Sunday, January 4, 2009


This year I am determined to figure out the answers to some important questions. Namely: who? what? when? where? and why? As in, who am I going to tell about my HIV status? What exactly am I going to divulge? When, where and why is this information being shared?

Though I often tell myself that I really don't need another person in my life, the truth is I have been wanting to get married since I was 25. I have had two boyfriends, but this was before I was HIV+. Since becoming poz, not a single guy has been brave enough (or honest enough) to take me on as I am. In the five years I've been in NYC, I have found myself usually telling someone I like about my status on the second date. I can honestly say I have never had a third date with a guy in over five years. This year, I am determined to get to a third date. So perhaps the most important question, the one I omitted above, is HOW?

I have been given a dazzling array of advice over the years, everything from "Tell him right away" to "tell him after sex the first time" to "tell him only after you are officially dating". Most people say the timing should be somewhere between "right away" and "before sex". But frankly, it's terrible advice. I can't remember the last guy I told about my status who wanted to have sex with me, and I intend to have sex again before I die. I am leaning toward "after sex the first time" (but taking care to have safe sex). Of course, I'm not sure if that's quite honorable either.

Of the guys I have told about my status before there was any sex, they all invariably exude gratitude. Which is nothing more than a cheap mask of relief. Whew. Glad I avoided this guy with HIV. For once, it would be nice if a guy could just take my hand and tell me that it's OK. That everything will be all right. That did happen once. Over five years ago. But he lived in Hawaii, and amazingly, we still communicate from time to time and I even went to visit him there once for 10 days during which time I thought that was the happiest I would ever be in my life. I would like to feel that happiness again. The question is how. And who? And what, and when, and where? What I don't want to ask is "why" anymore.


Anonymous said...

I think your choices would be considerably easy if you were just looking to have sex vs. dating.
For sex guys might not even ask you about your status if they used condoms. If you two had safe sex, the no harm done. I've had sex with guys whom I later on find out were HIV+ and I'd say it made no difference as we were careful.

On the other hand, if you are dating and have safer sex once and then inform the guy of your status, he might question why you were not upfront to begin with and let him choose. Even though you have a very valid viewpoint based on the reaction of prior guys you have dated, sadly, your date is probably not fully aware of your dilemma and will only see it through his own eyes and react accordingly. I have to admit, who likes rejection?, especially when such rejection is based solely due to being HIV+ (as narrow minded as that rejection may be)

I also think you dilemma is tougher given the way the gay community tends to be very superficial and not care much about what's inside a person vs. youth and looks. If more of us sought to really get to know others it would be easier to appreciate the qualities of a person and get to like or love them as such in spite of circumstances such as HIV.
Take care,

J.T. said...

hey rob,

Point taken if it's just sex I'm looking for. But at this point, it's more than sex I'm looking for.

As for your point about "he might question why you were not upfront to begin with and let him choose", I am beginning to think that I am just a ragdoll on a shelf in a Goodwill store. Don't people know that you can get some really cool, if only slightly damaged, stuff at the Goodwill store without having to pay a fortune? Maybe that's the question I should be posing to people.

Or maybe I should stop whining and blogging and just focus on working out. It's amazing how many guys want to have sex with you when you have a nice body. Maybe they'd be more willing to give me a chance at a relationship if I had an even better body. Is that how it works in the gay world?

Anonymous said...

Yes ... You do want something truly fulfilling vs. random hook ups and like anything worthwhile it's more complex.
You do need someone who will appreciate, care and love you for whom you are and who takes HIV as something that can be dealt with.
As you do mention, the sad truth is gay men are a bit too focused on looks and sex and a hot body will certainly get you more attention.
However, I think it will not be a hotter body that will get you a bf (more dates and sex for sure) but ultimately someone who will look at the true JT and not just another guy to have sex with.
BTW based on your blog I would not quite use the analogy of a good item on a goodwill store. I'd say perhaps you are more of an exotic food or drink that's unique and an acquired taste.
Take care,

J.T. said...

LOL at the comment about being an exotic food. I've always thought of myself as vanilla ice cream--classic, simple, sweet, reliable, goes with everything. Maybe I got a little freezer burn now... haha...

Luuworld said...

you are in a tough situation. i wish i could say what would give you a third date this year, because you deserve it, but i have no idea to be honest.

picture this: if you didn't have HIV, and dated a nice guy who did. what would it take for you to go on a third date with him?

Anonymous said...

Hmm ... vanilla ... I'd have to taste lol ... but how about green tea ice cream?

J.T. said...

Rob, green tea is quite distinctive. I like the taste, but I don't think it's very versatile as a desert.

Luu, ha! You don't even know what I look like so how can you say so decisively that I deserve a third date? A lot of guys wouldn't even give me one. Thanks very much for the question you posed, as it got me thinking. I think it will keep me up at night for a few nights at least.

earthmonkey said...

JT i believe happiness will come to you.
You have been telling me that the HIV label will fade in time. I hope that is the case for you too. You are an intelligent, sensitive, compassionate and articulate person... that is one hell of a combination. You need to let others discover this whole side of you first. Very often its not done on the first or second dates where the more physical impressions comes to the fore. Taking a date beyond the physical desire is about connecting at deeper level?? Let them discover this layer of you and if they still shy away from you bcos of your health status.. then destiny is not meant between the two of you...
p.s. i tot you already have a pretty hot body??

Luuworld said...

well, i don't think looks has anything to do with deserving a third date, or even a first date. why do you automatically link outer appearance to "deserving" a date?

i don't think everyone are entitled dates, though. it's not a human right to date. but good people deserve dates, and i think you are a good person, so you deserve a date. and that has nothing to do with your appearance. that's my opinion anyway.

too me, personality comes first. sure, i would be a liar if i said looks didn't matter at all, but it isn't the most important thing. for me.

J.T. said...

yes, Luu daddy... i'm sorry, Luu daddy... i promise to be good from now on... :-P