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Rejection and Stigma When Dating With HIV

September 12, 2013

"You need to get out," was the response Bart Lily (a pseudonym) received after disclosing his HIV status to a love interest he had chatted with for months.

In this personal piece from, Bart recounts his experience getting turned down because of his status, highlighting the nervousness and fear of deciding to disclose, as well as how pervasive HIV stigma still is.

"How had this gone so wrong? I'm up-front with my sexual partners about my status. Why not today? And if Paolo [the love interest] had such concerns, why not ask me beforehand? Was all he needed to hear that I was negative? What if I'd said it through deceit or because I didn't really know? Would he have barebacked me anyway and then just gone about his day?" Bart writes.

Read more about Bart's experience and share your thoughts about dating with HIV.

Warren Tong is the research editor for and

Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

Copyright © 2013 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: mj (florida) Thu., Sep. 19, 2013 at 3:51 pm UTC
Just as tough for straight guys trying to meet women. Even many Poz women reject Poz guys because we are Poz. Very frustrating and painful to be rejected under any circumstance. I won't even speak to the megative/poz situation.
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Comment by: John Jones (Philadelphia, PA) Thu., Sep. 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm UTC
There's no way to win with HIV dating. You disclose and are automatically rejected. This is one reason so many HIV positive men are using meth. In the world of meth sex, the only rule is don't ask, don't tell. This only leads to more HIV. There's no way to change this except with a vaccine that will cure and no longer make us pariahs.
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Comment by: jim (boston) Tue., Sep. 17, 2013 at 9:33 pm UTC
There is a lot of discrimination and hostility in the gay community against those of us who are positive, but this story in the Advocate is not really about that. The guy who wrote the story is positive and he should have said something before he allowed himself to be penetrated bareback. Yes, the other guy should have asked, but if you are positive and barebacking there is no excuse for non-disclosure. This is basically a story about an encounter between two irresponsible jerks. I think it's important to understand that.
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Comment by: Frank (Randolph, NJ) Tue., Sep. 17, 2013 at 8:19 pm UTC
Most men will sleep with you without asking if your poz or not. they are interested in the sex and if they don;t know then they wont get it. most wont even get tested because not knowing they can say they arent poz. ive been upfront to all ive met and been thanked for the honesty and then ditched. so i went with poz personals met my match and been happy for the past 4 years.
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