Story Courtesy Of Tyler Curry
You would think that after three decades of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, gay men would know everything there is to know about the HIV virus.
Unfortunately, so many folks, both young and old, continue to spread lies about the virus. These lies are to blame for keeping people at-risk for transmission while stigmatizing those who are living with HIV. So lets squash these lies and put an end to the transmission of HIV and the spread of stigma, shall we?
1.) HIV is a problem of an older generation.
Incorrect. Gay men ages 18 to 24 are the most at-risk for contracting HIV.
2.) If I avoid having sex with men who are HIV-positive, I will stay negative.
Danger! According to the CDC, fewer than half of HIV positive young adults are aware that they are living with the virus. A person who is aware of their HIV status and has an undetectable viral load is 96 percent less likely to transmit the virus. In other words, a person who you know is HIV-positive may be safer than a person who is unaware of their status.
3.) I’m a top. I won’t get HIV.
Wrong again. If your partner is unaware of their status and carrying a high viral load, it is still possible for you to contract HIV.
4.) Only sluts and drug addicts get HIV.
You know who gets HIV? People who have unprotected sex. In fact, many cases of HIV transmission happen within a monogamous relationship.
5.) He said he was HIV-negative so he must be HIV-negative.
Unless you went with him to his last HIV test and made sure he hasn’t slept with anyone since then, you do not know his HIV status. And if you have had unprotected sex since your last test, you don’t know yours either.
6.) I can totally tell if someone is HIV-positive.
Nope. People who are HIV-positive no longer experience the same physical side effects that are associated with the “look” of HIV. That smoking hot guy you have a crush on at the gym could easily be HIV-positive, and that shouldn’t stop you from asking him out.
7.) I don’t know anyone who is HIV-positive.
Correction, no one you know has told you that they are HIV-positive.
8.) I don’t have sex with people who are HIV-positive.
If you are a gay man with a relatively normal sex life, chances are you have. You just didn’t know it.
9.) I (mostly) practice safe sex.
It doesn’t matter if your intentions are always right. It only takes one lapse in judgment to transmit the virus. If you have made more than a few safe-sex mistakes in the past year, you may want to evaluate your safe-sex options. After all, being idealistic about safe sex isn’t a form of safe sex.
10.) People who take PrEP are irresponsible.
No, people who take PrEP are realistic about their behavior. Are you?