One afternoon last week, social drinks brought up the highly relevant topic of HIV. I was approached by a rep that asked if I wanted to be tested; kudos to G-A-Y that now does testing every Wednesday in the basement (that’s the lesbian bar, for those that didn’t know it existed). I declined having been tested recently, but who would want to find out in such a public place regardless?
I’m not knocking this because I think anything that helps to raise awareness is a step in the right direction but imagine hearing an upsetting diagnosis while out for your midweek cocktails and cocktalk.
Perhaps it’s a clever marketing scheme by which people then diagnosed spend their life savings getting drunk. I personally wouldn’t want to find out anywhere other than the confines of a nurses office.
We discussed who we’d tell and who we wouldn’t if we were diagnosed positive, and what was unsettling is that most of us wouldn’t tell anybody. At that one time in our lives when we probably need support the most, we’d bottle it all up? What this tells us, is that the gay scene is still very much uneducated and prejudice on the subject. There are already enough heterosexual people that think HIV is a death sentence without homosexual men thinking that too. It’s not.
If it were a friend of mine that been diagnosed, I would be there one hundred percent for him, and if he didn’t want me to tell anybody, I wouldn’t – that’s his choice. HIV is not something men should feel ashamed of having, and yet I’m to understand that secrecy is a large part of finding out you’re positive. Some of these men are just boys that made a mistake… Unfortunately one mistake is all it takes in some cases.
I’m not suggesting that all men should wear a HIV proud badge as it’s not neccessary- but if people choose to disclose their diagnosis on an internet profile it’s most likely so they don’t have to face the rejection their afraid of. If the fear of societies rejection wasn’t so great and more people could be honest about being positive then perhaps HIV wouldn’t be such the epidemic that it’s become.
My point is that choosing to sleep with someone that you know has HIV is entirely our choice, safety is important, and we have the right to say no if we feel uncomfortable – but terms like “riddled” are totes not acceptable, neither is the belief that HIV = AIDs; THEY’RE NOT DOING ANYBODY ANY FAVOURS… least of all the gay scene! We should be supporting our fellow gays, not suffocating them.