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Sex & Dating

#AskTyler: I Don't Want to Date an HIV-Positive Guy

#AskTyler: I Don't Want to Date an HIV-Positive Guy


One gay man wonders if it's OK to tell a guy you don't want to date him because he's HIV-positive.

Andrew from Dallas writes, “I don’t want to be rude, but I just don’t want to date a guy with HIV. How can I turn him down without hurting his feelings?”

First, I am glad that you asked such a difficult question and I commend you for your honesty. It is one thing to talk about this issue with your supposed HIV-negative friends, but it is quite another to ask an openly HIV-positive person such a question. The truth is, it is your prerogative to date whomever you wish and no one has the right to shame you for your decisions.

 However, you asked how you could reject someone because he is HIV-positive in a polite manner. In order to do so, you need to inquire about a person’s status during the first meeting if not sooner. It is not up to the person to disclose their status to you before sex enters into the equation, so if you are trying to weed out HIV-positive folks, you need to screen your date as early as possible. Ask what their HIV-status is in a text or give them a call so that you can turn the situation into a friendly vibe before letting the romantic feels set in.

But before you relax and proceed to your dating life as normal, it is important to figure out why you are against dating someone who is HIV-positive. If it is to protect yourself from getting HIV, it’s my obligation to warn you about your false sense of security. The truth is, 91 percent of new infections stem from a person who is either unaware of their HIV status or has yet to begin treatment. And from someone who knows a thing or two about reading into statistics, it would be safe to assume that a person who has yet to start treatment would also be hesitant to disclose their HIV status when asked. It’s not science, but I’d put 20 bucks on it anyway.

You may think this next thing I am going to say is just a ploy to convince you to date poz guys, but you and your sexual health would be remiss to dismiss it. A person who willingly discloses their HIV status to you and who has achieved an undetectable viral load through treatment is probably your safest bet for two reasons. One, because they gave you the information you need to take the proper steps to protect yourself, whatever your method of protection may be. Two, because there has never been even one reported case of a person with an undetectable viral load transmitting the virus

If, however, the reasons you don’t want to date an HIV-positive person have nothing to do with the safety of your sexual health, then by all means, avoid them. Maybe you don’t want people thinking that you are HIV-positive. Maybe you are too afraid to be with someone who has dealt with such hefty life issues. Don’t feel bad about it; you do you. It doesn’t matter, because any self-respecting person with HIV probably wouldn’t want to be with you either.

There is one thing, though, that you may be surprised to find. As more people become educated about HIV and invested in fighting the stigma that comes with living with it, you may find HIV-negative guys who are turned off by your “negative only” mentality.

But I digress… Find out their status right away and end things before they begin. That way, you save yourself from getting to know someone who has a disease that has nothing to do with the person he is, and he can find someone who is worth his time.

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

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