Matthew Hodson, the Chief Executive of GMFA, writes on the continued stigmatisation of HIV-positive people, and argues that avoiding sex or a relationship with someone HIV-positive is actually a bad strategy. Originally published on Pink News, he writes:
I’ve been living with diagnosed HIV for many years. In that time, I’ve had my share of sexual and romantic rejections on the basis of my HIV status. While these don’t make up any of my happiest memories, I’ve tried to take it on the chin. I’ve always been a firm believer that individuals have a right to work out the sexual strategy that is right for them – and that included rejecting people on the basis of their HIV status. But, you know what – I’ve had a change of heart. It’s bullshit.
Firstly, as a safer sex strategy, it just doesn’t work. We’ve known for some years now that someone on treatment is very unlikely to pass on the virus. How unlikely? Well you’re more likely to be infected from sex using a condom with someone who isn’t on treatment than you are to be infected from sex without a condom with someone who is on treatment. So when someone says that they’re going to avoid John because he has HIV (and is on treatment), and then runs off with Jonah, whose status is unknown, they’re taking a far bigger sexual risk.
Then there’s the idea that you ditch the condoms with the one you settle down with – but you don’t want to do this with a poz guy (despite the fact that treatment makes transmission very unlikely). It sounds great in theory but even if you’ve done the responsible thing and tested together, a negative test result just relates to that moment in time. Monogamy is great, don’t get me wrong, but it can fail. The truth is most HIV infection is a result of sex with someone who doesn’t know their status. If you’ve dumped some hot guy because he was responsible, got tested and told you his HIV status, you could be just opening yourself up to some other, far greater risk.
If you’re worried about an HIV-positive partner getting sick or dying, then it’s time for you to realise that it’s now the 21st century. Life expectancy for people with HIV who are diagnosed when their immune system is still robust is expected to be more or less the same as anyone else’s. Some studies even suggest we may live a bit longer than our negative brethren (only because we’re always going for check-ups so any other conditions are likely to be detected earlier).
Or maybe there’s still some lingering sense that people with HIV are unclean or unworthy? Please. It’s a virus, it’s not a moral judgment or a matter of personal hygiene. Sure you can find some guys with HIV who are, shall we say, socially generous, but you’ll find the same in the HIV-negative community. And the same goes for personal hygiene. It’s a pretty poor state of affairs if you think the stigma is going to rub off on you – surely that’s a just call for us all, whether we are HIV-positive or negative to work together to challenge stigma?
I want people to be able to have open and honest discussions about HIV and about what they know or suspect about their own status. I think it’s vital if we’re going to reduce new infections and challenge stigma. A blanket rejection of anyone with HIV means that fewer men feel able to be open and honest and this provides a foundation for ongoing ignorance and fear.
Avoiding sex or a relationship with someone just because they’re living with HIV isn’t a good strategy: it won’t prevent you from becoming HIV-positive, it won’t reduce the number of new infections and it contributes to an unacceptable caste system within our communities. It’s time to say ‘enough’.
You learn everyday
Pls pls pls, I dont agree. At all!
As human beings, we owe our first duty to ourselves, to protect and take care of ourselves. That said, its one thing to discriminate, and another to open urself to possibility of being infected!
Personally, I dont see how refusal to have sex/relationship with a person living with hiv constitutes discrimination. Thats just taking it too far. You can love n respect smone, it doesnt have to result in sex/relationship.
Everyone, whether hiv or not, gets rejected at some point. Its all part of life.
Better an unconscious mistake than taking chances which may result in a mishap that you may not be able to forgive yourself ever…
thus stating that HIV positive people are undeserving of love and sex, just friendship and respect??? . i see no discrimination here…none at all
U are quoting out of context. Of course hiv+ people deserve love. But everyone shld be free to choose whom they love. And theres no one I love better than myself
The way you wave off your prejudice as personal opinion and/or duty-to-self is…well very much bigoted like the homophobes you preach against.
“Personally, I dont see how refusal to have sex/relationship with a person living with HIV constitutes discrimination.”
You were going to have sex with them until they mentioned their status. And if they didn’t say it, you might as well do it like a gorilla in spite of a broken condom.
Like how that landlord was gonna rent out that apartment until he found out the prospective wasn’t Yoruba, Female, Christian, a Banker…etc
Saying you aren’t sexually attracted to fat/muscular people may be understandable because it’s physical.
Mr’s Kendigin, Jamie et al, y’all are discriminating against people. And your arguments are silly as fuck. If the society didn’t stigmatize HIV carriers, we will all be open about our statuses, practice safer sex when needed and will be dealing will lesser incidents (if not none).
In another note, you’re free to be a bigot, just don’t claim it’s the human or humane thing to do.
