Who Do You Tell?

March 15, 2012 in General

Gay men fuck differently.

We do.

No matter how many prissy or self-hating homos there are who don’t like to talk about it, as a total group, gay men have much more sex, and many more sexual partners, than straight people. It’s a fairly clear and simple fact, and it has no moral value whatsoever. If you like to fuck with strangers 10 times in a week, that’s cool, and if you have only ever had sex with your partner in the last 10 years, that’s equally cool.

But overall, even gay men in loving long-term relationships have more sex than straight guys. Whether you’re 20 or 50, this is the case. And we typically don’t place the same value on sex as straights do. It’s just a bit of fun with someone who’s sexy and up for it.

That’s a pretty hard fact to get across to straights though.

And I think it’s even harder for straight women to get than straight guys. For a woman, sex has the possibility of creating a new life as well as the joys of the physical side of making love.

I’ve been thinking about this since the ruling that came out this week, that by not disclosing his HIV status to his female partner, a straight HIV+ guy had removed her informed consent, and had effectively violated her sexually – even though she did not acquire HIV from the sex.

And now the Dominion-Post in Wellington has come out with an editorial saying those of who have HIV simply have to disclose each and every time.

An an HIV+ gay man, I think I understand where they’re coming from, but I totally disagree.

For one thing, it takes two to tango, and if you want to fuck around in the floating world of gay male sex, you need to take responsibility for your own well-being and health. So it’s up to each and everyone of us to set the boundaries, and to insist on safe-sex if you want to stay HIV negative.

A lot of gay sex happens in fuck-clubs or through online hookups – conversation is often not a key part to these encounters. If you’re getting all hot and horny with a guy in a fuck-club, there’s often not that much chat. The same goes with online hookups. And if you both make sure you’re using rubbers and having safe sex, in fact you don’t need to discuss it all – using rubbers and lube correctly works.

In fact most HIV+ guys are highly aware and careful to make sure they do nothing to infect their sexual partners. You are far more likely to get HIV from a guy who doesn’t know he is carrying it than from someone who is positive and taking their medication. With so many HIV+ guys around who don’t know they have it, how can you reasonably rely on disclosure to keep anyone HIV Negative?

So disclosure doesn’t actually protect anyone, it has no practical health benefit – it just stigmatises HIV+ people even more. And we don’t need that.

If it really bugs you that much, you could simply ask – I can’t see the point of lying, I’m not ashamed of being HIV+, it’s just a virus in my blood. But a lot of guys have suffered terrible discrimination, and that is not ok – I totally understand why they don’t want to disclose – and there is no need to.

Will you tell me if you have Hep C? Syphilis? What if I go to bed with you because I think you’re a millionaire, and you turn out to be on the dole – have you taken my informed consent away by lying to me?

It’s still not clear what the legal implications of this ruling will be. At the moment, the law has said as long as an HIV+ person takes all reasonable precautions, we do not have to disclose. It’s only having unsafe sex, putting a sexual partner at risk of catching the virus, that is seen as criminal. This new ruling might change that – let’s see.

But the mainstream reaction, as seen in that editorial, will be based in how straights think about sex and fucking, not how our culture practices it, and that could be very bad for us indeed.

And remember – every guy who is HIV positive today was once HIV negative – and with very few exceptions that is because they chose not to have safe sex. If you want to stay HIV negative, you know what to do – and it doesn’t involve blaming those of us who have the virus.

 

Who Do You Tell?

30 Comments

    1. j says:

      i think they should say there is a guy of nzdating that demands bare back sex (i dont) but does tell and goes around saying u cant catch it
      and yet you cant report the guy as the authorities arnt interested

    2. Quizzical says:

      I really can’t agree with you this week. To use the analogy of the millionaire and the dole really doesn’t even come close to being put in the position of contracting HIV.
      So running with your train of thought, it was fine for Jimmy Jones with the kool aid, they had the choice not to drink it?
      Odd at best.
      What are your thoughts on Glenn Mills?

      • Mills was totally different – he maliciously and deliberately set out to infect people, and lied about his HIV status, and also either took off or ripped condoms as he was fucking men who thought they were being safe.

        This case is not like that. This woman wasn’t even infected. The straight man involved has not infected anyone that we know of.

        The key point – if you want to avoid HIV, practice safe sex.

        • shawn says:

          I think it is more accurate to say that Mills was charged with a number of offenses (include wounding or attempted wounding with reckless disregard, infecting with a disease and attempting to infect with a disease).

          It never went to trial; the prosecution and defence cases were never presented; and as we know; being charged with a crime and being committed for trial does not equate to guilt.

          Because it never reached it’s judicial conclusion we will never be in a position to weigh up all sides of the story.

