it was true. Until we as a community kill the stigma that lives within us we cannot expect to kill it within the larger world. And, until we kill the stigma within our own community we cannot expect to stop killing ourselves. WHY ARE WE OFTEN OUR OWN WORST ENEMY?

A timely article that points up to some of the same things I've long railed against in my little gay community here in SE South Dakota. I know of quite a few poz guys that go online in search of sex or visit the adult bookstores and either avoid the question of HIV/AIDS or lie outright.

The popular sentiment expressed by so many of them is it isn't their fault if the other guy doesn't ask outright and drag it out of them but just assumes from the incomplete/fraudulent profile that they're negative.

To a point they're right, but with so many of us painted with the same ugly brush by the rest of the gay community as disease-spreading monsters, I have long said we should disclose often and early--if we get rejected or shot down then we should try looking within our poz ranks for sex.

The way the poz guys usually react when I say that is something akin to if I said their saintly mothers were whores. It's so discouraging.

Since having found out seven years ago, I can literally count on one hand how many times I've had any encounters with a man and they all took place far away from home in larger metro areas where men seemed far more relaxed about the issue. As the last one from over two years ago said: "You're HIV+ huh? I guess we'd better wrap it up and have some fun then!" What music to my ears. Having sex with anyone locally is tougher than raising the Titanic with tweezers.

Then there is the flip side of the coin, the negative community and they hardly act any better.

Guys my age who should know how the virus spreads have asked me time and again to explain the fine lines of safe sex after confessing they didn't have a clue and were too embarrassed to ask anyone else. The much younger guys generally don't know either since my great state of South Dakota went down the abstinence only path and decided kids didn't need any other information. Don't ya love it when theocracy trumps common sense? Many people now honestly believe that only awful people doing terrible things get the virus. Just don't bring up any annoying facts as they tend to get terribly defensive of their precious assumptions.

I could go on and on. People ask why I stay here and frankly, I keep wondering myself. I guess there is the duty of looking after my widowed mother--but trust me, if I could flee, I'd have done it like so many other gay men long ago. This community here is less than deserving of the moniker and I pretty much loathe the lot, both poz and negative and stay home to myself now.

It just doesn't change the fact that I'm so tired and lonely since there is nothing but human flotsam & jetsam bobbing in the waters around here.

If you're reading this and live somewhere on the Coasts, be grateful, be very, VERY grateful!

The point that no one wants to talk about remains: condoms suck.

I'll shout it: CONDOMS SUCK.

After all the education and awareness, after all the training, fundraisers and contradictory science about viral load undetectability vs tranmissability, Poz guys would rather be with Poz guys and Neg guys with Neg, so that in the wee small hours, when the brain is not fully awake yet but other parts of the anatomy ARE, passion and desire can proceed without apprehension and GUILT.

Anyone professing otherwise is dreaming, and not in a good way.

People can not be blamed for wanting a relationship in which love and desire are the primary emotions, not fear!

Will education bridge this divide? I think the divide would have been bridged already if condoms aren't what they are.

Yes, they are necessary and all we've got. (The female condom is great for all those "big" boys who have difficulty fitting into a typical male condom). But until the day comes when HIV is cured and is history, people will do their best to seek a situation where they can be as free and sexual as their desires wish for. You can't blame them for that.

Just a little of this about that because Juzwiak's article and some the comments on here are already reminding me of 8th grade. I suppose we are in the Internet age so its understandable that social skills have become stultified over the past few decades.

Sure, honesty is important but so is naiveté and stupidity. None of which are likely to change on a dating/hookup site. You may know your viral load is undetectable and exactly what your CD4 count is. So?

If a guy's not into you, does it benefit either of you to educate (or confront) the other about seroconversion statistics!? If the guy is as deep as a T-cell, and all he cares about you are yours, MOVE ON.

If you're just looking to get laid, click another profile, or even register on another (more poz friendly) site. For that (and more!), try walking out the door and meet guys with similiar interests (and, yes, status)!

As a man who has been HIV+ for thirty years and believe me, been through it all, I find the "bug free", and UB2's somewhat insulting, especially inferring that I have "bugs". I wonder what other potentially fatal disease a person may have and he's referred to as having maifi bugs. Anyway, the irony to me is that HIV+ men who have undetectable viral loads are probably less infectious than the so called "negatives" It appears to me that it's more risky to have sex with someone who says he's negative and may not be, than with someone who's poz and virally controlled. Please understand I'm not advocating unsafe sex, but the figures speak for themselves.
Larry


The article was really emotionally honest, and of course therefore really worthless. The title says it all “don’t infect me”, like the person is being forced into his practice of casual unprotected sex (which he acknowledges like its common -well probably that’s his point, which of course would be absolutely true-). All the discussion is really interesting, but it doesn’t actually have a point to make.

The two issues addressed (HIV transmission and serodiscordant relations) can’t be tackled with either sympathy or fear, much less ambiguity. None of these strategies seem to be working.

Basically all the HIV "prevention" information is based on making people fear Aids.

The demands sexual education campaigns put on people are huge and even stupid (condoms for oral sex, really?).

From a gender perspective gay men are put in a disadvantageous position, with heterosexual men mostly relying on women’s contraceptive.

Even the treatments are based on developing fear towards the virus load instead of educating people. (Also ignoring that the ones on treatment have already mostly passed the fear threshold.)

How can there be an expectation that people will then react positively when in a serodiscordant sexual or dating situation?

In the cities there seems to be a sexual backlash against the fear mongering, with rampant barebacking in the open (also a backlash against the whole discourse about reinfection). But this doesn’t translate to the social scenes, at least not dating/social-networking wise yet.

It seems the (concious?) decision of a lot (more like way too many) is that don’t ask don’t tell is fine.

HIV is being managed by most ordinary gay people like it should have been (and still should be) managed by the health community, an issue of risk (just like heterosexuals do).

Yet, while it is well known that people tend to underestimate their own risk levels, there needs to be a subconscious overestimation to explain the either rising or intractable risk behavior among gays.