What is funny about this is that going by the prevalence rate, its a possibility that you have slept with or even dated a positive guy in the past. I mean you did not ask every guy you have been with for a test before you got into bed right? You just used protection? So there is a very high possibility that you have done it in the past anyways.
If i find someone that gets me, that really gets me and he is +ve, I will go ahead with it
Thats like rubbing kerosine on ur hand and testing to see whether it ignites.
Goodluck with that tho…diff strokes I guess!
Kerosene isn’t very flammable, so the odds are that it won’t. Just saying.
I laughed at ‘socially generous’. Monogamy does fail. And that one time mistake can be…detrimental. Frankly, if there is any way condoms can screen and purify sperm so married women can have sex, and have babies without the inherrent infections from men with roving eyes, I’d advocate for those.
The writer shouldn’t blame ppl for their fears n I think.ppl av gone beyond the ‘unclean’ or ‘unworthy’ mentality. Some It may be ‘just a virus’, but until it has a full cure n not just management, its a terrifying virus.
The sooner we learn that Stigma and Discrimination kill HIV+ people much faster than the virus it self the better for us.
Yeah it is risky wanting to date an HIV+ person but let’s face it, with proper care and treatment + proper protection measures, you both can have a wonderful relationship. Only if you both are committed to making it work.
Informative and eye opener write up.
The question should have been, as a HIV+ patient, can you risk dating a negative person? Condoms break… He could be infected, and then it becomes your sort of marriage ring but, what about the other who could be hating you at the moment???
This one hard oooo….I don’t think I can ‘knowingly’ date someone that is HIV+. I have nothing against them, but the fear would just be there. ‘What if the condom bursts’? A lot of ‘what ifs’. I don’t want to be in a relationship where I’d be second guessing everything. I really dont want that. Before I meet anyone, I actually ask some strange questions and if you are not down with it, you know where to find the delete button.
Besides I have not met someone who is HIV+ before. Or I might have met one but don’t know.
The issue of serodiscordance amongst couples is one that’s fraught with fears and many misgivings especially within the LGBTi community.
Finding love(the one that will stay)is like looking for grain of salt inside a bowl of sugar. The ensueing heartbreaks and trauma is not good for the +positive individual….and so you see situations were they lie to unsuspecting shags and the vicious cycle is rebirthed in less than 10mins.
+persons are not demons…….with love, care, understanding, proper management, strigent protective measures from both ends, they are just like you and so make excellent companions and hubbies…….*Question: After picking up that your impromptu shag from whatever Rendezvous on that your HornyDay, did you guys take a detour to go get tested?!
It’s hard enough to date a HIV negative (or presumed HIV negative person), it’ll even be harder to knowingly date a HIV positive person. Call me lazy, but I don’t think I have the time or energy to keep trying to do things properly so I won’t get infected. I can’t be worried each time we wanna make out or try something out in bed. Let’s not forget the virus is still deadly… It can be contained, but it never leaves the body.
I can have a relationship with a HIV positive person, but it’ll be totally platonic. And sex is an integral part of any relationship, so it won’t be much of a relationship.
It has nothing to do with discrimination. Its about self-preservation.
More reasons y pple living with HIV lie N those Thinking they’re “self-preserving” themselves get infected by d minute
Id date someone who’s HIV positive. Who’s to say that I havent dated a HIV+ person before? or had sex with someone who had the virus! Like the writer pointed out- one’s more at risk of getting the virus from someone who isn’t aware of thier status than someone who is aware and is on meds. Its ironic but true! The devil you know, is better than the one you do not, as they say. The deciding factor is Love! And ofcourse as long as they are on their meds.
For those of you fretting over being with someone who has the virus: This is 2015, ignorance isnt bliss. Calm your tits, information is just a click away.
And someone asked me whether Diablo is Chizzie in camouflage. Lol. Ride on, dude. You’re on point.
Lol now you are noticing init? I said that awhile ago. The boy reminds me of Chizzie.
I didn’t notice anything. I said someone asked me.
He is right! It is very likely that we have had sex with poz guys at some point, so what is the biggie bikonu?
The big deal is that, you know.
Thats the difference.
You know what they say about ignorance, it can be bliss sometimes.
Since you don’t know, you don’t care. If you know, you care.
I am with Max on this one. There is a difference between doing something ignorantly and doing it knowingly.
@Diablo where do you want the uncommon kiss, down below or up above?
I like the way you break this down. Insightful. Well said. Front page stuff 🙂
What difference does it make if u get infected knowingly or unknowingly?
Anyway, i wont lie i most likely would not. I would be terrfified. But well done on shedding more light to the issue. Maybe if one meets a hiv positive guy they truly like, this might help in making a decision.
