Gay Men, HIV and Valentine's Day -- Disclosure, Openness and Self-Love
February 12, 2014
When it comes to relationships, I think that HIV plays a big role in it, as far as the acceptance of someone as a partner. At first, I was reluctant to tell people my status right away -- like, "Hi. I'm Marco Benjamin. I have HIV." Because, with some people that I encountered, it was like they were closing the door on me and they didn't want to know who Marco was. The only thing they saw when I met them and I disclosed my status was HIV. Which was kind of messed up, because they weren't allowing themselves to get to know me for who I am. So, I started to find a way to tell people from the door, straight-up: "I have HIV. There's nothing I can do about it. If you want to talk to me or if you want to date me, that's fine; if not, I can still move on."
I even, sometimes, didn't tell people right away. There was a phase that I went through where I would wait six months. Like, "Why do I have to tell you my status?" But the person felt like I was lying to them; by the time I disclosed my status, they felt that everything I had said before was a lie or that I had something to hide. And I didn't want to be portrayed like that. I wanted to be very upfront with everyone. As of today, if I feel like I'm going to be in a relationship with somebody or have something better than dating, I disclose my status 100 percent.
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