Wednesday, 23 March 2011

....2 Ponder.......... Should Poz Men Reveal Their Status....

.........I saw a profile on a dating site that stated "If you are positive, please tell me. It won't make a difference but I want to know."

....Hmmmmm................... my initial thought was "Of course you would want to know because this brings a risk to the sex life."

......But then I thought - "Hang on - HIV is only a risk if you have unsafe sex. If you are using condoms and latex compatible lube......... why would you care?"

..... So I'm curious as to what you people think..... Should Poz men identify as Poz if you are going to date / fuck them?

Now - I'm going to play devils advocate here.................... I'll give my personal opinion at the end of the post.

Some YES you should points...
  • Full disclosure - honesty from the word go breeds trust.
  • If you have an accident and there is a blood spill at home it can be managed without any risk to the neg partner eg. Cooking in the kitchen and a knife cut happens.
  • Sexual Risk - even with safe sex aside, some people are into fetishes and these can be better managed so that BOTH partners are kept safe.
  • The neg partner can manager their own health as to not pass on anything to the poz partner that could seriously impact their viral health - cold / flu / any bacterial infections etc.
  • Deal breaker - for right or wrong there are people who will not date poz people.
  • Prior experience - some people will not date / fuck poz ppl due to previous bad experiences eg. loss of a friend / partner to the virus.
  • The emotional stress of having a partner with a potentially terminal illness could be too much them.

Some of the NO they shouldn't points...
  • Everyone has a right to privacy.
  • Someone's sero-status should be something that THEY choose to share. There is significant discrimination already in the world. People don't want to be MY friend because I'm a clinical depressive. Can't imagine being someone who had to share being HIV +.
  • If someone is having safe / safer sex, the risk is non-existent. There is NO documented case of someone contracting HIV through safe sex.
  • When you first start dating someone you have ZERO assurance of it going anywhere.
  • When you fuck - you should be having safe sex.
  • If you bareback - and have made an informed decision to do so - then you accept the risks and their status should not be an issue.
OK - here is my personal opinion about this one....

For **ME** it would be very hard to date someone positive as I have lost people to the virus and the potential for losing them would very hard to live with. This isn't to say that I would find it impossible - but it would give me pause.

Would I fuck with someone who is positive? Yes. I have done so before. And EVERYONE should assume the person they are fucking / being fucked by *IS* positive. Unless you are barebacking and choose to do so in an informed manner (I know I know.... but this isn't the topic of THIS post - it'll come though) then condoms and lube used appropriately should not make sero-status an issue.

Furthermore - the oral risk of contracting HIV is so small that there has to be a whole HOST of risk factors to be present for this to be an issue - even with ingestion of semen. They have to have a high viral load, you have to dry mouth, open gums. ulcers etc. I have only ever read of ONE documented case of HIV oral transmission - and the idiot who caught it had only just had a wisdom tooth removed a week prior and the hole had not closed yet.

So.................... what is YOUR 2 Cents Worth.

This is a difficult issue. But I think it is one that deserves discussion - but I do ask that the discussion be kept civil and respectful.

I have tried very hard to do this post with sensitivity and respect and hopefully that comes through.

I look forward to hearing your own insights.




DuPree said...

An excellent post, Damien.

My 2 cents - I think both parties are responsible for knowing what they are getting into. The pos partner should definitely disclose (for many of the the reasons you state)but the neg partner is also responsible to understand and ask questions.

Thanks for kick-starting my brain this morning with a thought-provoking post.

queer heaven said...

I would say I agree with your opinion for the most part. What i do not understand about this whole thing is why any POZ guy would want to put someone else at risk by not telling.

Cubby said...

I think you are right in that the guy posting on the dating site is looking beyond the sex.

Perhaps he is poz and thinks a potential husband can only be found in another poz man. Maybe for him, for mere sex sero-status is irrelevant, but for a relationship it is important.

Of course, the neg-neg analog also works.

Prince Toddy English said...

I assume everyone is HIV positive now. The statistics in the gay community are stupefying. Therefore, I'll always have condoms and proper lubrication.
With that said I think someone positive should disclose...What if there is a condom break? The negative partner should atleast know to get a PEP.

Chris Morley said...

Hi Damien
Your 'for' and 'against' reasoning is a good start but overlooks many factors. My job is to deal with HIV policy issues.

I've investigated the evidence from the UK, and produced a presentation for the national HIV prevention and sexual health conference which was held here in Manchester, England, earlier this month.

The long and short of it is that whatever your / anyone's views about whether people with HIV should tell you this, it is far too risky and unreliable for any undiagnosed man to expect and rely on others to tell you they have HIV.
Too many men have no or out of date information about their HIV status.

For a start, in the UK at least, more than 1 in 4 gay men have not tested and so can tell you nothing reliable about their status. So in major UK gay centres like Manchester, roughly 10 in 100 men have HIV but 3 of those 10 with HIV don't know this yet. What you don't know yourself, you can't tell others.

Furthermore, many men who tested negative have had unprotected anal sex since they had their last test - so their negative test result is past its sell-by date and unreliable.

You will find my presentation which considers the issues and evidence (from the GMSS 2008, the UK Gay Men's Sex Survey). I called it 'Telling Rules' (pdf) you can download it here -

Hope this helps you and others

Stan said...

The pos person should disclose their status but the neg person also has resposiblities to stay neg.
Having lost a partner myself as well as many, many friends, your right the emotional stress of having a partner with a potentially terminal illness is something I would not wish on anyone.
Turning 60 next month and a long time out of the dating scene these are important issues I didn't have to deal with when I was in my 20's and 30's.

Panther said...

I believe that casual sex and relationships need to be treated differently.

With casual sex I always insist on safe sex. This approach has worked for me keeping me negative since we were told to use condoms in the 80s.

In a relationship there are different issues, including trust and communication. Without disclosure you are testing these and probably the relationship.