          A possible lesson from these tragic events is that we should maybe be mindful of our public commentaries during proceedings [it's recently been noted that the high level of media and community interest added to his anxieties].

          I wonder if there hadn’t been so much vilification at the time whether we would have uncovered more of the truth during a trial .. so we could all be a little bit wiser

    3. Dan says:

      Micahel, This is an interesting blog. But You wouldn’t be saying this if you weren’t HIV positive. That’s a fact.
      The dole comparison is completely misguided. HIV affects your health, in the long run anyway, lack of funds doesn’t.

      • Tuffgirlie says:

        Dan…I am not HIV+ and I agree with Michael……that’s a fact….your opinion on whether Michael would express the same view if he was HIV- is just that…opinion….which you are entitled to, of course

    4. K-Boy says:

      I certainly see both sides as valid, but I feel the court ruling was wrong, like Michael said, she did not get HIV because he practiced safe sex!
      However, being someone who is HIV negative I would prefer to be informed of my sexual partners status, especially now after having had an encounter with someone last year (safe sex of course) but contracted an STI anyway >:/ (first and only one so far, yay how fluids just get on anything) but alcohol was involved so things could have been more careful.
      Like you said, we have the right to ask our partners status and the right to say no.

      Its a tough one really.

    5. cp says:

      Well meds maybe effective is assisting the lower level of virus. But its is still present. An individuals actions have consequences sometimes they are far reaching and affect others. If you are risking HIV + I feel you should have to disclose it to your partners. What are the chances of meeting a HIV + person and having sex with them out of the whole pool of gay men? Could be considered small? But you dont want to risk it and so you be safe. consdier this then.

      Assume a top is HIV+ and bottom is HIV-, What if the condom breaks? What would be the normal reaction of the HIV- person be? Would a HIV- person want to be put thru all the testing etc? would a HIV+ want to put someone thru that? What does it mean then if they do turn out to be positive?

      No matter what you do there is a chance still present, and a HIV + does not have that right over the other person. I feel that is whats make disclosure important?

    6. anon says:

      As a HIV+ guy who has been positive for over 10 years I have had a few sexual encounters since being positive. Each and every time I have decided not to disclose my HIV status for the following reasons.

      Each and every time I have used a condom and water based lube.
      I take my ART medication at the correct time without missing a dose.
      I have regular 6 monthly blood tests to check my CD4, and viral load ( the amount of virus in the blood) which has been and continued to be undetectable.
      My specialist is nowadays (with my permission) checking for STI’s. I have not had any since becoming positive.

      I therefore believe I am taking all precautions necessary to prevent the transmission of HIV to my sexual partners.

      I feel comfortable not disclosing my HIV status as the Stigma I see around this subject is very rife to the point that if i was to disclose most people would run a mile.

      It would be interesting to conduct a survey to see the Gay, BI populations view point on this subject… Maybe GAYNZ could do one one this website.

      • Thank you for saying that, and yes.

      • cp says:

        So you are saying if the condom broke there is no chance of the person your having sex with won’t get hiv? Why do you think you have the to right not disclose the person might suffer this terrible virus. I suppose this is a part of the virus you must deal with the possibility of never having sex with someone. But the thing is you will find someone who understand the risk until then dont take someone rights to know the risk away.

        • anon says:

          Hi CP
          I presume then you would agree with my assumption that people would say no to protected sex with a HIV+ person. Yes everyone has the right I presume to make a decision around safe sex or not. I leave this thought with you, What about the people that are positive to HIV or even another STI and dont know they are positive because they refuse to get tested? Are they negligible by not taking a test to find out there status? Safe sex regardless of what a person has is the way to go.. By the way I have never had a condom break…

          • cp says:

            People who don’t get tested are negligent. But safe sex should include disclosing current known infections. Would you want to unkownly eat food that has been dropped on the restaurant kitchen floor, chances are its a clean floor and you won’t get sick. Do see what im trying to say?. Just cause chances are very small don’t mean they don’t exists. its a huge risk to infect someone should the condom break. They sometimes do you know.

            • anon says:

              Hi CP Every day we take risks as individuals. we walk along the street. etc etc… Can I check with you if you ask each and every person if they are HIV Positive before engaging in sex? Do you take it even further and ask if they have other STI’s, Do you also ask them if they have asked their previous sexual partners each and every time if they have had any STI?

    7. Andy says:

      ‘Mills was totally different – he maliciously and deliberately set out to infect people, and lied about his HIV status, and also either took off or ripped condoms as he was fucking men who thought they were being safe.’

      Firstly, Michael, shut the fuck up. How fucking dare you assume you are an expert on Glenn and what happened in that whole tragic and hideous situation – you have no fucking right to pass judgment and you need to get off your high-horse. You might have had an unfortunate personal connection to one case but that doesn’t make you a fucking expert, so shut your face.

