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HIV+ / Will I Ever Have Sex Again?
Mar 19, 2005

Hi, Dr. Bob! I've read alot on this site from people concerned w/maintaing their negative status, but I rarely come across any questions from HIV+ people concerned about preventing the further spread of the virus. I am an HIV+ gay man, infected from unsafe anal sex w/a partner of 3 years who misled me in regards to his status. I'm 28yo, successful, and attractive. I recently moved from a small town to one of the country's biggest cities. My point is that there is no shortage of men showing interest in me. In the year that I've been here I've dated 2 decent guys, both of which hit the door running after I revealed my status, before we became sexually active. I'm hopeful that someone out there will find me worth the extra effort, but please offer me some clarity in regards to what that effort actually is. If I meet someone willing to stick it out, someone who's going to trust me to keep him safe, what exactly are our limits? My doctor, a straight woman, hasn't offered me much advice in this area. I see HIV+ characters on "Queer as Folk" having sex. I assume that Magic Johnson, Greg Louganis, etc... are sexually active. So when I meet someone who stays around after I've disclosed my status, what can and can't I do? I have HIV, but I'm very concious of my part in keeping it from spreading any further. But I'm lonely! Help! - Chicago, IL

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Chicago-Guy,

You're 28, successful, attractive, available, lonely and horned up??? OK, I'll be right over. What's that exact address again, please?

Listen up, Chicago-Guy, one of the greatest things about being alive is sex, right? Well, sex is as important to us "virally enhanced" folks (yes, I'm HIV-positive, too) as it is to our neggie counterparts. A healthy expression of sexuality is an integral part of general good health.

First off, read through the archives of this forum. I've discussed problems of when and how to disclose your serostatus and also addressed many issues related to magnetic couples (one poz, one neg).

Will you ever have sex again? That's up to you. Many magnetic couples have very successful and satisfying relations. Steve and I, for example! Steve (Dr. Steve, the expert in The Body's Tratamientos Forum) is HIV negative while I've been positive since January 1991. We've had the most amazing relationship (including mind-blowing sex) for 12 years and counting. The key is communication, accepting each other as different and creating one's own negotiated-safety (or negotiated-risk) sexual rituals. You and your partner (whichever lucky guy that happens to be) need to discuss what each feels is safe and unsafe based on your individual comfort level and medical facts, and then realistically redraw boundaries for your sexual activity together. For a discussion of methods to prevent sexual transmission of HIV and basic safer-sex recommendations, check out HIV Insite at http://hivinsite.ucsf.edu/InSite?page=kb-07-02-02.

As for the "2 decent guys" you dated who "hit the door running" when you revealed your status, I'm not so sure I'd use the word "decent" to describe them. In general, there are a variety of common immediate reactions we've all experienced when disclosing our status in such situations. These responses include:

1. a caring heart-to-heart

2. a cranial meltdown and wall punching

3. silent shock and awe

4. "See ya later"

5. "What's HIV?"

So if someone bolts when they hear your HIV positive, just remember they are rejecting the virus not you.

Buddha's advice might help. When he was asked how he handled insults and anger from his critics, he replies, "If someone offers you a gift and you decline it, to whom does the gift belong?" Put in less contemplative and more sexual terms, if someone blows a load of rejection your way, spit, don't swallow!

Chicago-Guy, I'm quite confident that not only will you "meet someone willing to stick it out" (so to speak), but that he'll be your Prince Charming with whom you will live happily ever after.

Good luck. By the way, when I post your comments and description 20-something, successful, attractive, single stud, looking for love in the Windy City you have no idea how many dudes will be writing to me asking for your e-mail address. (Sorry readers, we cannot reveal that information!)

Dr. Bob


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