Why the HIV status on profiles?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 22, 2010 1:01 PM GMT
    I know I have had posts about hiv + guys lying about their status' as well as others have even recently posted about it as well.

    Reading through all the posts which were so informative, different, ignorant, and supportive it raised a question.....What is the point of the Hiv status question on profiles?


    So many of you had stated its no ones business until you are sexually involved. Its no ones business, its a personal choice to disclose and etc.

    One post said that over 75% of rj'ers had not even answered if they were, weren't or if they even knew, which in my book is kinda scary statistics right there.

    Another post said that this isn't mainly a hookup site. So true. I love RJ. I have made so many great and awesome friends on here that I feel I will have the rest of my life. These are the same friends that I had before and after I found out my diagnosis. So if we are all here for "workouts" and finding "friends" what does our Hiv status have to do with any of that?

    So my question is why is this asked on any site and on any profile?

    We aren't asked if we have cancer, syphilis, ghonneria, diabetes and etc. Aren't these diseases that we may eventually if ever divulge to someone if we become "involved"? If we ever decide to...again people lie about all of these so we can all get laid right? Who wants to bring up topics like these when we are trying to get into someones pants right?

    If its so personal and its up to each and every one of us to be open, honest and sincere with our new found friends....why even ask our status on a profile anyway?
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    Apr 22, 2010 1:19 PM GMT
    isn't it optional? I'm not sure. Anyway I'm thinking it's probably there because they know even if this isn't a hook up site, that guys are going to hook up anyway. Sorta like giving kids condoms even though you tell them not to have sex. They're going to anyway. So just to be on the safe side, maybe, i really don't know.
  • fitdude62

    Posts: 294

    Apr 22, 2010 1:49 PM GMT
    One of the reasons I post it is that I feel it helps to take some of the "stigma" away. There is so much fear and we need to see positive, sexy and healthy men living with it.

    Those of us who are poz like to also know that we are not alone. There are so many great guys on this site giving advice and support. It's a great tool.

    As for the "hook up" thing. We are men.......it's always on our mind.....lol

    In Peace,
    David
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 22, 2010 1:55 PM GMT
    I think it is asked, as an option as HIV is a huge concern within the gay population, and it offers the choice for people living with a lifetime illness the option to publicly disclose.

    HIV is one of the few diseases that is both communicable and potentially terminal, even though most live long happy lives. As it is so prevalent within the gay community, disclosing their status publicly can give a level of freedom, almost like coming out of the closet for a second time.

    But again, it is always optional, and if you choose not to disclose publicly, it is 100% your choice!
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    Apr 22, 2010 1:57 PM GMT
    redbull said...So my question is why is this asked on any site and on any profile?

    We aren't asked if we have cancer, syphilis, ghonneria, diabetes and etc. Aren't these diseases that we may eventually if ever divulge to someone if we become "involved"?...

    A provocative thought. I'd like to hear more discussion on this, but my initial reaction is to agree with the OP. HIV status should have NOTHING to do with our participation here on RJ.

    If guys do subsequently meet in person, and proceed to develop an intimate relationship, that bridge can be crossed then. The OP's argument that there are additional diseases & conditions of comparable impact, especially cancer and non-HIV STDs, is quite compelling in my view. Thoughts?
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    Apr 22, 2010 1:58 PM GMT
    Wasn't/Isn't there a campagin in SF or LA that read "I am more than my status"?

    Never mind the first time I was able to have sex again after finding out I was positive ... when I was finally emotionally able to "come out" and mark my status as HIV +, I was bowled over by the number of guys that contacted me/answered me offering personal support, advise and in some cases - reached out looking for support/answers themselves.

    I just look at status as just an extension of who I am and that is how my HIV negative BF looks at it as well.
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    Apr 22, 2010 2:16 PM GMT
    FRONT2BACK saidWasn't/Isn't there a campagin in SF or LA that read "I am more than my status"?

    Never mind the first time I was able to have sex again after finding out I was positive ... when I was finally emotionally able to "come out" and mark my status as HIV +, I was bowled over by the number of guys that contacted me/answered me offering personal support, advise and in some cases - reached out looking for support/answers themselves.

    I just look at status as just an extension of who I am and that is how my HIV negative BF looks at it as well.

    When I joined a gay BBS in 1995 (Bulletin Board System, a mostly local dial-up computer network) in Seattle, some of the members added a + to their screen names, to indicate their HIV poz status. And one guy told me he did that to give fair notice to others, since the BBS often functioned as a hook-up site, and also to de-stigmatize being poz, to encourage poz guys to come out openly, not unlike the issue of gay men coming out regarding their orientation.

