Dating someone who is HIV positive isn't the death sentence it once was. But there are still complications - emotional and physical - that could cause one to take pause.
While this blog is about my dating life, HIV is always in the back in my mind when it comes to dating. Anyone can have the virus and in today's world, most men are upfront about it and there's the PrEP drug that lessens the chance of getting the disease.
The millennial generation freely go about their day, taking PrEP and having condomless sex with their partners - HIV+ or not. While PrEP does reduce the risk of becoming HIV+, it's not 100% reliable and doesn't stop other sexually transmitted diseases.
Further, PrEP with a condom may be a great solution to enjoying sex with someone who is HIV+, but at what other toll to your body?
Millennials are younger and they aren't at the same level of risk as someone like me of getting some of the side effects. As a man in his 50s who is already on other drugs for other aliments associated with being an overweight aging man, PrEP kind of scares me.
According to a study by Mark Mascolini of the Center for AIDS Information & Advocacy, when you throw in hypertension and diabetes on an older person (over 50), the risks of effecting your organs increase.
So what does all of this have to do with a mostly lighthearted blog about my dating life? A lot!
I am an HIV- man and want to stay this way. I've always practiced safe sex - except one time - and I am proud of the will power I have to sometimes just say no, especially when it's during a spontaneous sexual moment. I remember I was once told "A stiff cock has no conscious" and I really find truth in that. When a man's erect, it's often very hard (no pun) to stop the act because we have a strong need to cum. When the head below is in control, it often takes over making all decisions.
But back to dating, I've encountered some HIV+ men and I tread softly when dating. While I haven't had any that have gone too far (emotionally), I wonder if I pull back too early, perhaps letting a good guy get away. But always on my mind is I need to keep myself health. Yet, I harm myself in other ways with bad food choices and lack of exercise - so why do I let sickness from POSSIBLE HIV stop me from dating an infected person?
Maybe it's partly from the era I grow up in. I was there when the first case of HIV came about - then called the gay cancer. I would see in life and on film (primarily) men dying shortly after getting the diagnosis - and often in a hospital where the staff didn't care or was afraid to treat them.
These early days were scary. I lost friends to AIDS and some of them had not only to fight the disease, but to be ridiculed or shunned in public as onlookers gazed at their purple spotted faces.
Then, my normal refuge was the movies but you couldn't escape AIDS at the movies in those days with "Longtime Companion" and "Parting Glances" at the multiplex.
While the stigma still haunts me - and I'm not even one infected - I do get mad at myself when I shy away from dating someone who is HIV+. I try to instill in my head that it's a preference that I don't date someone who is HIV+ like a choice of top vs. bottom, tall vs. short, hairy vs. smooth - but is it really?
I do know that I've been smitten by someone who is HIV+. But I hold back. It's a shame on my part. He's very handsome and is a creative artist. He's also put together professionally with being a business and home owner. So does this make me stupid? Prejudice? Ignorant? Afraid? All of the above?
While I think it's a preference to prefer someone HIV- and there are plenty of HIV+ people to date others who are positive, I might be doing myself an injustice for not taking a chance on someone who might have that something special.
But writing this has made me think and realize I should make an effort to date the special person. Maybe it will turn out that we're not even compatible and I am worried for no reason.
But what about the next one? Please, feel free to chime in.
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