In a society where everyone knows that casual sex is prevalent, the irony is that people still have 3 dissonant beliefs/expectations:
1) that their own sexual behavior is in the median;
2) that their partner will have casual sex with them almost right after meeting;
3) that their partner hasn’t had casual sex randomly with others recently, with too many people, and/or that he won’t do it anymore without informing.

Therefore people believe that the risk of HIV for them with x or y partner is either very low or very high, but not in the median. Some people actually hold both beliefs at the same time (most people that ask the status question do so after the deed is done).

City life has the paradoxical ability to both allow honesty and reward dishonesty. Yet the punishment for the first is still higher than for the second.

The higher the chance of reencountering the person, the higher the punishment for both honesty (because of recycling feelings) and also for the possible consequences of dishonesty (because of the possibility of confrontation and even prosecution).

Cities´ sex/dating scene/culture therefore possibly explains the East-West divide.

In the end most positives aren’t interested in dating seronegatives anyway. But as long as the stigma remains, the HIV closet has the same social consequences as the homosexual closet, frustration for all involved.

To get rid of the HIV closet visibility is needed, but then you have the whole issue of criminalization of sex, so it becomes a Gordian knot.

Society says it want positives to be honest, but honesty exposes people to prosecution at any time by any person that thinks or argues that there was sexual contact also at any time.

This is what the gay community in particular needs to understand, that disclosure is not really an option, neither in casual sex, nor dating, nor in public, until criminalization is reformed. So until then, the “don’t infect me” is irresponsible and dangerous.

If those 1/5 or higher statistics are accurate and people still aren’t disclosing, this expectation is unrealistic and people need to be made aware of the why this is and how to create a social environment that will actually lead to change. Both negatives and positives deserve to have actual choices that aren’t at the expense of the other.


Even in the biggest cities, positive men have few dating options.

So if you do meet someone and status hasn’t been discussed you can either:
a) disclose upfront and say goodbye;
b) reject immediate sex, which means the other person loses interest;
c) have sex and subject yourself to be accused that you didn’t disclose, whether protection was used not being relevant.

Mind you, that the disclosure is to a person you barely know, in a gay world that loves to gossip and where social networking, facebook, email, etc, can mean that your status is all over the internet in a matter of less than a day.

Then you have sites like bbrt that on the one hand institutionally promote the idea that negatives can have bareback sex and still say they are negative like there was no risk of transmission involved or like it was negligible. And then on the other hand, it absolutely discourages people from looking for anything more than instant sex.

On mixed gay/straight sites, status isn’t emphasized, so you can’t even use them.

On sites like a4a or mh, probably between 2/3 to 4/5 of positives don’t disclose or lie.

And the personals on this site (pp) are medieval, with outdated email, search and im/chat functionalities.

"Poz guys would rather be with Poz guys and Neg guys with Neg, so that in the wee small hours, when the brain is not fully awake yet but other parts of the anatomy ARE, passion and desire can proceed without apprehension and GUILT."

Nope. You speak eloquently, but I wouldn't elect you to speak for me or any community I belong to. I've never pretended that segregation was an effective way to achieve prevention, not even in the depths of my delusions while neg, and certainly not now. I definitely don't feel any guilt when I'm with neg guys. I've fully and intuitively accepted that everyone is risky, and I'm less risky to HIV- than the average of the other guys they're with. I'm no more terrified by sticking a sheathed, undetectable penis in a negative man than I am when I drive him to dinner or any of the countless other negligible risks I take with him. I think the fact that we're singling out sex as risky or especially deserving of subconscious neurosis when it is not a greater danger than most other activities indicates a specific bias against poz people and sexuality itself.

I also don't think that "condoms suck" as you've said. I think that condoms, "condom fatigue", "serosorting" or any of the other bats**t insane justifications for suicidal, discriminatory behavior that have arisen in the last 12 years are one of the low points in the gay health discourse. Barebacking is stupid. It's stupid for negs. It's stupid for poz. It's stupid for neg on neg and poz on poz. It's way more risky than it's worth for a few minutes of fun. Finding poetic ways to say that "the penis wants what it wants", and happening to advocate segregation in the process, always seem to go together, and it's all just too much nastiness, too many complications for a slightly better orgasm.

After reading this entire subject and conversations ,I never heard any comments on the fact that there are many other stds that are transmitted between poz men that can reselt in unwannted health issues and weakening the imune system.Also that tranfering the virus has the chance of resistance for both persons and their meds,of coarse limiting their opptions of changing meds,of coarse this comming from a long term surviver.some of you men need to think about the path made for new meds of today and the difficult times some guys went threw.I guess this discusion talked about here needs to bring the comunity together,not pull us apart.P.S this topic should be veiwed by the entire gay comunity

I am HIV negative and a woman!
Disclosing my status and gender on this blog makes me feel a little anxious of getting rejected but I continue writing anyway. First, because I have fought the stigma of HIV/AIDS in my own way, and second, because I dislike the fact that humans tend to group up instead of accepting each other in our individual uniqueness.
I have been a regular volunteer HIV tester/counselor for almost two years now. Most of my clients are gay men and 95% of my friends are gay men. My closest friends are gay men. I have this extremely high cognitive empathy that allows me to feel like another person just by thinking how this other person feels in certain situations. So, although HIV negative and a woman, I very much can relate to your fears, anger, and frustrations that you have described on this blog.
I have learned that a lot of negative people expect the person living with HIV to disclose his/her status. My personal opinion is that this expectation is wrong! It puts all responsibility on the person living with HIV whereas we negative people share the same if not all responsibility to stay negative. We know that every time we have unprotected sex, we are at risk of getting infected with the virus. If we make the decision to have unsafe sex, we consciously take the risk of getting the virus and if we do, it is no one’s but our own responsibility. I tell this my clients and hope that it will make them at least think about their expectations and behaviors. Needless to say, I/we will not change how negative people think about dating and/or having sex with a person who lives with HIV on a big scale and in a short time. However, if every one of us does whatever we can to fight the stigma such as having open conversations about safe sex and sex in general, HIV/AIDS and the other STIs for that matter, with as many people as possible, I am convinced that we will over time reduce the stigma of HIV/AIDS. I know it is easy for me to say all that. However, I think that it is not beneficial for the LGBTQ community and our society if poz men and neg men segregate themselves. Where are we going to draw the line? Are we all segregate into our own subgroups? We are all human beings facing similar if not the same challenges in our daily lives. If we would only look up and beyond our own little world, connect with people, and try to understand each other, we would be able to learn so much from each other.
Disclosing your HIV status is courageous in that you make yourself vulnerable and take the risk of getting rejected. I congratulate every one of you who feels comfortable enough to openly disclose your status and allowing us negative people to learn from your experiences. The virus is NOT what defines you! Every human being is unique and beautiful in his/her own way. Our personal experiences shape our personality, make who we are. If someone rejects you because of your HIV status, then this person does not deserve you.

