Hookups & HIV risk - how do you weigh it? Do you?

  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Oct 18, 2008 4:24 AM GMT
    I met a guy online recently who I like a whole lot and is devastatingly attractive to boot. He admitted before we've met that he is HIV+. I thanked him for being honest, and he said most guys run off as soon as they hear that.

    I've been thinking about it and I've realized a lot about the way I measure risk in life, and I'm wondering how you guys deal with the same risk.

    I like to think that in theory, I weigh all risk against all benefit and make rational decisions. That goes for everyday life. Every time I walk out on the street there are statistical probabilities I'll be struck by a car, hit by lightning, etc. In most cases the risks are small enough to be negligible, to me.

    But when I considered having sex with someone I knew to be HIV+, I went and looked up the actual odds for given acts. It looks like rimming and kissing are both very safe (basically, unless you both have fresh, recent cuts, risk of infection is negligible.) The virus is known to exist only in semen and blood.

    Oral's more of a mixed bag. Conventional wisdom is that the risk is negligible, but I found a few sites, including the CDC, that cite a recent study where something like 8 of 120 new HIV cases they studied in the San Francisco area were concluded to have seroconverted through oral sex. Something like 2 or 4 of those 8 said they had sores, cuts, or the like in their mouth at the time. Here's that study:

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/oralsexqa.htm

    Then anal sex is clearly the highest risk; the SF City Clinic site has a bunch of good info on this:

    http://www.dph.sf.ca.us/sfcityclinic/drk/hivaids.asp

    And that guy identifies the risk of contracting HIV from a positive bottom while topping him wearing a condom at 1 in 2500. That's pretty low, but to me not quite negligible. But it's also not clear how much of that risk is due to things I can control: condom tearing, putting it on wrong, etc.

    Then there's the random stuff. What if I get his cum in my eye? Or on a small cut on my hand? I can't even begin to guess at the odds of that kind of stuff. And at some point it degenerates into crazy paranoia; it's not worth having sex if I have to be constantly nervous.

    I was talking about the issue of risk with a friend and she observed, "Why bother taking the risk? Why not just not sleep with the guy?"

    But that doesn't really solve anything anyway. I clearly believe that basic stuff -- kissing, handjobs, rimming, etc. are so close to 100% safe as to round up. I have some concern that irrational fear will interfere with the sex (i.e. fear even when doing something I rationally know to be safe.)

    Furthermore, it's made me really think about sex I have with guys who I don't expressly know to be HIV+. The saying is always "You have to assume everyone is positive until you know for sure otherwise", but I realize now, I certainly don't actually treat other guys as though they are actually positive. I wear condoms, I stick to pretty lightweight (and also in the 'ultra safe' category) acts for a good while during dating, that kind of thing.

    I realized, if I claim to treat everyone as HIV+ until I know otherwise, then I shouldn't have any *more* of a problem sleeping with a guy I actually know to be HIV+, right?

    I guess at some level you could argue, if you don't expressly know a guy's HIV+, there's actually a pretty good chance he's not. It's like that Monty Haul statistics problem. And so that factors in, but what do you guess that risk at? How much safer is it, statistically, to sleep with someone whose HIV status you don't know than someone you do know is positive?

    When it really comes down to it, without going totally tinfoil hat paranoid about it, I start to have trouble justifying to myself sex outside of monogamous relationships where I know my partner is negative.

    Do others of you who have a decent amount of sex with varying guys consider this explicitly? Are you actually looking at odds and deciding it's worth it? It's all so blurry and the potential consequences so significant that it's making my head hurt a bit.
  • gr8pecs

    Posts: 19

    Oct 18, 2008 7:00 AM GMT
    Hi there

    First of all I appreciate your in-depth research. I always wanted to do but never really did it.

    I just saw on a gay forum today that 77% of HIV+ gay men (in San Francisco bay area or the US? not sure...sorry) don't know about their HIV status.

    During my last test, I asked a doctor and she told me it's best to avoid all kinds of sexual contact unless you know all the details of your partner's sexual history and health status, although generally kissing is safe (but it doesn't mean it's 100% risk-free).

    On the other hand, sometimes I really feel lonely and bored. I tried some crazy stuff with webcams but it didn't satisfy me very well. I am as confused as you ...
  • atxclimber

    Posts: 480

    Oct 18, 2008 7:32 AM GMT
    My original post is kind of rambly. But yes, I agree with you: the thing I often hear basically boils down to "Well, just abstain."

