By: Jorge Diaz, MSW – Clinical Social Worker – Jorgediaz2010@gmail.com
Let’s talk about sex, HIV and dating. Would you date a guy who is HIV positive? In an era of Prep and Pep, one would imagine that the fear of HIV infection would disappear. In some cases, it’s the fear that fuels the rejection and it’s the rejection that gives life to the shame and stigma associated with HIV. However we want to address it, HIV has an interesting yet painful domino effect in the dating arena. What are men afraid of when it comes to dating a guy who LIVES HIV? I don’t understand how so many men continue to face rejection once their HIV status is disclosed, and I certainly don’t understand when others “out us” as a form of prevention. For me, HIV is a personal journey, yet the dating or sexual hook up scene involves others and their perception and perspective on the subject. I find it rather interesting that many of us can freely hook up with someone-meaning “fuck and bounce” without having the HIV status conversation. While others continue with their “friends with benefits” and the HIV conversation “may” come up.
When it comes to dating and falling in love, the HIV card may be a deal breaker. Let me get this straight, you would fuck me, but not date me? Is the rejection really fueled by fear, or are we talking about another issue? Once again, HIV has an interesting domino effect in the dating arena. In a time where there is a pill known as Truvada, why do we continue to fear HIV? Some even say that the lack of fear is what continues to fuel the high HIV infection rate among Latino men who have sex with other men. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) stated that 1 in 4 Latino men who have sex with other men will contract HIV in their lifetime… Is it safe to say that we have a problem here larger than dating and rejection? If 1 in 4 will contract HIV, does that mean the rejection is a never ending cycle? Will we stop rejecting each other when 1 in 4 of us becomes HIV positive? Or what will it take exactly to end or slow down this REJECTION monster that fuels so many elements of stigma and shame or internalize homophobia? Remember that with rejection comes growth, however, with rejection comes pain.
HIV is our issue and together we need to find effective solutions; talking about HIV is a start. Ask your partner without fear or shame about his HIV status or if he’s on PreP. Silence and rejection simply shuts down the conversation and the opportunity for a positive sex life. In the end, we all need love and for so many of us, it was love and trust in another man that resulted in our HIV diagnosis.