Poz here since 1984. Been in several relationships spanning more than 18 years with guys who are still neg.

Condoms do work. My partners (present and past) are thriving proof.

Much of the hassle with disclosing with casual sex is not the outright rejection, but revolves around the tiresome scenario where you've just met someone who is willfully ignorant. Then they want to pigeon hole you as being obsessed and defined by HIV. Often this crapola comes from guys who haven't even got the common decency to to introduce themselves or ask your name before offering unsafe sex.

i have so much happy-go-lucky, highly chemoprophylactic NATURAL BAREBACK SEX with guys both poz n neg that i find it impossible to take the speech from "nope" seriously. i have had dozens of neg guys balk at taking my load at first, only to come back eagerly someday after doing their own research...bcuz i took the time to explain the science to them, while respecting them enough to point them to the informed debates about that science, and respecting whatever decision they make. for those few that get genuinely abusive, i eat their souls like cheap snacks.

barebacking is eternal. barebacking is REAL sex. rubbers never will be...most men agree, as even poz.com reports on the 2/3 prevalence of condom-free anal sex in the USA among gay men.

i find myself whistling in the wind when advocating for serious research into the design of condoms that actually feel as good as or BETTER than real, natural sex..."science is too hard!", so condom advocates autistically keep their heads in the sand n bark at the moon while the wider community evolves into serosorting, seropositioning, PrEP n other forms of risk management.

worse still, condom advocates lash out and/or censor people who point to this Naked Emperor...but there's too many pointing fingers to censor at this point.

luckily, i have found that respecting my so-called "tricks" and fully disclosing n happily discussing any pertinent risk details with them in a self-confident manner has done far more to bridge the stigma divide than all of my lying n non-disclosing poz friends put together.

i have said often on these blogs "disclose IF U CAN"...i would never suggest people put themselves in serious danger they're not prepared to handle. however, far too many poz people r simply cowards fearing rejection for it's own sake, n maladapt by lying n trying to "manage" the reaction of their partner...with predictable results.

worse, many poz men hold their casual partners in contempt, as the posts on this site too often reveal. we can decry the bigotry of the neg cohort until the cows come home, but until more of us reject the shallow self-interest that helped fuel poz-stigma n criminalization from the earliest days, we will be in a weak position to fight the bigotry we confront as poz people.

worst of all, some of us seek to absolve each other of infecting others...all over this site one can find the belief that "the only person u can ever blame for getting infected is YOURSELF"...um, wrong. *wrong forever*. wrong n u'll never get all of the poz community (let alone more than a TINY % of the neg community) to buy into that delusion.

come out IF U CAN. protect urself, ur partners AND their self-determination...using whatever means work for u.

imagine the poetic justice of joyously, uninfectiously n guiltlessly indulging the sexual company of a person who had previously rejected u in outright terror...but now u can count as a "friend +"...now imagine that many times over.

:-)

After 24 years of living with HIV, I have experienced the gamut of reactions from HIV- guys. Rather than deal with the rejection I find it easier to be upfront about my status...in my online profiles and elsewhere. It makes life so much easier and minimizes the pain and rejection. I prefer to get involved with other guys who are poz - let's face it; you know what and who you're getting and the issue of passing the virus on to someone else is basically nonexistent. What's frightening to me are the sexually active guys who say they're negative, but they haven't been tested in over a year. Then there are the guys who list their status as "don't know" or "don't care" and put not only themselves but others at risk. We gay men are very fickle creatures and the decision that a seronegative guy makes to sleep with a poz guy will usually depend on how "hot" he is and who is the flavor of the month.

Jerry,

I thought you had very good comments however you sound trapped in a bad situation. I lived in Akron Ohio for 8 years while trying to earn enough money to complete my college degree. Akron is very homophobic and I was eventually let go of my job of 8 years because the new controller believed I was gay.

I had been planning to move to Washington, DC after I finished my degree but wanted to wait until I had securred a job there before I left my Akron job. Although the hospital where I worked capitulated to my complaints and offered to reinstate me, I felt the damage was done and moved without a job.

Less than a month later I had a new job, better pay, better chances for advancement and gay friendly in an area where people were better educated, better weather, better ecconomy, more handsome men, and a much more open gay community.

At 29, the move was scary and full of risks. But it paid off in spades. I had a 28 wonderful relationship til he died, ended up making more than 12 times what I made in Akron, retired at 48 and now spend time with dear friends between my Washington home and my lake house. By the way, I met a wonderful guy and am now in a very lovely relationship with another positive guy.

Don't sell yourself short as we each have but one life and sometimes a bold move can make a hugely wonderful change.

Take care,

Michael

Continuing to have these conversations is great. But this is the only point I'm interested in making at the moment: I am tired and angry of having these considerations be mainly, and often exclusively, about placating negative people's fears/feelings/conclusions/emotional processes. It may be that *I* as a poz man don't find it desirable, appropriate, convenient to date negative guys. When we go on a date, and I disclose my status, please be prepared, when you tell me that you're negative, to hear ME say: "I'm sorry. This won't work for me." Stop assuming that just because my status "is not a problem for you" I'm going to feel indebted and grateful. You're not doing ANYONE any favors by living rationally. Rationality and facts should be the given, not the applauded ideal. We need to change our mindset. We're so cornered into inferiority that we forget to ask "what do WE need?"

