OP-ED: HIV Negative Gay Men Are Their Own Worst Enemy In The Fight Against Rising HIV Rates

Once in a while we receive submissions from our reader.  They range from heart breaking stories, to marriage videos, to opinion pieces like the following.  Dan Beason, Head of Social Media at Gay Star News recently sent us one of his latest comment pieces.  See if you agree with his take on one of our biggest issues.

 Dan Beeson says that the results of GMFA’s Big Gay Sex Survey have convinced him that having sex with HIV-positive gay men on medication is safer than sex with negative gay men

Gay guys live in a paradoxical world of denial. That’s what the results of a new survey conducted by UK-based gay men’s health charity GMFA scream from the gayborhood rooftops.

Recently, for the first time (to my knowledge), I slept with a guy who was HIV positive and undetectable. I like to think that I am well clued up on sexual health, given that I work within LGBTI media. As a gay man, I also feel that this knowledge should be second nature for those instances when I need to assess my risk-taking.

I am ashamed to say my initial gut reaction, in the seconds after the guy quite frankly and honestly told me his status, was fear.

I temporarily lost the ability to recall the facts concerning safe sex with a HIV positive man and, the next morning when the deed had been done (fantastically, I might add!), I left his place with a feeling of guilt.

Not that I’d slept with him, far from it, but that my initial reaction had been one I did not expect (maybe due to past bad experiences with a HIV positive ex who betrayed my trust). I also felt guilty because I hoped he hadn’t picked up my on my earlier reservations – because as it happens, I found him super attractive (like wow!).

After reading the statistics from GMFA I realized something; my initial gut reaction resonated with the widely uneducated/in denial gay community and rather than lasting a short amount of time before common sense kicked back, as it did with me, was in fact a hardwired part of their perception and belief-system.

In my eyes, it’s this section of the gay community that is to be feared. You are more at risk of contracting HIV from having unprotected sex with someone who doesn’t know their status than from having unprotected sex with a HIV positive man who is on meds and undetectable – so why would they rather take the unprotected plunge with men who assume they are negative than with those who know they are positive?

The survey, which included over 3,000 responses found that while 51% of gay men who have not been diagnosed with HIV admitted that they were worried about becoming HIV positive, 66% of them said they didn’t use a condom with a casual partner.

Furthermore, 44% of the gay men surveyed also stated that they would not have sex with a HIV positive man who had disclosed their status.

This is simply down to discrimination, denial and a complete lack of education.

On the flip side, 90% of HIV positive men used a condom with a casual partner.

This uneducated group of HIV negative gay men, who are still clinging to the myths of yesteryear, are the biggest barriers we face in the fight against the rise of HIV and other STD’s.

I would much rather have sex with a HIV positive man who is knowledgeable about his status, and more likely to be protective of his body and clued up on sexual health, than a man who assumes he is HIV negative and is willing to bury his head in the sand and go bareback with a casual partner – which is beyond me.

It might be different if you’re on PrEP but that’s not yet available in the UK.

The stigma around having sex with people who have HIV is misguided and should be reversed. We should be looking up to the HIV positive community; HIV positive people that I know care about their sexual health, care about the safety of their partners, and doing what they can to maintain optimum health.

The negative community should then look closely at their attitudes and ask why they are willing to put themselves at risk with other uneducated ‘HIV negative’ men instead of sleeping with educated positive men who not only have their own, but also others, best interests at heart when it comes to sexual and general well-being.

It’s time for the majority of HIV negative men to pull their heads out of the sand, be aware of the actions they are choosing to take (because it is always a choice) and take responsibility not only for themselves but for those around them.

We’re all in this together, positive and/or negative. – gaystarnews.com

What do you think of Dan's comments.  Do you agree?  Are the haves safer than the have nots?

 

 

To follow Dan on Twitter, click here.

For details in the statistics and findings found by GMFA, click here.

For other information around HIV, STDs and gay men’s health, click here.

