3 Décembre 2016
Knowledge is a weapon.
I was surfing on the internet to find some kinky group action when one profile caught my attention : “To simplify my exchanges and avoid any potential misunderstanding, I decided to disclose my HIV status : I’m HIV positive with undetectable viral load. I expect people to be up-to-date on methods of prevention and treatments.”
It’s not new what was written here. Most of the time people reveal their status in the criteria zone. What is new is the openness, the positive thinking about one’s HIV status we see the last couple of years.
I’ve been working for 15 years on HIV programs, I’ve done thousands of counseling and motivating interviews, I’ve helped people through depression, desperation and helped them to get grip of their lives again, respecting their decisions and encouraging them in their strength. I’ve lobbied governments. I’ve pushed politicians to adopt equal LGBTQ rights in the streets, for two years I’ve been president of a non-governmental aids association and opened the discussion on having sex without condom and PreP, I’ve practiced safe sex, with and without condom, I never judged people, I fought against extreme right politics, I defended affordable health care for every positive man, woman or transgender.
Reading the guy’s description made me grateful since the efforts of all my fellow prevention workers and the encouragement sent out, had succeed. But most of all, it was the pride of being HIV positive that I read in his profile. Unfortunately, society still condemns HIV people. It reminded me a conversation I had with a friend : “I would never do it with a HIV positive guy. Never. It’s too dangerous. I don’t want to put my life in danger so I prefer not to date a HIV positive guy. I always ask it quite soon,” he said.
Unfortunately ignorance, judgement and fear seem to be back. Is it sign of times? Nowadays communication has become individualist, opinions are guided by fear, politicians have become opportunists and populists, health programs on HIV, aids or sexual health are invisible in my hometown Brussels. I’m proud of that guy, I’m proud of so many HIV positive men who through the years have shown that being HIV positive is not something to be ashamed of and that being HIV positive is not a felony. As the late Eric Rofes said with the same pride in his brilliant essay “Dry bones breathe” while being at a massive gay party viewing the happy crowd in dance, sweat, love and lust. I can tell you, Eric, they are proud!
I’m HIV negative, I practice harm reduction in my sexlife. I’m a happy single guy, I enjoy my freedom, I live my kinky fetish side to the fullest and I’m open for something more serious, to be shared with a fetish minded guy. I refuse to be guided by fear, ignorance, stupidity.
Knowledge is a weapon. Ignorance is a failure. Communication is sexy. Be +proud! Be in +love!