(Alan puts his teflon armor on, because he knows that his comment is really going to stir the pot, and that he is probably going to become a lightning rod for some very impassioned responses)
Delivis saidI would just want to add one caveat; this is not a problem with gay sites or gay people.
True. Different communities and segments of the population face different challenges in regards to HIV disclosure, education, healthcare, stigma, testing, legal implications, etc.
Delivis saidI'm sure people of any orientation lie about their HIV status or various aspects of their health. And whenever an STD is involved and a potential or actual partner, it is highly unethical in all cases, regardless of sexual orientation, not to disclose that information.
"Ethics" can be subject to "moral relativism" in the context of the culture and norms of a particular society. So, broad statements about right, wrong, ethical, unethical in all cases is dangerous ground to tread upon. Decisions and their "ethical" considerations can exist in "gray areas" where right and wrong, ethical and unethical are not clear and absolute.
Lying about anything is generally considered unethical according to the culture and norms of "Western society". I'm sure most of us have encountered there situations where we tell "little white lies" for what we judge to be a greater good. But a lie is a lie. And, when we start dipping our toes into that pool, it gets murky really quick.
Grouping the sentence about (paraphrase) "lying about HIV status" and the sentence about "not disclosing before activity with potential or actual partners" is logical to an extent. I say to an extent because in my view a "lie" can be a "told untruth" and it can also be an "untold truth". In either case, we are either providing false information or withholding important information that alters the ability of an activity partner to make a fully informed free will choice.
Where the logic breaks down, in my view, is when two partners CHOOSE not to disclose to each other, and therefore must assume that the other person is HIV positive in order to account for worst case scenario in a risk assessment. Is that a lie? Is that wrong or unethical if both persons knowingly choose to "avoid the topic"?
My view is that in this instance, and in my legal jurisdiction, it is not unethical to engage in sex with someone without having disclosed HIV status. There are some localities where this is illegal. In those cases, this example would be unethical, because it is proscribed by law. Know the law where you are going to have sex and follow the law.
In summary, making judgments about the ethics of a situation should be approached on a case by case basis. Advance disclosure of HIV status (or other STD status) can be in some cases a choice guided by ethics, or mandated by law.Full Disclosure in regards to the context of my point of view
If you will note my profile, I purposely do not list my HIV status nor my "Safer Sex?" preference. I do this not to "hide", but because I find that the void of information stimulates conversation about serostatus, and risk aware sex practices.
I will state to all of you as a courtesy that I am HIV+ and have been so for nearly 26 years. I will be happy to share more about my experiences with any of you if you message me directly.
HIV Stigma still exists. HIV Prejudice and discrimination still exists. And, that stigma, prejudice, and discrimination are painful and can be hurtful in emotional, physical, and financial ways.
Remember, let's destroy the diseases, not the people that happen to have the diseases.
Aloha and Be Well!