Editor's Note: Justin B. Smith is a 28 year old Air Force veteran and gay and AIDS activist from Baltimore, MD. He writes Justin's HIV Journal.
People hook up online for sex all the time, whether it is on websites like Recon, men4now.com or adam4adam.com. Whenever you go to one of these sites they have an option on whether you want to tell people you are HIV positive or negative. Clicking a box for HIV status is optional, not mandatory on many of the sites.
When I was on those websites I would sometimes disclose my status. Some people that I would want to hook up wouldn't even ask .They would just assume that I was negative. When the conversation became more candid I made sure that they knew I was positive. I would say, "Hey are you ok with me being HIV positive." A lot of men got scared and ran away from me. Some blocked or ignored me. I felt shunned. I felt like there was nobody out there that would want me because I was HIV positive.
For all the men out there who shunned an openly HIV positive man, I have something to say about all of this:
The last time you had anonymous sex or an online hook up, did you even think to ask, "Are you HIV positive or negative?" and how do you know they told you the truth? You don't.
When you are hooking up with someone do you even think about it?
When engaging in online hook ups, men rarely ask those questions of other people or rarely ask themselves, "When was the last time I had an HIV test, what is my status".
The gist of it is, if the person is HIV positive what's stopping you from putting on a condom?
I'm not trying to tell any of you what to do I'm just trying to get you to think.
A lot of HIV positive men feel rejected and it's ok. Rejection is a part of life. We all remember that first time when we saw a sexy man that we wanted that didn't necessarily want us.
If you're open about your status and are HIV positive don't feel bad because the man that you want doesn't want you. We all can take a message from President Barack Obama and "move on." There are plenty of men out there that don't care about your status, but will care about you as a human being and not as an object.
So, think about this, if you have sex with someone who doesn't tell you their HIV status and you have sex with someone who is open about their status, what is the difference if you use a condom both times?
Absolutely nothing at all
How do you know he's not lying? And is he you?