14 thoughts on “OP-ED: HIV Negative Gay Men Are Their Own Worst Enemy In The Fight Against Rising HIV Rates”

  1. If you believe that any guy

    If you believe that any guy who tells you he's "undetectable", then have condomless sex. If you are more skeptical, get on Truvada. Stop making all this more complicated than it has to be.

  2. Barebacking is more common in

    Barebacking is more common in NYC than protection. I make this statement based on my experience dating very actively on Grindr. And for those who do wear condoms, many of them drop the condom by the second date. Some even by the second round. Two of my close friends have contracted HIV in the past 4 years. One of them got it from an Escort in L.A. (Yes, believe it or not there are people out there who bareback with escorts – ie: complete strangers with a high risk sex life – ie: like many gay men on Grindr ) 

  3.  When it comes to casual sex,

     When it comes to casual sex, I  consider no one to be HIV negative .  In my book everyone is positive, no matter what they say. There also positive for syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes etc. The reports nowadays state that  every  sexually transmitted disease is on the rise .  If you  have been in a healthy monogamous relationship for a couple of years and you explicitly trust a guy  you might consider barebacking.  Otherwise count on contract in a number of diseases .  That's the way it is,  not liking it doesn't change a thing!!

  4. Great article. Sadly, I see

    Great article. Sadly, I see one or two who took the time to read it "are STILL clueless and their own worst enemies." Well, that's their path to walk. As an HIV-positive man, I can say my own outlook has changed over the years (but NOT after discovering I was positive). The transformation took place a few years after giving up the best [possible] relationship I could ever have WITH a partner who was diagnosed as HIV+ about a year after we began dating. He disclosed his status, along with the decision he'd already made; that we would no longer continue dating (because he didn't want to risk exposing me to the virus) and that he was moving back with his family. This took place back in the early years when we didn't have access to the treatments we do today — and yes, he died. My point is I regret not fighting for the relationship; instead, giving in. We "could have had" ten more years and I wouldn't be left with the feeling of "what if." ANYWAY, I'm older and as luck <cough> would have it, a partner I was with for 6-1/2 years who claimed to be negative from day one did expose me to the virus. He was abusive and not worth my time (but that's another story). The moral to the story (SETTING ASIDE the studies that support the claim one cannot be exposed to the virus by a partner who is undetectable and on their meds) is that [most] HIV-negative men live with a false sense of safety, believing they are "safe" because the partners they're sleeping with "claim" to be negative. Yeah, give me somebody who actually knows his status, be it negative OR positive, and who is realistic and looking after BOTH our best interets any day — over the guy who is negative "only because he hasn't taken the time to verify that perceived expectation to date."

  5. Another self hating faggot

    Another self hating faggot who is making the gay community responsible for HIV and tsk tsking those of us who enjoy REAL, NORMAL, NATURAL, CONDOMLESS SEX. There's more straight people with HIV than gay people- it hasn't been a 'gay issue' since the 80s. We're not responsible for this disease and we need to stop acting like it's wrong to have bareback sex. Anyone can get AIDS, but you don't see straight people wrapping it up all the time. And they have MORE HIV than anyone!!

  6. Not everyone is in denial.

    Not everyone is in denial. Married 7, together 17+ years here. The likelihood that either of us is catting around at this point is virtually nil. That's as close to a sure thing, safety wise, that I know. Now, I guess if the Mr. and I *finally* manage to get slim and gorgeous against all odds in our 50s, one of might have a small cause to worry, but we've made it this long.

  7. Well I dont agree how do you
    Well I dont agree how do you really know the HIV is really on meds and undetectable they can deceive you. So I will not have sex with anyone unless it is safe.

    • Think about it this way, if

      Think about it this way, if they've already told you they were HIV Positive, why would they try to deceive you? Safe sex is always best, but positive, undetectable guys know what's going on in their bodies. "Negative guys" can be "negative" only because they haven't been told they're positive. Some guys refuse to find out because they don't feel sick. Well, I never felt sick, but luckily I found it early.

    • You mean those who are

      You mean those who are barebacking random strangers and one night stands. Barebacking in a relationship is perfectly fine and has less of a chance of getting HIV than straight people do.

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