Hey Woody!

I’m tired of my friends giving me attitude for being a viralcentric. I’m HIV positive and for the last 10 years I’ve had negative lovers, and I’m tired of it. I don’t want the emotional turmoil of wondering what their next HIV test will show. I don’t want to be pitied, worried about, fretted over, or hear “I hope when we (insert sex act here) that it was safe enough….”

I want a man who has an idea what I’m feeling without getting overly dramatic. I want less anxiety in the bedroom. I want my lover to lean over me after sex and say hungrily, “Excuse me, are you going to eat that?”

So when I’m cruising, I always disclose my status right up front, before anybody starts fantasizing about wedding platters. If the object of my affection is negative, I find a way to gracefully exit the situation. My friends find this mortifying. I don’t see why—negative guys have been rejecting positive men for years.

Every one of us has our preferences. Blondes, tall men, muscles, the right job, the right car, the right ethnic background. I just want the right blood type. Woody, tell my shortsighted friends to lighten up, will ya?

— Gimme poz, please


Dear Gimme:

Sorry, I’m with your friends. Your reaction may be understandable but it’s unacceptable if we’re going to consider ourselves a community that cares for each other.

You’ve poignantly described the aching circumstances of being positive. It’s exhausting to be “on-guard” about your status 24/7.

Some of my poz friends have had guys react so badly to their HIV disclosure they’ve been left in the middle of the street with no way home, breathing in the exhaust fumes of four-wheeled rejections.

So yes, who could blame you for walling yourself off to that kind of cruelty? But I say tear the wall down. The last thing our community needs is another thing that divides us.

We’re already divided between black and white, old and young, male and female, gym buff and cream puff. And now you’re advocating that we be divided by another category: Blood type.

No thanks.

Consider how diminished we all are when we capitulate to the fear within us and the cruelty around us; when we contract in the face of pain; when we make our world smaller and smaller, our choices narrower and narrower, all in response to the fear of hurting or being hurt.

Besides, there’s a difference between preference and prejudice. To say you prefer other poz men is one thing. To flatly dismiss a whole group of people, regardless of their individual worth is the textbook definition of prejudice.

It’s like saying you wouldn’t date Jewish guys no matter how much you liked them because, well, they’re *Jewish.*”

Personally, I think your confident, macho pose of being “viral-centric” is a psychological reaction to the pain you’ve suffered. You’ve decided the best way to defend yourself is to go on the offensive: Reject before being rejected.

If you’re going to hold fast to your position at least be aware you’ve built another misguided fantasy: That poz on poz sex is safe. Whether you sleep with positive or negative men, a compromised immune system makes it much easier to contract other STDs like gonorrhea, and syphilis. Ultimately, you’re in charge of what risks to take, but at least be aware of what they are.