    But that's silly, that's a massive oversimplification for people who don't understand statistics. Like my mom would probably say "Well, you just have to think about whether a little sex is worth getting AIDS." Again, not useful at all; it removes the probability from the consideration. That's like if someone told you that one in every 43,209 people who walks to a downtown bar gets injured crossing a street, and then said, "So you really just need to ask yourself: is getting a beer with friends worth getting hit by a car?"

    It's deceptive because of course the answer to that question is no. But the answer to the more appropriate question: "Is it worth a 0.002% risk of being hit by a car to go have a beer with friends?" is, quite plainly, "yes."

    I have some frustration with sex because it's easy to just default to, "Don't have casual sex at all -- is it really worth an orgasm or two if you might get a life-threatening STD?" (because, again, the answer is, "It depends entirely on the probability.")

    But the middle ground, of "I want to have some casual sex but I want to know the facts so I can manage my risk to acceptable levels" is tougher to do. A lot of that is insufficient data on the risk and furthermore the fact that a lot of the risk has to do with user error (like "don't tear the condom when you open the package" and "don't have sex when you're so drunk you won't notice the condom broke.")

    I certainly don't intend to give in to my Catholic upbringing and just feel guilty and self-deprecating about the whole thing (well, unless the guilt and self-deprecation is kept in the bedroom where it's hottest) but at the same time, you know, want to be safe, and need more data to do it.
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    Oct 18, 2008 7:58 AM GMT
    I myself am an ex party animal, who has traveled the world and have had LOTS of HOT sex with LOTS of beautifull men....in other words I was a Whorish Pigicon_twisted.gif.....this went on from my teens, to my mid-late 20's, then a strange thing happened and I started thinking with my big head and not my...a...big oneicon_rolleyes.gif....I became paranoid...started fearing death...I wanted to live a full and healthy life, free from alcohol, drugs, sex....I know I cant COMPLETLY control/stop the atrocities, tragedies of existance like getting diseases, getting hit by lightning, car crashes etc...but I can control getting infected by hiv...so I have been celibate(been tested many times and thank goodness I have tested neg) for appox 2years and 3monthsicon_eek.gificon_exclaim.gificon_exclaim.gif.....I DO get lonley(and HORNY), but I am too afraid to take the risk of getting infected...I am absolutley PETRIFIED...crippled with fear...so until I can completly trust a guy with my heart and body/health..I currently choose to remain celibate...I rather burn out than fade awayicon_cry.gif
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    Oct 18, 2008 9:32 AM GMT
    I agree with pakgreekguy, there is a fear in me in the risk as well. I had a friend who was sympathetic towards a HIV+ guy and had sex with him for that reason. At the time I just freaked, and couldn't believe he took the risk.

    I do not know what my friends HIV status is but he just seems to move on like nothing is wrong.

    There was a time I was at a beach and while walking along the beach felt something prick my toe. I didn't think too much about it but thankfully after getting tested, I came back negative. That was the main trigger for me to be careful from then on.

    These days I try to make sure I'm tested regularly (every 6 months) whether or not I'm sexually active.

    I guess people will only be honest with you if you ask. Do you take a risk? How can you tell if someone is HIV+? I don't know. With medications advancing these days apparently it is getting harder to tell if someone is HIV+ because it gives infected people a more regular lifestyle.

    I just think be upfront with a person and ask them. Whether safe sex is a real thing or not I can't answer that either. It's as safe as you make it (condoms, techniques, etc) but the safest way to avoid it is be sensible. Don't think with your sexual drive and think with your head.

    Remember even kissing is not 100% safe, if the person has gums that are infected with gingivitis they may bleed from time to time.

    Also the responsibility is just not your own, it is also the person who is infected that needs to be responsible about their health.

    Anth

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    Oct 18, 2008 10:15 AM GMT
    I've been known to pull apart teenagers from fighting. Sometimes there is blood, sometimes there isn't. As far as potential risks go, I attempt to minimize yet can't guarantee. If I lived with the thought of "even kissing isn't 100% safe" every day then I would shut myself in a biohazard bubble. I attempt to minimize risk in all things, and try to reduce the times I'm put in risky situations. True, I could choose a career or lifestyle that required no human contact, but I wouldn't like my life in that situation. Sex or otherwise, I don't want to live my life based on fear of how I am going to die, because this mortal body will pass away one day whether I anxiously examine every probability or not.