I agree with "Stop assuming that just because my status "is not a problem for you" I'm going to feel indebted and grateful. You're not doing ANYONE any favors by living rationally. Rationality and facts should be the given, not the applauded ideal."

And if you have a problem, don't get all bent out of shape with guilt. Be kind, be honest. If I offer you disclosure, I have already accepted that the answer might not be the one I wanted to hear.

I disclose for my kharma and my mental health, most of all. Secondly, because I'm a bad housekeeper and can't bother to hide pills, so you're going to find out anyway. It's just too much trouble to keep secrets. I do care about your health, of course, but if you cared as much as you should, it would not always be up to me to start this conversation.

I used to have the fear when I was neg. Then I met a guy who was poz and I liked him so I started dating him even though I had the fear in the back of my mind. I kept telling myself to break up with him, to run. We didn't have anal sex because I was scared. But we did everything else but anal sex and guess what? I got HIV. Anal sex is NOT the only way to contract HIV. I know it was from him because I tested neg in June. I started dating him in June. I had no sexual contact with anyone else and in Sept I was positive. He wasn't on meds and his viral load was somewhat high but not horribly. However, I didn't know that at the time. Now dating is a real challenge and when a neg guy says no or runs, I totally understand that. It's what I should have done

"I am tired and angry of having these considerations be mainly, and often exclusively, about placating negative people's fears/feelings/conclusions/emotional processes"

EVERY CONVERSATION THAT WE HAVE IS ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS! EVERY SINGLE MEDIA DEPICTION, EVERY SINGLE ESSAY, EVERY SINGLE DISCUSSION OF DISCLOSURE!

How many hundreds of people are on aids drugs waitlists, but their media is preoccupied with boycotting a chicken restaurant. Aids got cured? Too bad, we're talking about PrEP anyways. It's like Marie Antoinette was secretly appointed CEO of every gay organization in the country.

Wanna talk about gay health? There is no gay health issue but the need for neg men to stay neg and whatever the lesbian health concern of the moment is. Wanna talk about dating? If poz are mentioned at all, it is only part of a discussion about how neg men can't trust their partners. Wanna talk about drugs? It's the "danger drugs present in the (negative) gay man's quest to remain negative". Wanna talk about HIV discrimination in the workplace? Somehow the discussion turns to how the poor negs are incorrectly presumed positive by their straight peers. No wonder gay men give up trying to live as soon as we're diagnosed; we're treated like corpses who are incveniently still alive, or worse, embarassments.

Like i said at the beginning, even the aids epidemic itself is viewed exclusively through the lens of those who are negative. We're not just marginalized within the gay community, we're erased. We don't even wonder what the consequences of this invisibility are. How isolated must a newly diagnosed gay man feel when every magazine he opens reminds him that he's an outlier, when even Poz.com itself lowballs the percentage of gays who are +?

I am a healthy HIV+ gay male living seasonally in NYC and Ft. Lauderdale. In both locations, my social experience within the gay community in general, and within the gay dating scene in particular, is that HIV stigma is very much prevalent, and shockingly, even rampantly divisive within the gay community to the extent of actual confrontation and resentment, routinely directed toward HIV+ individuals, and often expressed in nasty language and inhumane behavior. HIV+ gay men are largely marginalized, shunned, and pushed into isolation by their HIV-negative gay peers, either covertly, or overtly.

I have devoted substantial time and energy in the pursuit and study of current research and discoveries pertaining to HIV medicine and science. As a result, I recognize that it is vitally important to address HIV Stigma by incorporating the findings of the Swiss HIV Study into our educational arsenal in order to address the mission of counteracting the taint and stigma that is unjustifiably inflicted on HIV+ individuals. There is a critical need to overcome the current ignorance and prejudice by raising the collective public awareness, especially within the gay community, to a more updated level of knowledge on the subject of actual, versus perceived, HIV transmission risks during intimate contact with HIV+ persons.

The Swiss HIV Study provides authoritative proof that transmission risk correlates directly to viral load, and further demonstrates that transmission risk during barrier-free intercourse is negligible when the HIV+ partner is compliant with successful HAART, rendering him virtually non-contagious when viral load is maintained at undetectable levels.

The U.S. CDC has not challenged the findings of the Swiss HIV Study, but rather, has privately concurred with them, and as a result, has chosen to leverage the knowledge gained from the Swiss HIV Study by applying it tactically to greatly increased outreach efforts and advertising campaigns that encourage at-risk populations to seek testing and treatment. The U.S. officials now understand that effective diagnosis and treatment of HIV+ persons is the key to preventing the spread of HIV to the rest of the population. In fact, they are encouraging testing & treatment primarily for this reason, and only secondarily because of the actual health benefits to the HIV+ patient. Shortly after the Swiss Study was released, the U.S. CDC quickly accelerated their HIV testing & treatment efforts to the increased level that we see being promoted today.

It is interesting that most gay men remain unaware that HIV medication is being pushed on them primarily as a CONTAINMENT STRATEGY to prevent the epidemic from spreading, rather than because of a primary and sincere concern only for the health of the HIV patient. The CDC is fully aware that putting them on medications is an effective substitute for condoms. The recent FDA approval of Truvada for prophylactic use in HIV-negative persons is an extension of this non-condom oriented containment strategy.

My extensive personal experience has been that the entire huge quantity of unprotected sex acts with my informed HIV-negative partners has never resulted in their becoming infected. I have always maintained an undetectable viral load, and apparently I'm 'shooting blanks'. With zero infections caused in relation to over a thousand unprotected sex acts, I don't believe that I am contagious to anyone.

I never was discriminating towards folks living with HIV. I'm a bisexual male and the only thing that has ever irritated me is when I moved into a city that was either ill-educated or small-minded. Gay/Bi guys there seemed to have this constant fear of NOT ONLY HIV but EVERYTHING ELSE. Most there were afraid of men that were straight and were scared being themselves. Also, southern and Midwest cities are constantly "online" and most there have BAD social skills in person with one another. I know, honestly its where you go and where you live not an overall perspective or a "poll" cuz let me tell you, I've never takin' a freakin' poll about sh*t.