      ‘For one thing, it takes two to tango, and if you want to fuck around in the floating world of gay male sex, you need to take responsibility for your own well-being and health. So it’s up to each and everyone of us to set the boundaries, and to insist on safe-sex if you want to stay HIV negative.’

      The above comment actually makes me laugh. What a fucking contradiction compared to all the shit you’ve spurted in the past.

      You make me sick.

      Your comment about the millionaire is actually pathetic, mainly because that example actually CAN constitute rape! The following excerpts from the Crimes Act: ‘A person does not consent to sexual activity with another person if he or she allows the sexual activity because he or she is mistaken about who the other person is.
      A person does not consent to an act of sexual activity if he or she allows the act because he or she is mistaken about its nature and quality.’

      That is all.

      Worst,
      Andy.

    8. j says:

      jesus andy settle petal you are missing the point what Michael is trying to say ,also about glen mills he never said he was a expert ,glen was a sexual predator pure and simple who was good at manipulating for his own needs .
      this blog i agree 4 once

      • Andy says:

        Do you understand the justice process in NZ? Do you know that being charged with something does not equal guilt? I know for a fact that at least four of those who were laying charges against Glenn were/are bareback bottoms. I’ve also heard that Michael Stevens seeks bareback sex with other positive men, so I might as well assume, using Michael’s Women’s Weekly logic, that he also seeks the same with consenting negative men. Of course that would be pretty unfair of me, but Michael thinks it’s fair to profess what Glenn did based on what he’s HEARD from people involved.

        • I don’t understand your bizarre attempts to impugn my character Andy. I believe I have publicly said in a blog that I have no problem having sex with or without condoms with other poz guys. It’s a fairly unexceptional practice within our community.

          I reject and deny your assumption that I might seek out unprotected sex with HIV negative men. This is a sad and childish insult for you to make, and a cowardly insinuation, but I will let your comment stand so people have a full picture of how your mind works.

          I understand the loyalty you maintain for your friend Glenn Mills but we will never agree on the facts of this case.

          • Andy says:

            My point is quite simple, Michael. I’ve calmed down a bit now, so stay with me while I explain in two, easy parts.

            PART ONE: GUILT.
            You make the following damning claim, based on limited information and conjecture: “Mills was totally different – he maliciously and deliberately set out to infect people, and lied about his HIV status, and also either took off or ripped condoms as he was fucking men who thought they were being safe.”

            The above claim, while slightly mitigated by being posted inside a comment piece, insists guilt based on conjecture. You know one of the men that was infected well, and have probably chatted with a few others. But in order to judge someone guilty in our democracy, a judge and jury need to hear ALL of the evidence, they need to thoroughly understand parts of the case no one else could ever possibly know or understand with their limited information. YOU DO NOT KNOW ALL OF THE INFORMATION, THEREFORE IT IS HIGHLY NEGLIGENT OF YOU TO PROFESS GUILT.

            PART TWO: “IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO”
            You say the following in your above opinion piece: “For one thing, it takes two to tango, and if you want to fuck around in the floating world of gay male sex, you need to take responsibility for your own well-being and health. So it’s up to each and everyone of us to set the boundaries, and to insist on safe-sex if you want to stay HIV negative.”

            I completely agree with you on the above sentiment, however it rings as extremely contradictory coming from you, based on your past insinuations about Glenn.

            You paint him as a master manipulator; someone who perhaps uses a hypnotic swing or voodoo chants to entice gay men into having bareback sex. You suggest that the above “two to tango” comment was somehow void when it came Glenn. Why is that?

            Granted, he withheld his HIV status which was a really shitty thing to do. But gay men in New Zealand know that they are put at explicit risk of HIV and other STIs when they have anal sex without a condom. They weigh this up in whatever way they see fit and VERY REGULARLY decide to have unsafe sex.

            Further, you suggest that Glenn initially used condoms and then either ripped them off or took them off – this simply isn’t true (and you know that). Majority of the cases were men who AGREED to have unsafe sex – in my opinion they AGREED to the risk and took responsibility for this. As I mentioned earlier, at least four or five of the men (that I know of, and it could easily be more) who were taking part in the case against Glenn were men who REGULARLY chose to have bareback sex with multiple partners.

            The dude who says Glenn gave him HIV on a gay cruise was a rampant bareback bottom who used to put his ass against glory holes to receive ‘loads’. This would have come out in the case and I’m peeved that it didn’t.

            IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO – IF YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE UNSAFE SEX WITH SOMEONE AND YOU ARE A CONSENTING ADULT, YOU TAKE THE RISK AT YOUR OWN PERIL.

            Basically, Michael, I’d like it if you could stop suggesting Glenn was guilty of ‘crimes’ that he was never convicted of, and never got to defend.