    I'm not scared to hug/kiss/touch someone who is positive. That just makes more societal stigma and it personally distances me from their own experience; I'd never know if someone felt lonely, inspired, sad, motivated, scared, helpless, or hopeful if I'm not close enough to touch them. I still get anxious when I get tested, but I'm confident in myself enough to know that I am doing all that I can to remain healthy without becoming paranoid.

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    Oct 18, 2008 10:22 AM GMT
    You pricked your foot on the beach and thought you were infected by HIV? Were you pricked by a hyperdermic needle? That had just come out of an HIV positive person?

    Do you know how insane you sound?

    You get tested even if you haven't had sex? Why would any sexual health clinic test you if you hadn't been having sex? No STD clinic in Britain would test you if went to them and told them you HADN'T been having sex!

    You can only be infected with HIV if you exchange bodily fluids with an HIV+ person. The virus can't last very long outside the body, it's actually very fragile this is one of the reasons that oral sex is a low risk activity although there are other infections you can pick up like the clap (gonorrhea), syphilis and hepatitus.

    In London, there are a lot of men who are positive who don't know it or who are recently infected so you will come across it whether you like it or not. Use condoms and if that feels too risky don't do anal.

    I don't know why guys are confused about HIV and safer sex. There is so much information about it available on the internet.

    I think what guys say when they are confused is what they mean is they can't be bothered to burst their ignorant bubble by actually finding out more about HIV and what it means to live with the virus.
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    Oct 18, 2008 11:38 AM GMT
    redheadguy saidYou pricked your foot on the beach and thought you were infected by HIV? Were you pricked by a hyperdermic needle? That had just come out of an HIV positive person?

    Do you know how insane you sound?

    You get tested even if you haven't had sex? Why would any sexual health clinic test you if you hadn't been having sex? No STD clinic in Britain would test you if went to them and told them you HADN'T been having sex!

    You can only be infected with HIV if you exchange bodily fluids with an HIV+ person. The virus can't last very long outside the body, it's actually very fragile this is one of the reasons that oral sex is a low risk activity although there are other infections you can pick up like the clap (gonorrhea), syphilis and hepatitus.

    In London, there are a lot of men who are positive who don't know it or who are recently infected so you will come across it whether you like it or not. Use condoms and if that feels too risky don't do anal.

    I don't know why guys are confused about HIV and safer sex. There is so much information about it available on the internet.

    I think what guys say when they are confused is what they mean is they can't be bothered to burst their ignorant bubble by actually finding out more about HIV and what it means to live with the virus.


    Well I don't know about the UK but needle stick injuries at beaches here are something we are educated to be aware of. I remember back in the 90's it came out that people would literally plant syringes in a way that the needle was placed against a stone in the sand such that if you trod on it your injected with whatever was in it. Who's to say where that syringe came from?

    Also getting tested for me is just to keep a habit going more than anything else and I'm not the only one to get tested regularly.

    I agree that even here in Australia there are people who are unaware they are HIV+ and that is why the education here is promoted more:

    http://www.acon.org.au/

    Although not definite statistic (maybe it's a scare tactic? - http://www.acon.org.au/media/index.cfm?doc_id=2035) more common sense needs to be taken when having sex.

    We are not educated to avoid sex if that's what your thinking, but we are educated to do it safely.

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    Oct 18, 2008 12:19 PM GMT
    If you wanted to be as risk-reduced as possible, then barrier protection for all activities is the way to go. That means condoms for penetrative activities, including oral and anal; and dentals dams (or an equivalent) for rimming. It means not kissing if you have a sore (cold or canker) or a cut inside your mouth. And not being exposed to any body fluids if you have an open, unhealed wound.

    Most guys settle for a medium: Condoms for anal, no condoms for oral, usually no dental dams for rimming. Kissing "rules" vary.

    However, you're right, most guys don't really think of a casual partner as being actually seropositive. They think of their casual partner as being _possibly_ seropositive, which does alter the perception of risk substantially.