I sure will, not because he is +ve, so long as we connect and the chemistry @ it’s boiling point. I am a preacher of safe sex. I’ve seen a -ve Medical Doctor date a Talented Brand Manager who is +ve. It’s ’bout setting the rules on how to go ’bout it. It’s not all that is +ve that can infect the partner…we all should be careful in all; the way and manner you treat someone on finding out his/her status goes a long way to keep or kill the fellow’s spirit.
Having said my 2 cents, it’s time to go read the post *zooms off*
Depends. It really just depends. There other ways to contact hiv other than sex, or in a dating scenario. I guess i would.
This is a very sensitive issue to discuss as I know a lot of HIV+ peeps would be reading this… So I dont want to ruffle feathers.
I’ll just add a little something, this article by the way is the most insentitive thing I’ve read in recent times. (And trust me Ive read a lot of insensitive things lately). I’m not going to dwell on the ‘Hullu Balu’ of whether I can date an HIV+ person or not. My problem is with the article and the writer. If you are going to be educating people about the pros and cons of dating an HIV+ person there are better ways to go about it than trying to pushing it down my throat that I am being ignorant or discriminatory not wanting to date an HIV+ person. (Don’t try to make me feel guilty loving myself first!) I believe people are within their moral rights to want to engage in a SEXUAL relationship with an HIV+ person or not.. IMO this article leaves me with a sour taste to the mouth. It’s written with such poor taste. It irked me in so many ways this morning.
Ironic. I read this comment and that’s the word that comes to mind. Ironic.
Aswearrigad Pinky! Irony of life
lol…I kinda get what he is trying to say.
After reading the article, I almost didn’t comment because I felt bad. I felt somehow. I really don’t know. I think it boils down to choices and preferences. If there are people here who won’t date someone with a little fat, or someone that is not tall or dark, then what makes you think someone would be down with dating someone that is +ve.
Na wa oooo
I dont get him, as in?
Just like the guy that saw reference to ministry of women affairs the other day as an opportunity to show case that he is a sworn feminist, you chose the way you want to feel about the article. I saw nothing insensitive from the article except from the comments. This post is loaded with a lot of positive things to learn. Why not close your eyes to the very few faults therein (if any)
This is my dilemma now..already had some rejections, buh am hopeful. Funny enuf if only they knew, the prevalence in port harcourt here alone is something else and 50-65% dont even know they are infected.
hi bobby, i cant imagine how difficult this must be. At what point, do you let them know of your status?
Why did u stop your journal? U know it totally defeated the purpose of u starting it in the first place, and ending it that way came as across as u conceding. So many ppl, some with the virus, were rooting for you and I feel u let them down. Pls consider continuing and this time with a more optimistic title.
Alright let’s get this str8t guys ” the writer said people under treatment are unlikely to infect a -ve person cause the ART is used unlikely transmission ! So the chance Los of you getting +ve by having sex with someone +ve is low … Buh it’s very when u have sex with someone that isn’t sure of his statues and probably +ve Buh doesn’t know .. Am not saying we should jump on every person living with the virus !! Buh a lil. Acceptance wouldn’t b bad ! I’ve had a frnd for almost 4yrs whose been in treatment his immune system is great ! His super healthy !! I can’t cause his +ve I begin to run ! Love and care is all that matters!!😘
You should probably write in English next time
Stop that, that was a cheap shot and it is wrong
Lol !! C’ mon u should know that it was some typo error coupled up with auto -correct, so don’t try to be shady ! Aiit ? @ kendigin
Still, people have a right to choose!..
However misguided their actions may be, they still shouldn’t be denied tht choice
Yes, the writer may come across as prescriptive, but remember he is writing it for a “Politically Correct” audience, that have the drugs to manage HIV infections in people.
The writer is not saying we can’t choose who we sleep with based on HIV stats. I think to help make an informed decision, the writer is telling us not to write off a Poz guy, before we have all the facts.
The thing is, most of us can’t help who we fall in love with. We don’t know the circumstances under which the person got infected (unless he is a “bug chaser”) and frankly speaking it could happen to anyone.
But I totally get the “self – preservation” route, but I would be gentle in letting the Poz guy down. 😏
Hmmmm.. Tough one. This is one of those instances where I’d have to experience it to know what my choice would be.
Btw, just cause you might have had sex with a poz while sowing your wild oats doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take caution with someone who you know has the virus. Transmission possibility is low, not zero.