            I’d also love it if you’d stop speaking of Glenn – with the faux legitimacy you have pulled over yourself by commenting continuously on the case in the media – as if you’re some kind of expert in the case. You’re not, and your suggestion as such misleads a lot of people.

            • Andy says:

              And in regards to my comment about you seeking bareback sex with negative men, let me explain since you seem to have missed what I find a very obvious and articulate point.

              You have literally played ‘join the dots’ when it comes to Glenn. You’ve insinuated that he’s guilty based on very limited information and conjecture.

              Using your logic, and armed with the information that you seek bareback sex with other HIV+ men, I might as well assume you’re willing to do the same with HIV- men who consent. Of course I don’t believe you ACTUALLY would ever do that, and that’s obvious in my comment. It was simply an illustration to highlight your flawed logic at assuming Glenn did X, Y and Z based on speaking with D and being related to F.

          • Andy says:

            Sorry, one more point. Please don’t try and mitigate my thoughts on this situation based on the fact that Glenn is a friend.

            We both know you have a connection that makes you even more biased, but I sincerely respect that person’s privacy through this whole mess. If only you were so ethical, Michael.

    9. Josh says:

      First of all; face facts.
      If you use condoms ALWAYS, and it happens to break, then more chance of catching HIV from someone who has the virus and does not know – than from someone who IS aware of their status and is taking ART to manage their viral load. The proof is in testing;
      1) Individuals NOT on ART treatment have a higher viral load, AND have HIGHER viral loads post recent infection.
      2) Individuals who ARE on ART have low, very low, or undetectable viral loads.
      I personally have no problem with disclosure and primarily im bottom, so ‘technically’ am more at risk – however I feel that is up to the individual whether they are comfortable with me to disclose… ie: if the it could be going to relationship stage.
      The only thing you ACTUALLY can do if you want to know is ASK. If you think that HE is the one that needs to have the balls to own up about being positive then I reckon you need to realise that sex is a two-way street and that YOU should also have the balls to be able to ask the question in reverse so you can realise how hard of a topic it really is to approach.
      Thanks Michael for posting this blog. I have always supported that ones sero-status is definitely an intimate piece of information that should be and remain protected by privacy, and not be required to be disclosed.

      Play safe boys.

    10. K-Boy says:

      Something I learned recently about viral loads from NZAF.

      Levels in the blood do not necessarily indicate the same amount in other bodily fluids ie: intestinal mucus. There have been cases where the persons semen had much higher concentration of the virus than what their blood levels indicated.

      So that’s something to be aware of. Ultimately, I too would be more worried about someone who is not aware of their status than someone who knows, practices safe sex to the best of their abilities and doesn’t disclose.

      • anon says:

        thanks K – Boy really nice and reassuring to hear the last part of your comment.

        • cp says:

          for some reason there is no reply button to your previous comment. odd?

          Anyways to answer your questions, Yes i did ask my partners when they last got STI tests prior to engaging in sexual activities and then I made my mind up then if i continued on whether i could trust there answer.

          I do have to LOL at your above comment, not wanting to comment on the first part of K-Boy comment? Is that because that if semen may have higher levels and if the condom breaks whoops your partner contracted the virus of someone who knowingly had it…

          End of the day your taking someones right to choose the level of risk they take away from them by not disclosing which is grossly negligent on your part.

          • anon says:

            Hi CP… It is not negligent… I am taking the precautions by always wearing a condom and using water based lube. My viral load continues to be undetectable. No one has ever asked me if I have HIV or any other STI.. If they did I would be honest. Again I cannot accept your logic around you asking if your sexual partners have a STI. I am sure all your sexual partners have not asked their previous partners if they have any STI’s so please be aware that you are sleeping with all of them and with your logic are putting yourself at risk. perhaps you should abstain from sex?

            • cp says:

              So I understand what your saying, it is not negligent to fully disclose known risk. I supose you would agree with the finance company managers (who by the ay are before the courts) who ripped off poor mum and dad investors by not fully disclosing the risks they were taking. Awesome

              I dont know how hard it is to belive that before sex I ask my partners if they have had an STI test recently? cause its me being viglilant and looking after myself.

              Before you say I should abstain from sex, maybe take you should really think about what choices you are robbing someone of. What I do and ask someone before sex allows me to make fully informed decisions, something your clearly dont think everyone has a right too.

            • anon says:

              Hi CP… I Guess we both have to agree to disagree… your entitled to your opinion and I’m entitled to mine. all the best to you mate.

    11. Hamo says:

      I totally agree with yr second to last paragraph. (and poorly paraphrased it in the forum :)

      That point makes me think that’s where the common ground for fighting HIV is for positive and negative guys. Because its essentially about fucking, and and legal approach to that is a concern for all of us

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