    Some guys don't worry about it at all. HIV is being perceived as being less and less of a terminal disease. The rates of barebacking have been on the rise because the older generation that lived through the plague years (and who would probably never engage in unprotected sex) has not adequately transmitted their experience to the younger generation who have not lived through a time when someone they knew died literally every day, or every week. The new cocktails of HAART mean that people who become seropositive have an average lifespan in the tens if not twenties of years, as opposed to ones or fives (in the first world if you can afford it). Yes, there are complications. No, you cannot tell where along the bell curve of survival (above, at or below the average) you will fall.

    I find it interesting that your friend suggested abstinence. Does she? Her risk of HIV infection is the second highest. Does she have the same thoughts as you?

    You will never be able to properly ascertain risk to the point where you will be satisfied with the result because risk is calculated on a user-independent level. Your risk is low provided nothing goes wrong. On average, the probability of infection given condom use in general is low. However, the risk of infection given that the condom broke goes up. It's not really meaningful to think of the probability of the risk of infection with condom use in general because that 1 infection out of the 2500 sexual contacts was probably related to condom failure (user mistake or breakage, known or unknown). It's not like you stand a 1 in 2500 chance of the virus worming its way through an intact condom.

    So, I don't think the answer to your question is how you weigh risk. Whether you have casual sex with someone is a personal risk-benefit decision. What do you stand to gain? How do you feel about the consequences? If you had casual sex and the protective, risk-reducing measures failed, how would that affect you? Are you prepared to accept those consequences?

    People jump out of airplanes all of the time. Perhaps its because they perceive that the risk of death is low. But I think any serious skydiver who jumps out of a plane repeatedly doesn't really think that their activity is very safe. They accept, on some level, the consequence of their equipment failing, as tragic as that might be.
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    Oct 18, 2008 3:48 PM GMT
    If you leave your home this morning, you could be killed in a car accident. While walking from the parking lot into work, a plane might slam down and crush you. If you make it into work, a disgruntled co-worker might open fire with an AK-47 killing everyone there.

    So maybe you decide to work from home. What if there's an electrical short and your home burns? You can't get out because of the burglar bars you had installed to keep you safe.

    All your food is organic and sterilized, but yet one day, something gets through... but because your body hasn't built any defenses, it kills you.

    Do you see what I'm getting at? Life without risk is not a life at all. And to skip one of the best parts of life out-of fear is (I believe) worse than any possible consequences.

    In everything I do, I ask the question: "What's the worst that could happen?" Answer: "I could die." I'm 38. I've lived a very satisfying, wonderful life. I'd like to live longer but if I was killed at this moment, I'd be at peace with that. In other words, I'm not scared. I'm ready to go whenever it's time, but the last thing I'm going to do is go collect a bunch of numbers and percentages on how many danger might involved in your average fuckfest.

    If you're worried about HIV, wear a condom when fucking- especially if getting fucked... and you'll be fine. Obsessing about it is going to make you crazy. And I would add that I do believe there are far worse things than HIV and even death... one of them would be a life not fully experienced.
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    Oct 18, 2008 4:05 PM GMT
    You should try and get your HIV information from "the body" instead of the CDC. According to the CDC even kissing is risky, which is ridiculous.
    Yes kissing is risky if he has blood in his mouth and you have a cut and there is a transfussion- but its never happened in 25 yrs of tracking HIV and the CDC yet considers it to be risky.

    http://www.thebody.com/Forums/AIDS/SafeSex/index.html


    They have a forum on safe sex and prevention, with questions answerred daily by Dr Bob who is nothing short of brilliant. You can search the archives for virtually any topic- from lap dances to lamb skin condoms, cum in my eye, sweat on the treadmill to jacking off in an airplane toilet. Some people are annoyingly ignorant about the facts, but most are just curious and want answers.

    Good luck.