JC | August 26, 2012 11:50 AM


I consider myself a strong person...However admitedlly, I feel beat down from HIV and all the personal pain it continually causes...
I split briefly with my partner of 12 years when we both felt a need to separate and discover our own paths again... We both were negative at the time . We only lasted 9 months apart from one another and we quickly realized how much we missed one another .. We revealed to each other during our "sabatical" ,that we had unprotected sex with other "supposed" negative gay men... We both agreed to be retested before having sex again.. the results were , he was neg , I was poz.
We have been together ever since but our relationship has definitely shifted.. He will barely touch me and rarely kisses me(unless he's drunk).. But never anymore than that..(Our sex life pre-HIV, was exciting,dynamic and often) ... Since my POZ status, I have orally serviced him once, in these past four years..Needless to say,I felt like a receptapcle.. I have tried to talk with him about safe sex and he claims" Im too old..not interested anymore" (He's 57 and in decent health)... I have tried to engage him in a conversation with my case manager as an outside ,3rd party source to give him the facts about safe sex... He wants zero to do with that..
I find myself "hanging on" because at least I am with "someone" who ,loves me..( with clear distant emotional and physical restrictions)... My partner is somewhat insecure about himself..He is sucessful at what he does but he is forever questioning himself ...Our relationship solely consists of me ,constantly lifting him up,encouraging him,praising his accomplishments... I have always been this way with him and truly enjoy helping his spirit and showing him reasons why he should be proud of himself...

However, my own confidence/self worth , has been compromised ,in this process..

I also had a sucessful career and 3 years ago , I (and many others) lost that role due to a hostile takeover from another company..

I have substituted my long days at my job,with reaching out to the community and helping others by volunteering,any way that I can..


I look very healthy ,take care of myself and still have both men and women flirt with me.. I am flattered but I shut down to any/all attention.. For many reasons...# 1 ..is that I am and always have been, a "for better,for worse man".. My loyalty is solid ... I love(d) being in love.. I still am (?)yet I have never felt more alone or lonely, in my entire life..as mentioned, I am very active in my community..Volunteering daily at various agencies.. I have a dog that I love dearly... But at the end of the day , I come home to an empty house.. (he lives out of state with his current job and visits once every 4-6 weeks,for a long weekend..)

I have never used this forum to speak a word..sometimes,when I have ventured into the email.. I would read the stories posted and would simply shut down..Most are filled with deep ,honest,pain.. (much like mine today) Often ,I will delete the email from POZ w/o ever opening it..

Today,evidently, I needed to ,release my story..

For this , I am grateful to even have a venue to do this in...

I am curious if there are any other Poz men with a neg partner out there, that can relate to my story?...

I have always been an extremely optomistic man that has viewed the world with hope... I am losing that vision.. and even though I show a viral load of undetectable(and have for the past two years now) ... The emotional toll this disease has taken and it's unrelenting discrimation from other gay men (when I "dared" to reveal my status_ , is draining the life out of me..

Jerry,
I appreciated the sincerity of your post..Please understand though..not everywhere on the coasts,are open ,accepting and understanding.. I live in southern Maine(close enough to bigger East coast cities..Portland Me.,Manchester NH,Boston,Ma)).

Unfortunately though, discrimination prevails..

I made the choice ,to finally reveal my status recently to a long lost childhood friend..We had both moved away after high school ..Fast forward 30 years later,we unexpectantly met one another at a mixed gay social event (sponsored by an Aids organization out of Portland).

We were thrilled to reconnect after all of those years..AND to discover,that we both turned out to be Gay...We agreed to never lose track of one another again..We went for lunch the following week to catch up , one-on-one... It was terrific! We laughed for a few hours about the different hobbies we shared and the basic kid stuff we would sometimes get in trouble for..

I decided to take a leap of faith..(especially considering the venue that we ran into one another!)... I told him my status... The conversation suddenly turned guarded on his behalf..I should have addressed the noticable shift in his demeanor,but I did not..I thought that our bonding childhood memories would overcome his inital projection ,of distance..

It did not..

I have not heard a syllable from him since..

He even "unfriended" me on FB after we had both just accepted each others FB friendship request..

To say this cut deeply..is an understatement... This was my first "coming out" about being POZ..needless to say..it will be a very long time ..before I trust anyone enough again to reveal... My limited family member do not know and nor will I tell them ,at this point ..


Although..today..was the first time I ever read all of the stories posted on a POZ Blog.. usually I delete them ,before reading ,from my email ..

I posted my own story a few hours ago and I can at least say..that it felt good to expose my pain..


Your posting also prompted me to respond...
Thanks again for sharing your experiences on this blog..

Perhaps collectively, we can all find the support and sincerity,we naturally , crave..

JC

AMEN to your post Michael....I starting to rethink my current poz/neg relationship..and move on to an "equal playing field" ..and begin to enjoy a full social,emotional and sexual relationship ,once again in my life...

JC, maintaining a fire from that original spark is the challenge of every relationship, not just those which are "serodiscordant" (don't you love that label). You and your partner have a LOT of stress including aging libidos and only seeing each other for extended weekends every month and a half. You mention in another post about the "pain of being unfriended on FB," supposedly because you revealed your status to somebody you reconnected with but hadn't seen in 30 years.

You asked for advice from others in serodiscordant relationships, so here: stop acting like a teenager and take back control of your life. Reacquaint yourself with lessons you learned long ago and remember that love hurts and ANY relationship (whether you're talking partners or friendships) involves risk and pain, as well as joy and thrills.

If your relationship is wanting, talk it out, fix it if you can... or not. If any guy can't be your partner or your friend, it's probably less to do with your status than how you yourself are living with it.

I say all this, JC, with all love and respect for a fellow human being who perceives himself to be in a tough spot: You do not need to define who you are by your HIV status.

brealnyc...should I care about a lost childhood friend reunion after 30 years?...turned sour specifically after I revealed my status for the first time?.... Probably not..just sharing that it stung..and I should have addressed his obvious uncomfortable reaction only once I did this..

As stated...I am the one who has taken on the role of lifting others..I have always maintained a positive spin on everything...Most importantly, My strained relationship with my partner however, has finally taken its toll too..

and yes,of course , We have talked it out and he continues to be evasive and wants to change to subject..

