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Saturday 11 April 2015

On "Love, Trust, Marriage & HIV"

Posted in: Safe Sex, Features
By Nick Laing - 6th March 2013

Letter to the editor of GayNZ

RE: GayNZ Blog ‘Love, Trust, Marriage and HIV’

Dear Editor,

I read Michael Stevens’ blog “Love, Trust Marriage and HIV” with interest. He poses some challenging questions and with marriage equality hopefully just around the corner, love, trust and HIV are timely topics. But I disagree with many of his conclusions and I think some vital facts are not mentioned.

To suggest that promoting condoms in marriage “carries a sub-text that gay men can never truly love each other, because without trust, there is no love” is ignoring a key set of facts – anal sex is 18 times more biologically risky for contracting HIV than vaginal sex. Gay men have far more anal sex than heterosexuals so we are at hugely greater risk.

Absolutely gay men can love and commit to their husbands. But it is naïve to think that any kind of relationship comes with a guarantee that the couple will stay fully faithful. Sex outside the relationship can happen either by agreement or accident. Another interesting point to consider is that people are creatures of habit. There is plenty of evidence to say that people get used to either using or not using condoms. We know that if a person does not use condoms in a relationship they are less likely to use condoms outside the relationship.

It can be said that condoms in a relationship actually add to trust and commitment; a relationship is a negotiation of lives based on the bond of love. In the face of an on-going HIV epidemic for gay men, negotiating the inclusion of condoms shows a level of commitment and responsibility that a couple can have towards each other.

There is no oppression of gay men in the biological facts of HIV risk in anal sex – there are only the facts. There is no homophobia in the use of condoms – it’s simply the most effective way to keep you, your partner and the community safe from HIV.

Nick Laing
General Manager Operations NZAF welcomes letters and opinion pieces on issues you are passionate about, just email

Nick Laing - 6th March 2013

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