    I'm not sure whether today in 2010 that is still needed on RJ. But I would like to hear the arguments for and against. As I wrote above, my initial reaction is to be against. I don't care whether you are poz or neg, and I'm not convinced we need a special data field for it in our RJ profiles.

    It is not relevant information for the purposes I use RJ, nor do I think it's relevant even if we're looking for intimate relationships. That's a matter for discussion among the 2 men involved, not something for public announcement. I'm glad the OP raised this issue.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 22, 2010 2:22 PM GMT
    Any website that is frequented by homosexual men is a hook-up site. To one degree or another.
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    Apr 22, 2010 6:40 PM GMT
    This was a real eye opener for me!! I've never given it much thought one way or another. I've always been Poz friendly as my sex practices are, for the most part, safer than not.
    BUT, now the question arises...why do we really need to add it to our profile? I DO believe that is something that should be disclosed... in private, and with the person to whom you intend to be intimate.
    Suddenly, I feel guilty for stating my status as neg. as if it were something
    I should be proud of!! In fact, I have been damn lucky, as I have lost ALL of my lovers and old friends to this insidious disease...starting back in 1979!
    I honestly do NOT remember what the options were when I first signed up on here, but I am giving VERY serious consideration to removing my status completely. It's certainly nothing I should be proud of... like I said, just lucky!
    I have actually asked myself at times, why me, God? To be perfectly honest, it's kind lonely not having my OLD friends here!! icon_exclaim.gif

    UPDATE: I just changed my status to BLANK, as the only other options are + or - or I Don't Know. Also, I explained in my profile my reason for stating it in this manner. I feel the best way to remove the stigmatism is not to respond at all, unless it becomes relevant.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 22, 2010 6:56 PM GMT
    HIV status can be an important part of the type of workouts people do, whether it be because of the drugs they take, the gyms they feel comfortable going to or just the people they interact with. Most guys on here tell you if they have something like chemo to work around if they want, so i don't see the issue in disclosing a very real part of the community.

    That said, I think connexion did it right- they don't have a negative option, only blank, their argument being you're only as neg as your last test.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 22, 2010 6:57 PM GMT
    We're on the same wavelength -- when I created my profile this is the first thing I filled out:

    But I'm not really here to make a bunch of IM friends, and I'm not here looking for sex. Conversely, I'm not horribly disfigured nor am I deep in the closet - I don't have a bunch of pictures on any of my regularly visited "straight" sports/alumni/music forums either. The only part of this website where I will probably participate occasionally will be the Forums, and I shouldn't need a passport photo to read and type.

    This is also my reason for ignoring the "HIV status" and "Safer Sex" questions, despite the knowledge that many people will assume a non-answer is an attempt to hide positive status. Neither question is relevant to my purpose here. Frankly, I think the HIV checkbox on socially-oriented gay websites is a questionable feature. If you're trying to be something other than just a hookup spot and profile pic wankfest, why does it matter? I don't see any checkboxes for Diabetes, Herpes, Leprosy, a Colostomy, or Huntington's chorea - and each of those has its own severe effects on your potential romantic relationship with someone. If someone's HIV status is going to affect how you verbally engage them on an Internet forum, then you've got bigger problems than filling in a bunch of checkboxes.

    In any case, whether or not my occasional forum comments are worth responding to, I'll leave as an exercise for you, the Reader. Either the ideas are valid and interesting or they aren't.
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    Apr 22, 2010 7:04 PM GMT
    SportingChance saidWe're on the same wavelength -- when I created my profile this is the first thing I filled out:

    But I'm not really here to make a bunch of IM friends, and I'm not here looking for sex. Conversely, I'm not horribly disfigured nor am I deep in the closet - I don't have a bunch of pictures on any of my regularly visited "straight" sports/alumni/music forums either. The only part of this website where I will probably participate occasionally will be the Forums, and I shouldn't need a passport photo to read and type.

    This is also my reason for ignoring the "HIV status" and "Safer Sex" questions, despite the knowledge that many people will assume a non-answer is an attempt to hide positive status. Neither question is relevant to my purpose here. Frankly, I think the HIV checkbox on socially-oriented gay websites is a questionable feature. If you're trying to be something other than just a hookup spot and profile pic wankfest, why does it matter? I don't see any checkboxes for Diabetes, Herpes, Leprosy, a Colostomy, or Huntington's chorea - and each of those has its own severe effects on your potential romantic relationship with someone. If someone's HIV status is going to affect how you verbally engage them on an Internet forum, then you've got bigger problems than filling in a bunch of checkboxes.