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    Oct 18, 2008 4:16 PM GMT
    str8hardbody saidIn my opinion, I will be his friend but I will NEVER have sex with him. I can hangout with him. When it come to sex I TRUST NO ONE, I always practice safe sex. I'm hiv negative and recent tested negative (10/04/0icon_cool.gif.
    I encourage you guys to get tested every six months if you are sexually active. It's free know you hiv status. Life is so precious to waste.icon_surprised.gif


    If it comes to sex and you trust no one (which is valid), then are you saying you will have sex with no one?--which would be the logical extension of your first statement. But you said "him" specifically.
    I would think, yes, trust no one and thats why always be safe. The fact that he was upright about his status actually makes him to be more trustworthy.
    A Positive individaul on medication with a managable viral load is probably far less infectious than a guy who is unaware of his status.Even if a guy got tested last monday, he might have had a risky encounter 3 weeks ago which didnt show up on his test and his viral load due to bhis recent sero- conversion would be VERY high. So a recent neg test, is good- but means little. Be safe, assume every one is positive, its smarter and less discriminatory.
    It annoys me great deal to read "life is so precious to waste". This is offensive to people LIVING with HIV.


    Be safe, make your own choices, know the facts, decide your own boundries.

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    Oct 18, 2008 4:16 PM GMT
    A few rules of thumb for man to man sex that I have always followed.

    1). Assume everyone is HIV+ no matter what they say, unless you both go to a clinic at the same time and get tested.

    2). It is probably safer to have sex with an HIV+ guy then a guy who thinks he is HIV-. Trust me on this one most HIV+ guys do not want to get another person infected and are very risk averse.

    3). There are very few sexual practices between guys that constitute "safe" sex. Don't use the term it is misleading. Safer sex is much more accurate. If you perform anal and/or oral sex then use a condom at all times if you want to minimize your risk. I always thought I practiced "safe" sex until I tested positive in 1995 (I rarely had anal sex and when I did I used a condom).

    4). If you are sexually active with different partners get tested frequently. It is better to find out if you are HIV+ as soon as possible. It also is a good reminder that there is a disease out there you do not want.

    5). Being afraid of having sex with other guys carries its' own risks. Loneliness and sexual frustruation carry there own price, so make sure you take that into account. To be honest I have nearly been killed several times just walking to and from work. There are far more dangerous things you do every day but don't even realize it so don't let your fear become irrational.
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    Oct 18, 2008 7:34 PM GMT
    Bigsetxjock said "If you're worried about HIV, wear a condom when fucking- especially if getting fucked... and you'll be fine. Obsessing about it is going to make you crazy. And I would add that I do believe there are far worse things than HIV and even death... one of them would be a life not fully experienced"

    tottally agree with this statement.
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    Oct 18, 2008 7:37 PM GMT
    bigsetxjock said it best... one of my friends added a different twist - he said, "assume everyone is hiv+ and have sex accordingly, and get tested regularly."
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    Oct 18, 2008 8:08 PM GMT
    I agree with the above post, assume all are HIV+ ALWAYS, even if they tell you otherwise they may not know.
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    Oct 18, 2008 8:14 PM GMT
    onejock saidbigsetxjock said it best... one of my friends added a different twist - he said, "assume everyone is hiv+ and have sex accordingly, and get tested regularly."


    Seriously, does anyone ACTUALLY do this? If you KNEW that the next guy you were going to sleep with was absolutely-for-sure HIV positive, does that not change your decision-making at all; or at least your considerations for casual sex?
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    Oct 18, 2008 8:39 PM GMT
    I'm gonna weigh in on this, and I hope I don't ramble. Some of you will think I'm nuts, and others will not.

    I practiced prostitution for at least 15 years, always as a top. I had sex with many, MANY men, both paying and for fun. There were a number of men I knew were POZ, and I barebacked them anyway. (Please no moralizing about this. I was OK with it, they were OK with it, there you are) I was always tested NEG. I have a couple of boyfriends that I have played with. By a couple I mean they are a married couple, and they invited me into their sex life. One is POZ the other is NEG. The NEG partner tops and barebacks his POZ husband all the time, and after at least five years, is still NEG.

    (By the way, the figure of 1 in 2,500 may be inaccurate. I read on the San Francisco Health Clinic's AIDS website that for a non-protected top in anal sex it is 1 in 500, but that may have been revised.)

    I went for about 20 years without letting anyone top me, as I felt that was the most risky sex, and with condoms, my anus tends to get torn, and bleed. Even more risky! But, that level of abstinence led to such sexual frustration, that I finally started getting topped, bareback again, in 2000. By 2001, I had sero-converted, and am now POZ. I was not on the meds, preferring a more "natural" approach, hoping that holistic and herbal methods would help.

    They didn't, and by 2006, I was in the hospital, dying of full-blown AIDS, with a viral load in the millions and T-cells below 10.