The article kinda left me feeling weird. Sounds like the person was scolding people for refusing to have sex with people they know are poz. But maybe that’s in my head…
“Sounds like the person was scolding people for refusing to have sex with people they know are poz. But maybe that’s in my head…”
James, It is not in your head. That is exactly what he is doing
Typical Nigerian….always shying away from reality. A high %age of Nigerian gay guys are HIV positive anyways and most of them don’t even know they are. And the funny part is 80% or more of Gay guys in Nigeria fuck without Condoms….I’m a very sexually active guy so trust me on what I just said. You need to see how they beg you to cum inside them. *chuckles* If I meet a guy and we fall in love and I get to find out he’s positive, all I need do is to make sure he’s doing his routine medical checks to ascertain his CD4 count and Viral load….make sure he takes his medication as required…and we use protection to have penetrative sex. This will also have to stop as soon as it’s established his viral load is undetectable. We are good to bang RAW ! Na one thing go still kill you one day….be it stray bullet, accidents, or any other illness. So live and enjoy life while you can.
Wow. That’s quite a take on this issue, KingBey
HIV+ doesn’t kill please. AIDS does.
So Gad, you are saying we should merrily go around having unprotected sex and get infected with HIV and then take drugs to prevent it from becoming AIDS…😧.
I haven’t said anything. I merely corrected a wrong assertion
I think Gad’s message is that as men having intercourse with men, we need to be well informed.
Thanks Chris. Its really sad when you hear all manner of myths about HIV from people who ought to know better. The other day a medical practitioner in a discuss boasted that he doesn’t touch HIV+ people suggesting that they are better dead. Sadly that’s the position of many here but none will dare say it going by the trend to always be seen on a popular side. Hypocrisy will only worsen the situation
A medical practitioner?!!! :O WOW!
A Lab Tech repeatedly questioned my reason for wanting to get tested. “It’s unnecessary”, he said.
Now the question is when last did u ‘supposedly negative fellow’ who is sexually active go for a test?
I see people in clinic who we diagnose with HIV incidentally, some of them came to clinic with a complaint of headache but because of the prevalence of this scourge the hospital policy is that HIV screening is a baseline test irrespective of your complaint.
Now when the result comes out positive, some of this patients/clients amidst tears, shock and disbelief are ready to swear on Orunmila’s shrine that the last time they engaged in unprotected sex was a year, 2 or even 5 yes 5 years ago!
My point is some of us are ready to discriminate against someone who has been truthful to you is on meds and is healthy but will rather take a chance with that otherwise ‘healthy’ and robust looking fellow whose status is unknown to you but may be known or unknown to the person.
I reiterate the writer’s views that someone on ARV’s has a very low chance of transmitting the virus as I have seen discordant couples who are sexually active with children.
Bottom line: Get tested, show love, don’t discriminate (yes I said that). Kudos kingbey
I would definitely go ahead with a guy who is HIV + provided it’s what we both want and feel something for each other. Call me stupid but when I’m in love I’m in love and HIV or Ebola or whatever will not stop me
So i’m just gonna say this…..
It’s a good thing that since the inception of this Blog this entry saw peeps coming out en masse to comment on a post that deals with an HIV related issue as is against the norm were comments trickle in like water drops from a spoilt faucet….
Its’ commendable and being an individual who’s at the very core of this discussion i commend your love and enlightened contributions…….
But know this, You owe yourself a duty and responsibility to go get tested and know your status periodically……An HIV/AIDs Free Generation begins with you(yes! You that is reading this comment).
Thank you Panther.
I am for equality and love but the OP was a little bit inflammatory. There were stronger points he could’ve raised — the the-devil-you-know-is-better-than-the-angel-you-don’t-know kind of point.
One big (maybe funny) irony is most of us screaming SELF PRESERVATION do not actually know our HIV status and some not having tested for 3-10years. We simply assume we don’t have it and neither does Leo since he got a nice torso and all.
Mr Keredim, how many of those dudes that you wrote about on your blog did you know of their status?? What of the dude with the thug boyfriend who has babymamas all over the UK, you found out about him?? Let’s be honest please, it’s discrimination.
Self preservation but we still buy bread from those women who carry Agege bread and margarine around in Lagos — they never wash their hands nor their knives.
Self preservation but we DUI, text and drive, often like Desperadoes.
Self preservation and we hardly get tested but will visit the chemist shop down the road and swallow whatever is grabbed off their shelves.
Self preservation and we endure all manner of unhealthy treatment/practice in the name of deliverance/miracle.
Self preservation and we don’t even think it self preserving to go for medical check ups.
Preserving for what exactly, for the day we will die?? I preserve my comment for myself…#SelfPreservation
*Hello Max, I thought you were pro-Love. SMH.
Now this comment of yours is is is……… #Muah!
It hit the points in all the ryt places……and my body is spasming from this articulate and concise intellectual Orgasm.
MeRaise Nyansh for you @Jeova
My last bf was HIV+ and the relationship was a blast!
Contact me personally for more tori…