Sex education for youth is inadequate in the United States, and info specific to young queer people is nonexistent in most high schools. Religious fervor and sex-phobia is still killing us. But we know you might not do that.
But then I became positive, and suddenly all these terms became significant to me — my life depended on them. Dating people different from you makes you better — in all cases.
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Date someone who will help you grow. That cute dude on your hookup app sending you woofs and hole pics is poz. Why automatically refuse so many awesome, adorable guys in your world? This hardly needs to be said, but all this science and data, all this anti-stigma campaigning, is not a cleverly-disguised attempt to infect others or spread HIV. Some people still believe this. Stop believing in this lie. Most of us got HIV doing the same thing you did last weekend — bar-hopping, feeling good, going home with the stud in a muscle shirt, and fucking all night.
I do bloodwork every three months.
If you have a question, don't be afraid to ask it.
When I do, I do a full-range test for a list of sexually transmitted infections. Most poz guys I know do this. HIV forces you to do this, and in the process we often find kinks we never knew we had, fantasies we never knew we wanted fulfilled. For a period, I was transmittable. For the months before I started my medication, I could infect my partners.
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The doctors demanded I do many things: They told me to use condoms no matter what. The responsibility came upon me to make these choices. I had to have the talk before sex. It was hard, but I got better at it. Those early months without meds were filled with refusal, cruelty, and hurt. Sex becomes something you can play with.
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The end result: We automatically bring something to the sheets that our partners have to reckon with, so if you have a bizarre fetish or fantasy you want to try, bring it on. HIV care is filled with communication tasks like this — dialogues between doctor and patient, patient and pharmacist. Are you a mountain climber? We can do that.
How to Cope When You’re Looking for Love but Finding HIV Stigma Instead - POZ
Voracious reader? We can do that too. Fuck yeah. Cross-country cyclist? There are incredible athletes and gym rats with HIV. A recent survey showed that the average person has 7. Gay men are masters of sex — quick and casual, passionate and intense, friendly and fraternal. It only takes one sex experience to get HIV — one slip-up, one wild night. Because the process of getting treatment and taking care of yourself after learning your status is a crash course in current healthcare.
TasP is a triumph of medical science helping those living with the virus. PrEP is a triumph of medical science preventing its spread to those who are negative. Truvada is currently the only drug approved for PrEP, although other drugs are being tested for it.
It is a once-daily pill that prevents HIV transmission, regardless if your poz sex partner is detectable or undetectable, regardless of condom use, regardless of gender. PrEP has changed the dating game.
The HIV-Positive Person's Guide to Sex and Dating, Part One
There are many gay men who are aware of their HIV-positive status and are not on medication. This past weekend in San Francisco, I met a gay man who is homeless and addicted to hard drugs. He survives through paid hookups arranged on Grindr, needle exchange programs, and selling on the street. Guys like him contribute to the spread of HIV, but to call them predatory, dangerous, and problematic is wrong and inadequate. Some of the most vulnerable parts of our populace — addicts, homeless queer youth, sex workers — get demonized for HIV while they live in a culture that offers few ways for them to get help.
The results, not surprisingly, always came back negative.
No risk, really?
I felt guilty about it because I knew, logically, there was no foundation for my discomfort. Depending on our age, many of us growing up were told it was a death sentence. At the time, it was a plague, and in lesser developed countries and some parts of the United States, it still is. Today, however, it is a no longer a death sentence and men with HIV live rich and fulfilling lives. In doing so, we reduce this man to his status. Nevertheless, I understand the fear many of you have of acquiring HIV.
I understand how it impacts all our lives. I understand why you might not feel comfortable sleeping with positive men. I hope through sharing my experience, I can help put some of those fears to rest. But I also want to note that quality men are hard to come by. Finding a quality man who loves you as much as you love him is even harder. And all for what?
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