    Finally, after I got out of the hospital, I got smart, got with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and they saved my life. I am what they call a "Lazarus Case."
    My T-cells, at last test, were over 400, and my viral load is undetectable. I also got vaccinated against hepatitis, and I get STD check ups every 4 months, and have stayed uninfected for anything beyond a simple cold. I use Atripla, which is a three-drug cocktail, and is very potent. I am fifty years old, and my doctors have told me I have another 25-30 years of life, which in my family is just about normal.

    Yes, I still have unprotected sex as a bottom, and I NEVER top a guy unless he knows I'm POZ or unless he indicates to me that he is POZ. I choose to sero-sort, in other words, when having sex with strangers, I prefer that they, too, be POZ. I have also read credible information that says that, since my viral load is undetectable, that the chances of a top contracting the virus from me are very low. Since all of my casual sex is done in bath houses, frankly most of the guys there are POZ already, and anyone who is in such places having unprotected sex already knows damn well that they're swimming in a shark tank.

    My boyfriend has known I am POZ since before we started dating. I don't want to endanger him, as he's NEG, but I believe that, even if he tops me without a condom, he is running a low risk of contracting HIV. I have had some tough inner struggle with this, and told him so, as I love him and want to spend the rest of my life with him. He says he doesn't feel there's a risk worth worrying about, and he's a smart man, and he knows the statistics. I do not want to be topped with a condom because, no matter what type of lube I've used, I get torn and bleed. He feels topping me without a condom so I don't bleed is no more risky than topping with a condom and getting contact with my blood. Again, there's SOME risk, but from my own personal experience, as well as that of several other couples I know where one is POZ and the other is NEG, there is not a huge chance of infection provided the POZ partner's load is low or undetectable, as it's simply a matter of numbers: fewer viral cells means lower chance of contact.

    As to risks in life, well there's no way I'd jump out of an airplane, but I have been struck by lightning, while photographing storms on the rim of Grand Canyon. I've also been down in the Canyon during a full-scale blizzard and hiked my way back out. I have been bodily hit by cars on two occasions; once while crossing the street, and once while bicycling, and I've been in about 11 traffic accidents in 35 years of driving, and was once on a motorcycle that was hit by a drunk driver. I regularly pick up rattlesnakes by hand and relocate them if they're in danger, as I live in snake country and they sometimes find themselves on the road or in the fields where I used to work on the ranch. I won't kill them unless it's absolutely unavoidable. I rock climb on vertical cliffs, with safety gear, but that's still dangerous, and as a rail photographer I have been known to lay down on the ground within three feet of a passing freight train just to get the right shot. I've kayaked my share of rapids on the San Juan, Shenandoah, Kern, and Potomac Rivers. I've even walked on fire, on a twenty-foot long path of coals heated to 2,000 degrees, without burning.
    And I have been out and in the media as a Gay activist in areas where that type of thing is not popular at all, and that means that I run the risk of getting shot by some right-wingnut, just as has happened to many others before me.

    I don't abuse drugs at all, although I do use marijuana and poppers. I don't drink alcohol other than white wine, and I try to eat properly.

    Life is risk. There is no way around it. I don't want to endanger others, but I won't keep myself hidden in my bedroom either. And as a STAR TREK fan, I have to quote Captain Kirk: "Risk... risk is our business!"

    I think that safer sex is something that is a matter if degrees based upon the circumstances of any given situation. But I also think that to deny yourself sex altogether can lead to some very dangerous frustrations, and as a result can lead to some very unhealthy practices.
  • atxclimber

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    Oct 18, 2008 11:25 PM GMT
    zeebyaboi: holy shit. This is why I value these forums -- I really don't have any other exposure to perspectives like yours, and I really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you!

    chuy and onejock: echoing leanjock's comment, if you're, say, sucking a guy's dick, are you actually thinking to yourself, "There's HIV in this precum"? I like to pay lip service (ho ho!) to the whole "assume he's positive" thing, but it's really not true. I don't actually act with the conviction that everyone I sleep with except long-term, monogamous partners are HIV+. What I really do, to be honest, is act with the understanding that there is some chance, which I estimate to be relatively small, that my partner is HIV+. I'm safe, but not paranoid. I worry that with a guy I know to be HIV+, I'll be a bit paranoid. So if I'm not with other guys, then I'm not actually treating them like they're positive. Just that they might be.
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    Oct 19, 2008 7:15 PM GMT
    lean_jock74 said
    onejock saidbigsetxjock said it best... one of my friends added a different twist - he said, "assume everyone is hiv+ and have sex accordingly, and get tested regularly."


