October 22, 2012
People send us their stories from time. You can too, at email@example.com. This is from a sixty-something professional who has been positive for half his life now, is completely "out" about it to his friends, but still hasn't told his older brother. No one, he told us, ever said living with HIV was going to be simple.
I went out on a dinner date last week.
Now, that really shouldn't be stop the presses! news. But I've been single since my partner died, and I haven't dated much, these last few years. Casual sex without real intimacy just doesn't interest me anymore. Not to mention that, for me, any sex involves disclosing my HIV status, and that's a lot to go through if I'm not all that serious about the guy. Even with condoms and undetectable viral load, I don't ever want to roll over the next morning, snuggle a little, and whisper into his shell-like ear, "that was wonderful, when can we do this again, and by the way I'm positive."
So being asked out to dinner was an event. And I made very sure, even before we talked times and restaurants, that he knew exactly what my HIV status was.
I didn't press him for his. I figured that was his affair until (and if) clothes were about to come off, and if he hadn't told me by then, I'd just ask. But halfway through dinner, he asked me what meds I take, and I reeled off my list of antivirals. He paused for a moment and said, "I take Atripla." And then, "I don't always disclose ..."
I'm a little disappointed but also relieved things didn't go any further. We both have our quirks, and I'm experienced enough to know we would not make a good couple. Which is too bad, because I like him.
But I'm happy with how the disclosure dialogue went. People don't think anymore that you're about to die and they'll die too if you sneeze on them -- at least, not people you meet in an upscale gay bar in a large East Coast city. Disclosing early felt safe and routine. And maybe he'll remember how safe and routine it felt, next time he's asking himself, should I tell him?