I simply felt comfortable enough to talk on this site, about my weariness of it all..

But hey,thanks for all your love and respect BREALNYC... Bravo to you and your apparent solid continued confidence with all of this ..

Keep on Shining
JC

That's funny, but not funny as in ha, ha. I've been on a few dating sites for MSM and I noticed on some profiles the guys put on there that they practice safe sex only and then the next sentence is I prefer bareback. Just left me puzzled that's all. Hm?

Yes this is a very honest conversation and clearly a lot is coming to the light. I for one have gone through a maze of dating and sexing being HIV and the fear in the Gay Community is loud and clear. I am also blessed for my quest has lead me to face the stigma on both sides and to stand tall to know it has no power over me for I spent many years holding my head down to learn these lessons and not speaking the truth I did not want to offend anyone, but also desperately wanted to find a mate of love. Those days are over me and I believe the stigma will end with one person at a time and personally with one person at a time as the courage is built up in each person to know the stigma and facing it and reflecting on it, to say loudly, in one heart and soul it has no power over me. Phil Wilson's with the Back Institute call for HIV people to come out and has many advantages for the HIV person if one reflects on it. When one really start to live in reality and gets to know real friends and truth in a most deeper level, and truly become free not to live in the shame, anger ,fear and lies, for I know because I am out and have lived in all those emotion and left them and came back to them at times. I believe that when one comes out with a supporting circle and face all the inward stigma and with Faith, yes an import part in my journey for me to learn this freedom to know deep in my heart that these fears cannot hurt and wow, it is a most transforming experience and doors open up for a Health Relationship and Energy of good health can be restored. Yes, you see all the energy to hide HIV or lie to get the crumbs of love from the Gay Community is not healthly and really the confidential policy we have in force has become deadly to enforces lies and self-destruction I believe, when at one it was necessary for survival.. I can assure the HIVer that forever fearful Gay man that is living in this unfound fear, there are multitudes of others that are mature in the love for mankind, so my advice as of 23 years of journey with this HIV for now on the East Coast and the West Coast is for HIVers to surround themselves with supporting people and to Come Out and live without fear to love, obtain Joy and hope for a brighter day to commune with the community that cares and let the ones that live in fear address it and support them to come out to freedom both HIV and non HIV people, as they see fit. In my faith as a Christian Gay Man that happens to be HIV teaches me that The Grandfather in Heaven or the Great Rabi has not given me the spirit fear, The Grandfather has given me power , love and a sound mind. I gently repeat my faith teachings or convection to myself, when this unseen stigma come upon me and freedom always follows. Smile…. For you too have this opportunity to be free, for it is not just for a few , but the many.

What I have to say relates to the gay male community in general - we make up much less than 10% of the population. When you factor in the gay men and women who are out, involved somehow in GLBT stuff, etc it's much lower. Now I'd say half of us are hiding at home behind a screen name with no intentions of ever telling anyone. We are still an anonymous people with no social skills who feel awkward amongst each other. We don't care because in our minds we'll never see each other again. We don't care about our history because we've spent our whole lives going to great lengths to 'not be like other gay people'. Our hatred for ourselves is what drives us against each other. HIV/AIDS stigma is but one facet.

Never have I seen a minority community treat each other WORSE than the bullies that victimize gay youth. We only have time for the gay men who pass for a straight college rugby player. Or who is incredibly affluent, overeducated, well-travelled, and owns only the most expensive clothes and condos in gay neighbourhoods that start around $1 million for a small condo. Our worth is in money, looks and social status. We don't care about gay men who still struggle with that poz diagnosis, the 'it gets better' crap is nowhere to be found when we are left alone to deal with this virus, or losing our jobs, or facing homelessness, or Section 8 housing/food stamps.

This is why I stopped going to Pride. If you don't fit this ideal illusion of wealth, perfect looks and tremendous success, forget it. Not one gay magazine has ever done a piece on homelessness, addiction, the recession and it's impact on gay men. Nothing about newly diagnosed HIV+ gay men and their stories. Those of us experiencing these realities are told to shut up and go away; we are spoiling the image that we have all this money and soon, marriage too; yet the irony of 'what good are marriage rights when few of us even know how/where to meet someone' doesn't register. It's all about money. And stories of flawed gay men dont make any money.

Am I pissed? Yeah. I came out at 15 because I was led to believe that coming out was a statement that differences are important; good and need to be celebrated. How wrong I was, as I look at gay men today who come out only to be more constrained by expectations to have this, look like that, live here - again, I know of no minority group that deliberately prices out its own community so only the rich gays get to live in gay neighbourhoods today - who else is going to pay $1300 a month for a studio apartment? I'm hoping there are more of us, poz or neg, who've been directly affected by the events experienced by the 99% than pretending to rich-bitch it through life.

Jonathan L,
I here your pain my friend been there for I understand the divide between classes even in the community of gay men, for I never fit into a pack, very well, always get kick out for asking some of the hard questions like yourself. I shop at thrift for years before it was vogue and by designer clothes for I like the way the feel on my body. I use to work in a suite that I would buy at a thrift stores and called it my clown suit to dress the part to pretend it was just a costume to make a buck, while my colleague sported 500 dollar suits and daddy’s watches. Well clearly it is not a problem with education with you, for your writings are clear and consign and your communications are excellent. I see this in all communities the pack leader and the ones who follow and I never put my faith in the gay community for most of us are healing from past trauma and put on some kind of clown suit to cover up who we really are in this journey to find our community of trust, honor and integrity. In my growing up and being older and wiser I realized I have to make my own pack in our community and someone once stated, if you have a handful of good life time friends, then one is lucky. Concerning our community or the gay community is healing from generations of oppression and you as a leader, for leaders are always a bit more queer then the rest and lonely at times. I pray you get past the angry and stand tall ... I will lift you up in thoughts to the Grandfather for your community to be with you, as you speak more truths, more will follow. I also wonder too where the powerful social justice magazines or publication are in this community of gay and lesbian people outside HIV and maybe that is your calling to be part of one in leadership. And please forgive me. for I am part of this gay community too and our community is much more than just gay people, for some of my best elders are straight, like my father who raised me and now that my father is pasted away, I always remember that I have a father in heaven to guild me, as of now, for my faith tells me to knock and seek and it shall be opened.

