I won’t have bareback sex with you, so quit asking.

And no, it’s not just about you.

Misconceptions are interesting, once you notice them. The hardest part, however, is to do so.

Spamming for bareback sex

No, really, no no.

Here is (a common?) one. That HIV-positive people have done something “wrong” to become HIV positive. And, maybe, that once they become HIV-positive, said behaviour does not end, therefore continuing to pass on the virus.

Of course, this is erroneous simply for the fact that there are several ways to become infected in the first place. For most people, they were simply doing something that millions of people do everyday: having sex. Not even necessarily risky sex. I was candidly asked the other day how I became positive. Explaining a combination of condom slippage and not being told the truth (knowingly or not) almost surprised my interlocutor. What, you can get HIV other ways than barebacking strangers in a sauna?

Yes, yes you can. But that’s for another post, I feel.

The second misconception is far worse. It suggests that once someone is HIV positive, they become the problem; they are the problem; we are the problem.

So, yes, some HIV positive people will have unprotected sex with (allegedly) negative people. People should ask the question and, assuming their partner won’t knowingly lie, it’s everyone’s responsibility to remain healthy. If someone gets HIV because they didn’t know/care enough to ask, or because condoms are not 100% safe, then I don’t believe the HIV-positive partner is to be blamed.

That’s when another type of practice comes into the picture: bugchasing. Opening my Twitter yesterday, I was surprised to see the request pictured above. Fair enough, it felt like a fake request, a scam. It probably was. I may never know for sure. They’re out there, bug chasers: (allegedly) negative people asking to have unprotected sex with HIV positive people. I won’t even pretend to go into the psychological or emotional reasons why someone would play such Russian sex roulette. Are they already infected and don’t care? Do they want to be infected so that they don’t have to care anymore? Is it for the thrill? Is it something else? Not the place to comment.

But they work on one assumption: that a HIV positive partner will be willing to have unprotected sex with them.

Back to misconception N°2: why would *I* put someone, anyone, at risk? Do I really want to put someone else through what we’re going through?: the shock of finding out, dealing with disclosure, the rejection(s), the on-going medical attention and regular blood tests, the stigma… Oh, I may be caustic sometimes, but I’m not that wicked.

But, selfishly speaking, why would I put *myself* at risk?! Enter misconception n°3: ‘you’re HIV positive, it doesn’t get any worse, must be quite a relief”.

When a date got tested recently and was worrying about the results, I told him he would be alright. His answer was one you rarely hear: “I’m not worried for me. I’m worried for you. If I have something, I don’t want you to get it, it would be worse for you.”

The implication was that my immune system being weakened, small infections can turn into big issues. Damn right.

Why other people fail to see this is strange. But then again, I wasn’t seeing this before I became positive myself.

So, no, HIV positive people are not scum of the Earth who will have sex no matter what with whoever is willing to (well, some might, but if they’re consenting adults and know what they’re doing, good for them…)

Getting infected by another STDs, or a different strand of the HIVirus IS a risk. One I’m not willing to take. One I don’t think many people are willing to take.

This is not a war, and HIV positive people surely aren’t the enemy. My survival instinct is still kicking; HIV did not kill it. As such, I will do anything I can to be healthy, and that involves my partner being healthy too. It’s those who refuse to acknowledge their status or the risks they have taken who endanger others.

When I have safer sex with a partner, I do it to protect him.

And I do it to protect me.

There is no contradiction here, merely a misconception. One that I wish more people would notice.

One thought on “I won’t have bareback sex with you, so quit asking.

  1. Andrés
    February 26, 2015 at 5:22 am

    Awesome!

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