I received an e-mail from someone who is actively dating and I will call him Jay. Jay is HIV negative and is dating a guy name Tom. Tom and Jay have been dating for about two months. Things are going great with both of them but in those two months they have not been intimate at all. Tom has been pressuring Jay to have sex, but Jay has stated that he is not ready. The reason Jay is not ready is because he is having trouble with Tom's HIV status. Jay has also stated that he knows that HIV is preventable with a condom.
Listen, Jay, if you cannot be comfortable with having sex with someone who is HIV positive than don't, even though I would love for you to be able to be happy with Tom intimately I can't make you. Don't do anything you're not comfortable with.
Listen, Tom, stop pressuring Jay for sex. You can't make someone be intimate with you unless they want to. I know that you love Jay, but if you cannot find the kind of love that you need, either something has to change or you have to move on.
I also asked Jay how many people he has been intimate with. He told me the number and it was in the hundreds. So I asked, "Did you test them all?" He said, "Of course not!!" Then I asked, "Did you ask all of them what their HIV status was?" He said, "No." Then I said, "How do you know you haven't slept with someone who already had HIV?" He became silent.
The fact is people sometimes don't like knowing the truth and then when confronted with it they get scared. Being upfront with one's HIV status is a brave, personal and intimate thing. If someone does not want you because you are HIV positive then move on, there is hope to find someone who loves you for you. If you cannot date someone with HIV well it's simple: don't. Find someone that you can be comfortable with physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and of course sexually.
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Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
(Photo credit: Don Harris)
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