    In any case, whether or not my occasional forum comments are worth responding to, I'll leave as an exercise for you, the Reader. Either the ideas are valid and interesting or they aren't.



    Not sure if you read my post further up, but I did highlight two important pieces of information:

    1. It is optional.

    2. It is important due to the highly communicable nature of the illness and it's devestation and prevalence on the gay community throughout history.

    Leprosy is currently not a major concern within the gay community, diabetes cannot be communicated, and so forth.

    For these two reasons you should feel free to disclose or not disclose. For some people it will make a lot of sense to open up and feel the freedom of disclosure. To other people, they will think it is nobodies business but their own and who they choose to tell.

    Both schools of thought would be correct.
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    Apr 22, 2010 7:11 PM GMT
    MuchMoreThanMuscle saidSadly the HIV check box on websites is doing not much more than polarizing negative and positive men from each other. It's been a way to reduce a gay man to his disease status. And this conjures up a lot of preconceived misconceptions about people who do have HIV.

    What I also don't like is how the people that know me from here yet don't even know my first name will know my HIV status if they were to see me walking down the street. What a great way to objectify such a vulnerable private aspect of my life.


    But it's my choice to be here. So I won't get too carried away with the diatribes. I think this all needs a newer and better approach.


    I guess it all comes down to perception in the end. And you can't control how people will respond, so it would be a tough task to find a different way of going about it.

    Personally, I value the option being on the site as a constant remind of the risks involved in unsafe sex, and also I feel it takes the illness out of the dark and into an everyday situation.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 22, 2010 7:19 PM GMT
    While I am neg, I have many gay friends who are + and only look for other + men.. So the option to check is nothing more than a way of being honest if it's got the X, otherwise, assume everyone is and play safe
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    Apr 22, 2010 7:28 PM GMT
    Yeah I agree. It does help people who do have HIV to get it over with disclosing it without people talking to them then acting like they are monsters and stop talking to them when they find out.

    But I do think it confuses purpose of profile. I think it also makes gay guys look like they are HIV reservoirs since there are no other diseases to check.

    Since it is a fitness site I think there should also be a checklist for steroid use and other chemicals though so people don't develop unreasonable expectations from what they see in others if it didn't happen naturally through regular exercise and diet, diet as in regular food.
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    Apr 22, 2010 7:32 PM GMT
    While I personally have nothing to add (je suis desole!), I have to say this is one of the more thought provoking threads I've seen in a while. Maybe unexpectedly so, the question is deceivingly complex.
  • RetroFit

    Posts: 33

    Apr 22, 2010 8:35 PM GMT
    [quoteWe aren't asked if we have cancer, syphilis, ghonneria, diabetes and etc. Aren't these diseases that we may eventually if ever divulge to someone if we become "involved"? If we ever decide to...again people lie about all of these so we can all get laid right? Who wants to bring up topics like these when we are trying to get into someones pants right?
    [/quote]

    No States have laws mandating felony sentences for those health disorders such as "cancer, syphilis, ghonneria, diabetes and etc." most States, if not all, prescribe severe penalties for HIV+ men and women who fail to disclose.

    I post my status just in case someone here entertains the notion of sexual activity and also to offer benign, indirect support to members that have or may discover they have this dread affliction.
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    Apr 22, 2010 9:01 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    redbull said...So my question is why is this asked on any site and on any profile?

    We aren't asked if we have cancer, syphilis, ghonneria, diabetes and etc. Aren't these diseases that we may eventually if ever divulge to someone if we become "involved"?...

    A provocative thought. I'd like to hear more discussion on this, but my initial reaction is to agree with the OP. HIV status should have NOTHING to do with our participation here on RJ.

    If guys do subsequently meet in person, and proceed to develop an intimate relationship, that bridge can be crossed then. The OP's argument that there are additional diseases & conditions of comparable impact, especially cancer and non-HIV STDs, is quite compelling in my view. Thoughts?

    I disagree. Cancer & diabetes are non-communicable diseases, so if I were to sleep with a diabetic I wouldn't have to constantly worry if I'd have to live the rest of my life without chocolate (Quite possibly one of the cornerstones of my existence).

    Then, syph, the clap, chlamydia, and other sorts of STI's, while potential harmful, can usually be cleared up with a round of antibiotics. It doesn't mean that it's any more ok to pass on these though, as opposed to HIV. It's still wrong, but the potential harm is less, and hence less potential for negative consequences.

    Now, having sounded all HIV-phobic, I'm not really concerned over your status until it can potentially affect me; ie before we hide in our treehouse, swear to be best friends forever, and then become blood brothers.

