How HIV agencies marginalize HIV+ guys
Many HIV organizations will tell people to “know the HIV status of your sex partners”, I think this is bad advice. There is now at study that shows it is bad advice.
It seems that anyone who tells you to know the status of your sex partner is setting you up for risk for becoming HIV+. The first question is why do you want to know the HIV status of your sex partner? If you are fucking with condoms, then their HIV status does not matter. If you are not fucking then HIV status will not matter.
When you compare the amount of HIV virus a person has, the guy on effective treatment likely has an undetectable load, (meaning <40), the guy who is most likely to have 200,000 time more HIV virus in them is the guy who thinks he is negative, not the poz guy. He may have 200,000 times more virus than the poz guy on treatment for 4-26 weeks. This makes the guy who thinks he is negative much more likely to pass on HIV.
Well lots of us guys fuck without condoms at times. We know this happens, a lot. By playing with the stats, we are trying to find ways to make fucking without condoms ok. Well it is not easy to do. Monogamy is one possibility, but I have talked to too many guys who say “my boyfriend thinks we are in a monogamous relationship.” Only fucking with negative guys is another but we cannot know if they are truly negative.
Why would anyone tell you to know the HIV status of your partner, it seems beyond reason to me. A person can only know their HIV status if they are HIV+, or not having anal sex and had a negative test. Someone you meet for sex will almost for sure not be able to know they are negative. They can say they had a negative test last month, last week or yesterday, but that does not mean they are truly HIV negative. (Positive results do not show for 10 – 90 days depending on the test.)
Talking about HIV status as a screening device to decide who you will have sex with goes a long way to marginalize and stigmatize HIV+ guys. Do we really want to isolate and discriminate against 20-25% of our own population? A study in the last year, explored anal sex contacts of 2623 gay guyswho do not always use condoms. The results showed that serosorting , that is: assuming, knowing, or being by a sex partner that they are HIV- -only gave a person a “small decrease in risk of getting HIV”.
How do we make the decision to fuck without condoms? We know it is a risk to become HIV+. So, some of us will drink too much to really think about it. Some of us will do other drugs to “not care” at the time they are fucking. Some will tell themselves he is so nice, so hot, in such good shape he cannot be HIV+. I often think if someone wants to fuck with me without a condom, do I think I am special and the only one he does this with? If there are other guys he fucks with then there is a bigger chance he may be positive without knowing it. Some guys will ask if he is negative and then feel the chance is lower.
So we have a widely accepted practice of telling guys to “know the status of their partners, we now know this is bad advice. This advice will further divide our community into HIV+ and HIV- guys. We need to support each other, have sex together, and accept our differences.