Guest Blogger

HIV and Hooking Up

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 31, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: HIV/AIDS and gay sex, HIV/AIDS and relationships, HIV/AIDS and sex

Editor's Note: Justin B. Smith is a 28 year old Air Force veteran and gay and AIDS activist from Baltimore, MD. He writes Justin's HIV Journal.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Justin B. Smith.jpgPeople hook up online for sex all the time, whether it is on websites like Recon, or Whenever you go to one of these sites they have an option on whether you want to tell people you are HIV positive or negative. Clicking a box for HIV status is optional, not mandatory on many of the sites.

When I was on those websites I would sometimes disclose my status. Some people that I would want to hook up wouldn't even ask .They would just assume that I was negative. When the conversation became more candid I made sure that they knew I was positive. I would say, "Hey are you ok with me being HIV positive." A lot of men got scared and ran away from me. Some blocked or ignored me. I felt shunned. I felt like there was nobody out there that would want me because I was HIV positive.

For all the men out there who shunned an openly HIV positive man, I have something to say about all of this:

The last time you had anonymous sex or an online hook up, did you even think to ask, "Are you HIV positive or negative?" and how do you know they told you the truth? You don't.

When you are hooking up with someone do you even think about it?

When engaging in online hook ups, men rarely ask those questions of other people or rarely ask themselves, "When was the last time I had an HIV test, what is my status".

The gist of it is, if the person is HIV positive what's stopping you from putting on a condom?

I'm not trying to tell any of you what to do I'm just trying to get you to think.

A lot of HIV positive men feel rejected and it's ok. Rejection is a part of life. We all remember that first time when we saw a sexy man that we wanted that didn't necessarily want us.

If you're open about your status and are HIV positive don't feel bad because the man that you want doesn't want you. We all can take a message from President Barack Obama and "move on." There are plenty of men out there that don't care about your status, but will care about you as a human being and not as an object.

So, think about this, if you have sex with someone who doesn't tell you their HIV status and you have sex with someone who is open about their status, what is the difference if you use a condom both times?

Absolutely nothing at all


How do you know he's not lying? And is he you?

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So, think about this, if you have sex with someone who doesn't tell you their HIV status and you have sex with someone who is open about their status, what is the difference if you use a condom both times?

Absolutely nothing at all

There is also the legal issue.

(1) Many states have laws which assume that a person engaging in prostitution is having unprotected sex. Thus, a hustler who is HIV+ can be charged automatically with attempted murder, or similar charges. Informing the client is not a defense against the charge, nor is wearing a condom, even if you wear one every time. This draconian approach to the law is not likely to ever be corrected, because, whether HIV+ or HIV-, there is no right to engage in prostitution to begin with.

(2) Some states (Indiana is the only one I am sure of) require by law that if you engage in a form of sexual contact that has been documented to possibly transmit HIV, then anyone who knows oneself to be HIV+ is required to inform his/her sex partner beforehand, whether or not protection is used.

So disclosure is not always optional. In many instances it is legally required. Of course, these laws are difficult if not impossible to enforce, but one should still know what side of the law one is living on.

We should all assume that each and every hook-up is HIV+. We should act accordingly to protect ourselves and others. Asking a stranger his HIV status and entrusting him with your life based on his reply is just stupid.

Justin : Thanks for sharing that important post.

I think there is no difference in terms of the risks involved. However, knowing that someone is HIV positive does have psychic complications. By this I mean, the other person would be hesitant to perform certain acts or they would be paranoid after sex. The element of knowing for sure that your partner was positive is mind rattling. Then, of course, there is the ick factor.

Anthony in Nashville | February 2, 2009 8:57 AM

This was a very timely piece. Yesterday I was discussing HIV and tricking with a friend and he said he assumes that everyone is negative unless they say so. He also thinks it's on the positive person to put that information out there instead of the other person having to ask.

Goes to show the varying ideas people have this subject.

Justin and gentlemen. I am so pleased to see all of you having this very important and thought provoking dialogue. I love you unconditionally and keep up the good conversation. Justin - YOU GO BOY! thanks for sharing. In your sharing, you have opened the door for a conversation which some might find difficult to talk about - especially men.

I look forward to seeing you around the mill again soon... very proud of what you're doing.

Yes honesty is a wonderful thing. On the contrary, gay people who have HIV or AIDS or suspect that they have it and do not disclose to anyone else they want to have sex with (gay or not, doesnt matter) are likely to instigate hate against all gay people and even instigate hate within the gay community.