    Having been around RJ for a good long while, it originally started up much more "mainstream" than what it's evolved into (and it's better that it's NOT mainstream). Originally it was a lot more of a specialty gay site, like bear411 is for bears, manhunt is for hookups, gaytwinkdating.com is for twinks. Realjock was for the athletic guys. But the awesome staff of RJ added content, features, and contests that eventually diverged it from "just another dating site" into the premier mecca of gay fitness, health, life & lolcat pictures that it is presently and gloriously known as. So I think the HIV status in the profile is a remnant from the days of yore. Some of you may recall that they used to have "position" as a profile category as well.
  • Mohannned

    Posts: 280

    Apr 23, 2010 1:39 AM GMT
    I don't think it's important ....
    but it's just an information about u just like ur height
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    Apr 23, 2010 1:42 AM GMT
    HotToddy said
    Red_Vespa said
    redbull said...So my question is why is this asked on any site and on any profile?

    We aren't asked if we have cancer, syphilis, ghonneria, diabetes and etc. Aren't these diseases that we may eventually if ever divulge to someone if we become "involved"?...

    A provocative thought. I'd like to hear more discussion on this, but my initial reaction is to agree with the OP. HIV status should have NOTHING to do with our participation here on RJ.

    If guys do subsequently meet in person, and proceed to develop an intimate relationship, that bridge can be crossed then. The OP's argument that there are additional diseases & conditions of comparable impact, especially cancer and non-HIV STDs, is quite compelling in my view. Thoughts?

    I disagree. Cancer & diabetes are non-communicable diseases, so if I were to sleep with a diabetic I wouldn't have to constantly worry if I'd have to live the rest of my life without chocolate (Quite possibly one of the cornerstones of my existence).

    Then, syph, the clap, chlamydia, and other sorts of STI's, while potential harmful, can usually be cleared up with a round of antibiotics. It doesn't mean that it's any more ok to pass on these though, as opposed to HIV. It's still wrong, but the potential harm is less, and hence less potential for negative consequences.

    Now, having sounded all HIV-phobic, I'm not really concerned over your status until it can potentially affect me; ie before we hide in our treehouse, swear to be best friends forever, and then become blood brothers.

    Having been around RJ for a good long while, it originally started up much more "mainstream" than what it's evolved into (and it's better that it's NOT mainstream). Originally it was a lot more of a specialty gay site, like bear411 is for bears, manhunt is for hookups, gaytwinkdating.com is for twinks. Realjock was for the athletic guys. But the awesome staff of RJ added content, features, and contests that eventually diverged it from "just another dating site" into the premier mecca of gay fitness, health, life & lolcat pictures that it is presently and gloriously known as. So I think the HIV status in the profile is a remnant from the days of yore. Some of you may recall that they used to have "position" as a profile category as well.


    A great answer (and much of what I wanted to say however I am doing uni work at the same time!). Attitudes and practices are constantly evolving, so whether or not this option stays will depend on attitudes int he future. Or even this post might prompt more people to either argue for it or against it.
  • Import

    Posts: 7190

    Apr 23, 2010 3:08 AM GMT
    personally, i wanna know before hand.... whether someone is HIV positive beore I meet them.

    I mean, call me shallow, call me whatever, but at the end of the day... I wanna go to bed at night knowing im healthy. . .


  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Apr 23, 2010 5:45 AM GMT
    It seems to be very important to some guys, for a variety of reasons.
    So what ?
    If I had automatically ruled out all HIV+ guys, I would have missed out on some really wonderful guys.
    If I became HIV+, it would be nobody's fault but my own...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 23, 2010 5:51 AM GMT
    . . . it's merely a gay aperitif . . .
  • silverfox

    Posts: 3178

    Apr 23, 2010 5:55 AM GMT



    http://www.realjock.com/gayforums/634276/
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Apr 24, 2010 11:36 PM GMT
    silverfox1 said (in his post on a previous Forum in Aug. 2009)

    "What is the point of asking this question on the RJ profile?

    I can maybe understand the "safer sex" question....but to me, the status question is out of line on the profile.

    Maybe I am missing something....what exactly is the point?
    To find common ground?

    Enlighten me please."


    I knew that this couldn't be the first time this question has come up.. thank you "silverfox" for bringing it to light. I would like to take a poll to see how many guys think that this question should be removed completely. If you are so inclined to bring it up, do it in your profile, under Who I Am. I don't think it should be included in Hair Color, Height, Weight, etc.
    If it HAS to stay there, why not add Piercings, Tattoos, and Appendix Scars... icon_lol.gif