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George Takei & Brad Takei on HIV and monogamy

George Takei & Brad Takei on HIV and monogamy
The Takeis, photographed by Luke Fontana

The couple has been together nearly 40 years and are still going strong.

TV, film, stage, and internet icon George Takei recently sat down, along with husband Brad, with our sister publication The Advocate for their January/February cover.

In the story, the husbands discussed their lives before meeting, which included Brad's time as a journalist and George's childhood in Japanese-American internment camps and, later, his time on Star Trek. The men were also very candid about their courtship, which happened when HIV was just beginning to emerge in gay communities. While George and Brad — who met an L.A. LGBTQ+ runners club — committed to monogamy soon after getting together, they were sexually active before, which certainly put them at risk for HIV in those early days.

The peak of AIDS was hitting at that time,” Brad says of the time they met. “The conversations with your gay brothers and sisters would be, ‘Have you tested negative?’ George and I both were in our relationship before we knew our antibody status; in other words, we practiced safe sex because there was no way to know if you had the virus or not. Finally, we tested and were both negative and it was such a relief. And then our relationship deepened after that.”

George relays a story of visiting his HIV-positive friend, Randy, in the hospital, describing his room as little more than a broom closet. “He was shivering and in a fetal position,” as the nurses stood outside chatting. George screamed at them to get him a blanket. “I was raging,” he says.

“Dozens of our friends passed away during that time period,” Brad says. “The fact that we’re still alive is a blessing, because why didn’t I test positive? I was sexually active with multiple partners [before meeting George]. Luck.”

In the intervening years, the couple has stuck with monogamy, saying that decision is rooted in their early days of dating.

“I think because we cemented our bond during the era of AIDS, that we always established sexual fidelity as one of the guideposts for our relationship and we’ve been very happy in that category,” Brad says, emphasizing that this works for them. “Certainly, to judge other people for what their choices are is not something that we do.”

Read the full cover story here.

George & Brad Takei | Opposites Attract, Love Issue

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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