    Seriously, does anyone ACTUALLY do this? If you KNEW that the next guy you were going to sleep with was absolutely-for-sure HIV positive, does that not change your decision-making at all; or at least your considerations for casual sex?


    Yes people do this all the time. It would not have made any difference to me to sleep with an HIV+ guy when I thought I HIV-. My sexual behaviour would not have changed one iota. And there are many people who are in relationships in which one person is HIV+ and the other is HIV- (including yours truly).
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    Oct 19, 2008 10:41 PM GMT
    We put way to much into who is pos and who is neg when deciding to fuck w/ a guy, instead of deciding will you or wont you use a condom. Using a condom, it doesnt matter if the guy is pos/neg. If bb, then you need to decide cumming inside or not. We all have choices to make so think and then live with the decisions you make.
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    Oct 19, 2008 10:49 PM GMT
    I don't have sex with guys who know they are HIV+ and when I do have sex, I always use a condom. That's how I reduce risk.
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    Oct 19, 2008 10:57 PM GMT
    My late partner was HIV+, which he told me when we first met. I wasn't afraid for myself, since we agreed to only practice safe sex, which we always did. We were together for 2 years, and I remain negative to this day.

    My greater fear was for him. I knew an opportunistic disease could take him from me without warning, and that's exactly what happened. He went in 6 weeks, and literally died in my arms. There's was nothing I or the doctors could do, a 100% fatal disease in every case, called PML.

    So you face a real dilemma. Not, I think, for your own health if you and he are careful. But rather for the long term.

    I met a guy who was an angel on earth. And I had to bury him, which still haunts me. But if he hadn't come into my life, then I wouldn't have had the incredible joy of 2 years with him. On balance, I would still do it over again; the happiness of him in my life, however short, outweighed the grief that followed.

    You alone can set your own priorities. There is no right or wrong answer, except what you choose, and then that will be the right one.
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    Oct 19, 2008 10:58 PM GMT
    4outof6 saidI don't have sex with guys who know they are HIV+ and when I do have sex, I always use a condom. That's how I reduce risk.


    Fine, but we're learning that potentially 60%-70% of the guys out there who are POZ DON'T KNOW IT YET, either by refusal to test, or because they haven't yet tested at the end of a 6-month period. And that doesn't take into account those guys who will deliberately LIE about their status when asked, and there are plenty of them. Many of those guys say they are "on the DL, looking to BB, but I'm really str8, drug and disease free." What bullshit! I see that on Craigslist all the time.

    And, condoms are NOT 100% foolproof. Also, consider those douchebags who will top you with a condom until the last moment, and pull it off just as they start to cum inside you, just to get their jollies! Or the PnP crowd. Those guy's immune systems are so compromised that they are at MUCH higher risk for contracting HIV through even casual contact that would be virtually harmless to a healthy person. And, finally, if a POZ guy is compliant with his meds, and his viral load is undetectable, there is FAR LESS RISK of contracting HIV from him than from a guy who is not using the meds and who's load is high, like in the thousands or millions.

    I think you need a bit more education before sounding so sure of yourself.
  • styrgan

    Posts: 2017

    Oct 20, 2008 12:03 AM GMT
    I've mentioned before on these forums that my boyfriend is HIV+ and I have to admit that although I had had sex with positive men before him, I had never actually considered a relationship with one. I always felt that eventually a condom would break or some other freak event would happen and then I would be exposed.

    One of my really close friends (who is my age) is positive as well, and it was through him that I realized how remarkable the advances in drugs have been. My boyfriend's viral load has been undetectable in almost every test he's taken in the last five years. My attitude is that as long as we both use protection and are careful, there's almost no risk. And I'm not really the type to err on the side of caution anyway.

    Sex is not safe or clean. It's inherently messy... and rough. You can't make a list of pros and cons and arrive at a solution where you've eliminated risk. I always feel that you just need to live life without being afraid or "paranoid" about what could happen to you. I would rather be at higher risk for contracting HIV then missing out on having a wonderful person in my life.