An Honest, Open Reaction to Learning That My Partner was HIV+

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7 Responses

  1. Presty says:

    Wanna hear the flip side? Twenty some years back, I had just taken up residence in LA, after a tragically messy marriage and heartbreaking divorce from a woman I once loved. Short version, I was no longer a closet case, and freedom enthralled me, like a drug I had never tried. I played it safe with any sex partner, probably overly so. Brought the sero-status issue up, usually on the way from the bar to the car. And trusted all responses, after all, who would lie about such a critical matter. Within weeks, I met a charming, very appealing, age appropriate man. Job, car, apt, check check check. I told him my status, he averted his eyes, and confirmed his negative status. Why I doubted him, I can’t say. I tried to trust. We dated, confirmed our mutual interest in the holy grail of monogamy. But kept the sex sane. 7 weeks into it, on my birthday of all days, he jumped out of bed impossibly early, and said he wanted to hit the mall before the crowds. To pick out my gift. I was encouraged to lay around in his bed, get up at my will, and we would touch base soon. The front door had just clicked when his phone rang. It went to voice mail, and the caller id’d herself as Nurse so and so form Dr whozit’s office. Just confirming this morning’s arrival, less than an hour later. I knew I was in no danger, except emotionally. When I confronted him that day, he responded as cool as a breeze… If I would have been up front with you day one, you would have kicked me to the curb.

    How he knew that about me, a virtual stranger, burned. I had and have been in casual and one long term relationship with a poz man since, and certainly one nighters.

    And I had feelings now, for this man. But the lying, so blatant, ended it. Me, I would have tried, kept the dialogue open. But he, after being caught, shut me right out.

    Nice, eh?

  2. Bob in Chicago says:

    I am a little amused with this essay and at the same time very angry. I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate you concern. I appreciate you taking time to write about your feelings. But right now I can barely breathe. My heart is thumping. I won’t go into a rant but insteadI want to give you two pieces of advice.

    1. Do your friend a favor. Dump his ass. He will be better off and so will you.

    2. You are in a safer relationship with an undetectable HIV+ man then you will ever be with a negative man in a monogamous relationship. I cannot tell you how many people I have met that got infected with an “monogamous negative” bf that was cheating and having unsafe sex.

    Bottomline? NEVER EVER EVER EVER have unsafe sex. Even with a loving monogamous negative boyfriend. (And I am sure that is what you really want).

    You are lucky to have found love but I am not sure I can say the same thing about your boyfriend.

    Sorry for the harsh response. You were thoughtful and apologetic but you are still immature and not worthy of this great guy. He is the one living with HIV. Not you. With today’s medications he is likely to live til a ripe old age. I hope you are as lucky. If you stay together he may very well attend your funeral.

    • Peter Thomas says:

      Bob,
      Let me me clarify right now: I do not wish to enter into an argument with you, but I must respond to your comments which are unfounded and inaccurate.
      While it is clear you wrote your message in anger, I am little confused as to why. I can only assume from the comments that you wrote that you did not fully read my article.
      Thank you for the advice, but
      1. The relationship is already over, as noted quite clearly in the article. This was nothing to do with his status, but even still, thanks for the support.
      2. I stated quite clearly in my article that I knew that him being undetectable meant that his status was therefore irrelevant.
      While I completely understand (and actually tend to agree with) the point you were making in stating that that you are “safer” in this relationship, it is a wild generalisation. I am also fully aware that many “monogamous negative” relationships can be dangerous – I have my own personal experience of this, but do not wish to disclose the details.
      I never once suggested I wanted to have unprotected sex, in fact I advocated the opposite.

      Next time you comment on someone’s personal and honest account of a sensitive subject matter, perhaps you should be sure to read the article fully. I thought long and hard about whether to post this, but friends of mine encouraged me to in the hope that it may help others. The content is unedited, but that is explained at the beginning.
      You have assumed that my EX boyfriend (rather than current, as you continually call him) is a great guy, despite knowing nothing about him other than his HIV status. This speaks volumes of your bias.
      Just because I dared to share the thoughts and emotions that I went through when I first learnt, you have to shoot me down because it is not as serious as what others have been through? I am not so naive as to assume that my plight even pales in comparison to what my ex boyfriend has dealt with, but the point of the article was to help those in sero-discordant relationships and to understand the lesser voiced reaction. You have proven the need for such an article.

      • Bob in Chicago says:

        Frankly I found your ramblings a bit difficult to follow. It may be cultural. That said my opinion is just as valuable as yours. Just because you are published in a blog it does not make you right. Your HIV bigotry was more what I was responding to rather than the details of whether you are still with the guy you were writing about. Your response was full of many contradictions to your original post. It doesn’t matter that you stated “clearly in my article that I knew that him being undetectable meant that his status was therefore irrelevant”. As odd as that directly lifted quote is, it did matter to the point of your essay. Your response to his admitting he had HIV was the whole point of your essay. You went to great length explaining that you were unsure of whether you should even write the article. I could go on and on but just don’t care what you think. I think you are young and immature and need to be careful addressing a subject that you have not had over 30 years of personal experience dealing with. Your article offended me and all the people in the world telling you you are wonderful and sensitive will not change how your posted came across to me. I am entitled to my opinion. I am not interested in pursuing this further. Good luck. Good bye. Your intent was good but poorly conveyed. Stay safe, play safe and be careful writing about things that may offend people with HIV. And yes, your article offended me and there may be a need for an article like the one you wrote but it did not deliver.

        • Peter Thomas says:

          I did not state your opinion was invalid, I said your statements were inaccurate and suggested that you hadn’t even actually read the article properly. You made big assumptions, and you filled in all the gaps about me and my ex-boyfriend based on very little facts. I certainly never said your opinion was less valuable than mine simply because I write on a blog. Again, you have put words into my mouth. On the contrary, you have told me that you don’t care what I think.
          I would like to remind what this article actually was: a[n unedited] initial reaction. I prefaced the content with an explanation about how this was an account of the thoughts that went through my mind the day I found out. This is how I reacted to the shock; it is certainly not how I feel now. Forgive me for not having the perfect immediate reaction – but the point of sharing this article was to illuminate the initial reactions that ONE person went through. One person who learnt a lot along the way and who quickly overcame his initials fears (as I explained in the article). I laid out my experience and admitted my errors and flaws and how I have learnt from them. I am sorry that my immediate reaction offended you – I am not entirely proud of all the thoughts that went through my head that day, but I was trying to process everything and act in the best way possible. I may be young, and relatively inexperienced, but I have never once claimed to know it all, and was careful to state that I was not preaching. This was never meant to be a post of someone with 30 years experience of living with HIV. It was simply exactly what it said it was.

  3. Chaz says:

    Thanks for posting. As ever my brain went off on a totally different tangent after reading this. I began to wonder about traveling with HIV/AIDS meds and if there is a resource to check which countries allow you in and with what particular meds?

What do you think?