By Tyler Curry June 10 4: As we get older, the image of the man we see standing beside us at the altar starts to take shape. We curb dating wildly inappropriate people and become more discerning when choosing our Friday night dinner guests.
With every potential love comes a series of risks. As the years start to tick by, every bet we make on love seems to be a little more weighted. What if his mother is horrible? Or… What if he rejects me for my HIV-positive status? Learning which risks are unavoidable and which are optional is something crucial for us to do when swimming in the dating pool. Protection from possible disease, including HIV, should be on the mind of every single gay man.
However, the risk of dating someone who is HIV-positive is severely misunderstood. You may think that dating an HIV-positive man increases your risk of infection. In fact, it likely does the opposite.
If your prospective mate has the gumption to disclose his positive status before the first round of cocktails, you can be certain that he has taken steps to protect your negative status. In fact, the positive man must protect himself even more, to safeguard his health from pesky ancillary viruses.
For him, that means avoiding those question marks at all costs. For you, well…an HIV-positive man who is in treatment and is determined by his physician to have an undetectable viral load has reduced your risk to the smallest statistical possibility. Of course, condom use should be nonnegotiable in any dating scenario. But a man who is up front with his status should put you at ease. After all, he showed you his cards.
So who is the risky bet? So often you will hear a gay man prematurely divulge his negative HIV status as soon as one of his friends brings up the topic. Truth is, if he has had even one sexual encounter since his last test, he is a question mark. We would also like to believe that we are smarter or better protected than those who bear the plus sign. But the persuasion of romance, compounded by several months of exclusivity, can sometimes get the best of us.
I was suckered into a bad gamble by sweet talk and pretty brown eyes once before. Now I approach every pair of pretty eyes with my truth, because the gamble of transmitting this stigma is far worse than any pill the doctor may prescribe. So if you need to, take some time with Carrie Bradshaw and the girls and collect yourself. Dating is exciting, and anything exciting involves risk. Follow him on Twitter iamtylercurry.