Jonathan, where in the world are you living where you have the impression that gays hate each other so much? (It's a rhetorical question.) There seems to be a thread of people here who are confusing "stigma" with "an anonymous people with no social skills who feel awkward amongst each other." That's a big mistake.

"Stigma" is when you're treated differently from others. The problems I'm seeing bemoaned here are problems that would be experienced by anyone, gay or str8, poz or neg, who hasn't had opportunities to develop social skills and the thicker skin that comes with them. I mean, what is it like to "go to great lengths to not be like other gay people?"

Of course coming out at 15 was the right thing to do. I have always felt that the earlier someone comes out, the more socially adjusted they are! They're just more comfortable within their own skin! Does it make sense to come out at 70, after you've lived a life of lies? Or never come out at all?

I guess there are always exceptions, but no one should think they can't afford their rent because other gays are pricing them out of the market! My $2500 studio is priced what it is because that's the market value of the apartment, not because I'm gay and my hip landlord only wants the cutest and richest in his building! I'll be pushed out of my apartment when there are enough others (gay, str8, inclusive, or homophobic) who are willing and able to pay more.

Stop whining about who you are and how tough life is! Stigma may be best erased when it's confronted, PROUDLY. Speaking of which, get back to those pride events! We need you!

hey breal, stop telling people to stop whining! "it gets better", and 95% of everything else those jerks say is nothing but whining. Whining is the first step to articulating the problem. A problem can't be fixed until it's articulated.

Mainstream gay culture treats us like garbage! They're mean to us! They exclude us socially...and yes, that includes, and is in addition to the sexual exclusion. They make us invisible because we're politically inconvenient, and even on this website, it's taboo to talk about how prevalent our issues are! We're right to be outraged! We don't need "pride". "Pride" is something sold to spoiled white gay kids to tell them how rich they're going to be. What we need is equality, specifically within our community! Telling people to "grow a thicker skin" is making excuses for their horrible behavior. We don't need a thicker skin, we need organization and people who don't dismiss our concerns by telling us to "grow a thicker skin".

Jonathon...u have a right to be pissed...the gay lifestyle is one of decadence and indecency with no redeeming values or virtue...that is the why so many of us gay men bi men got HIV in first place...trying to identify with those of the group we acclaimed to be included and rejected!!! So there is nothing good or great about being gay..is anything good or great about being bi straight asexual bisexual hetreosexual homosexual ? That's for you to decide..don't let jaded old queens rob your joy and don't let POZ people do it either!!

I do think the gentalman in the 2300 dollar studio is not up to date or social compassionate for most realestate investors, many Gays and Staight people are well orgainsed in causing the market to go up for their own greed, own it dude and do not try to bullsh*t people. I think their is an old gay life style for some,and the writier above have some points although straight life styles has the same greed and lot of sex and drugs too. However many in the gay community have matured out of the old gay life style of opression and have learned how to work hard, set goals, get better education and started with nothing; to find a new community with honor, intergerty and truth within their gay brothers and sisters or The New Gay Community. Many are creating unions of love and adopting children and foster children to help break the one side views of gay people. The point is yes, let out the rage and try to get past it for we all have rage at times in seeing our community as bad but look forward to setting goals, finding your passion that can make you a buck(it is not evil to earn money), seek good friends and elders that promote hope and faith in your gifts,for all have great gifts, if they find them. If you leadership or elder are promoting angry and ony injustice they are giving you bad advice, inorder to get past this angry, one must have hope for change and to find a loving relationship in their community where ever they live. Yes the test is creating a joyful life as one grows up and matures to find their faith works with passion and action. I not sure which one is more unhealthie, greed or angry?

SUMCBSID, I couldn't agree with you more about the end result. If whining motivates you to action then wail away but in no way am I dismissing your (our) concerns.

I am still confused when I hear, "gay culture treats us like garbage." Pride is NOT "something sold to spoiled white kids." Self-respect comes from within and does not end when someone does something derogatory against you. Pride motivates every race, every class and the pride events Jonathan was talking about include everybody. Whether you make yourself welcome is up to you.

Somehow underlying this is a belief that safe sex doesn't work, or the determination not to practice safe sex.
Wearing condoms works and somehow that keeps getting lost

Jay,

I do not think condoms are getting lost in this conversation about, he said, she said with my gay brothers, for I think the stigma of secret anger and secret greedy sex desirers are the two motivating truths that need to be addressed. I have been on both sides to want all that good loving and on the secret anger side of playing the game of sex without any thing , i.e, no love, no compassion, no respect and just have not known the dude. Here is where the problem comes in with condoms as the save all, where is the dance, where is the connection, where is the conversation, where is the unite soul and where is the truth between these two lovers or where is the goal for a passionate soul mate. Condoms cannot solve those issues, we must look inside and as a community of gay men it is ok, to be transparent in oneself, with respect and we must all move forward in unity to converse and dance as Men of honor, integrity, and Truths. We learn from the past and create a future I believe from these experience.
I believe the good news in part is that many gay men are becoming free from the stigma, by standing up in their Truths and not playing the old misguided truths of oppression and disrespect of one self and others. Truly most can see by this conversation of truths that these issues and problems with sex and relationships are not just a gay men issues and problem, for we all are human in our growth, and this blog to me is more about sexual loving human beings and how we treat one another in a relationship, for I think the straight people might take some cues from these truths too. I think this conversation is a sign of many gay men growing up to help communicate new direction s, to let go of the past, move into a more loving relationship with ourselves and others. Is this not what we have in common to focus on, our truth of moving forward in passion, peace and unity, with hopes that the new gay people coming into their truths will have it easier, as stigma melts away one person at a time. Well call me hopeful, but that is my prayer and direction.

Reading these posts is sad. I often think that all we have going for being poz is a face of bravery or outright cowardice...that somehow, the weight of the world has put in our shoulders for no fault other than being human.

