“HIV stigma makes people afraid to get tested.”
Where there had been something that he’d wanted to say and he was unable to say, something. And it’s funny cause the first thing out of my mouth was “have you been infected?” And he laughed and he’s like “yeah, you know.” And we had a conversation about it. And it was interesting cause we had one of the best conversations that we’ve ever had in the entire time that we’ve been talking after that coming out on the table. And it had never really come up but there were times where I guess I had wondered. Like I remember thinking I’m glad he felt comfortable enough to say it. And I think that more so said a lot about where I think I’ve come in terms of my views on HIV positive people. I wonder what it would have been like had he spoken to me about this three years ago. Yeah, I realize that I can’t operate in that I’ll be able to identify people by where they party or how they look or who they associate with. And I thought that at one time that would keep me safe, if I met you in the library as opposed to the bar. Somehow the people in the library were a lot more untouched. He was able to disclose and, in all honesty, it didn’t halt the progression of us getting to know one another, if that makes any sense, a little bit. HIV stigma within our community sort of creates that atmosphere where people are afraid to go and get tested, don’t talk openly about status, don’t communicate with their partners and that kind of atmosphere makes an environment that’s more unsafe for me, on a very practical, practical, selfish level. For all intents and purposes I will be okay. Now that’s nothing’s 100 percent, nothing’s perfect and I think that’s something that we need to understand that I think sometimes HIV negative guys, we just don’t get. Being gay and having sex is always going to be a risk for us, it’s just what it is. It’s just, I don’t want to be part of a community that sort of lives and breathes that type of fear and hatred and ostracism of other people, especially considering the fact that we’re a collective of individuals who’ve experienced all of those things, ourselves, already in the mainstream community. It’s in your backyard, it’s in all of our backyards, is gay people in this community and if we stopped looking out for them over there, or those who go there, or the sluts over here, or the druggies over there. It’s your best friend, you know, it’s that cute guy at the table, you know, it’s the guy you fucked yesterday, do you know what I mean, like, it’s there. If I was about to have sex with someone and they told me that they had HIV, I don’t know if a lot would change considering that I already really, really, really am serious about safer sex. I don’t think much would change. I think it would just, you know, if I check the condom three times, maybe I’ll check it an extra two. But those are all the things that I think that we should be doing anyways, right, because you can never really be sure.