I guess I will give my confession like many others here...my confession, if it can be called that, is that I too was brave about disclosing my status. And then, I found out that of the few guys who wanted to date me; the poz guys wanted to date me because I was poz and the neg guys (as someone here described it) wanted to date me because I was a recepticle.

I was their cum dump, and ultimately, I was raped.

I think that it was around then that something in me changed... I was no longer "courageous" (in reality I don't think I ever was--I was just trying to avoid further pain). I became scared, and I believed that the best thing to do was to do a "don't ask, don't tell policy" with guys who were just treating me as a cum dump.

Of course, I never had bb sex with them, but b/c I contracted the virus while wearing a condom (I believe the "neg" guy who gave it to me probably had it broken and was unaware of his status), I always feared for my partner's safety. I always had guilt... just like the guilt I always had when I was neg and hooked up with someone who was neg, and I worried myself sick about the virus.

Ironically, when I was neg and had sex with someone who was poz, I never felt safer, and I probably would have continued if things were different.

Anyways, after I was raped, I began more and more to hide my status, and even to worry when I hooked up with guys who were poz. I thought I may get an even worse virus... I frankly wanted to hook up only with neg guys cuz then I knew I was safe, and at least, they were safe.

I moved to another city--a smaller city--and I kept this double life up. Telling some guys I was poz and the guys who didn't ask, I didn't tell.

Then, I finally crossed the line and lied about my status. I figured that I was only sucking this guy off, and I was tired of telling random strangers that I was poz only to have them know something so intimate about me that I felt powerless.

Eventually, my fear no longer was acquiring the virus and a new strain of the virus, but going to jail, having my life disclosed to everyone, see my mother suffer through yet another sorry event in the life of her son (prior to my hiv diagnosis, I had attempted to suicide...I sometimes think that I have made her suffer so much and all because I feel so alone or horny lol).

Anyways, my fears kept multiplying... but I continued on knowing that, if a guy wanted to hook up, I could be safe, and I would not have to disclose my status because I was a recepticle (the passive partner) always used condoms, took my meds, and kept my cum from him.

This was a lie I told myself. A lie aimed at separating sex from my emotions, and then, now, when one of the hook ups tugged at my heart strings, I...I don't know what to do.

He's sick...probably from the change of the seasons, and all I can think about is what if when I gave him a bj, I had a cut in my mouth. What if the precum got into a cut in his mouth, and my viral load had a blip? What if? What if? What if?

I want to see him again, but now, I have to face the prospect of telling him that i'm poz. He never asked, so I never told... but still, it was my choice (and his), but I'm the one with the world on his shoulders.

I wonder if he knew that I was poz would he have called me over, and would we have connected. I wonder if we do even have a connection at all... but all that I know is the agonizing conversation (as if I was coming out all over again) that I must have...I remember when I had it with my mom. I was so afraid that maybe when I was living with her, I cut myself and she stepped on my blood accidentally.

I live with fear, and this virus only amplifies my fear. My fear that if I shrug the whole world will fall to pieces, so I run away... except my fears find me. They find me, and I can't do anything but cry and pretend that I'm together. And smile, and pretend that the world doesn't hurt. Or rage against the world, and pretend that I don't hurt myself.

And now, I'm stuck... and my fear calls me because I feel something for a boy who I think feels something. And being in his arms feels so right, but thinking that he may have this terrible thing because I didn't say (or b/c I did say something) kills me...

You would say, but there are plenty of poz guys in the sea. But I would say, they like me b/c I'm poz and we both feel lost in the sea... but you may also tell me that may be they do love me, and then I can tell you, but I love someone who's not poz. I don't like fishing, and I don't think that I am a catch, so the few lines that I get (from anywhere) I do cherish with strong feelings.

I know that I will talk to him about my status, and all that I think of is how terrible it will go because I will not only tell someone that I'm poz (which already sucks) but also that I lied... after all, I was the one with the world on my shoulders and not he.

What I don't know is why I'm here. Why am I afraid, crying myself at night, avoiding everything that I like and love and cherish. I have faced so many things, and I still feel scared. I have very strong friends (angels as my mom calls them), and I feel alone. I have all the health in the world, and I feel like I'm dying.

I don't know if you guys can understand... and I guess I had to confess like many others, but I wish that, for once, someone could understand my fear. A fear that I think most people like to ignore, but which I think is always there.

I don't think that I deserve love, and I don't think that love deserves me, but I think that at least I deserve to share my fear and not to run from it. I think that if Neg guys would just understand that we don't stop being Neg by simply sero-converting. That we don't stop fearing the world by becoming it's evil monster; like the one woman who posted here said, that they are like us and we are like them, then maybe, even their telling us to go f*ck off b/c of our poz status, would not seem that bad.

I say that to neg guys b/c I don't think that we as poz guys can do much about it. We are after all the object of fear, and even if we try to paint ourselves as pretty angels, we are still demons for them. I wish that they could understand that we also fear... and maybe we could fear together. I don't know. just a thought i guess.

I think all the men and woman that have posted on here are brave and moving forward in love and truth. The old is gone and behold the new. I wish I could give the right words and hugs to take away the pain I can say, that confession in truth in my faith is good for the soul and my Father would say, you are forgive, you are whole.

Know know you are loved and take one day at a time to express your love for yourself and your beloved. My beloved I wrote a love song for you. Will you be my beloved today.

Oh how I love your Heart and Soul
It make me feel complete and whole
Oh how I love you clean smell of joy
Your passionate lips and beautiful toys
Oh how know your love of our Holy Lord
Silent , but strong and courage deployed
Oh how I love for your passionate kisses
Waiting And praying for it to so
Will my prayer be answers, only God Knows
today I sing this song to me for am the beloved
hoping, believing, the truth has set me free.
to love today my creator and me.

Hi Renato
Good to hear your comment since you are a survivor.
you must have a huge experience concerning all the issues of the hiv infection.
please keep in this blog. you can be og great help.
Manuel/portugal

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This page contains a single entry by Oriol R. Gutierrez Jr. published on August 22, 2012 1:49 PM.

Gonorrhea Is Not The New AIDS was the previous entry in this blog.

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