January 21, 2010

Delirious Dance of the Disease-Free

In the Internet dating game, many gay man post their HIV-negative status along with the date they were tested, as if that makes them a better, more desirable catch.

HIV-negative as of January 21, 2010. Super clean. No STDs. No bugs. No diseases whatsoever. Exceptionally clean. Disease-free and clean. UB2, and on and on.

The word “clean” alone is losing its potency. Trends indicate, it's no longer desirable to be simply “clean.” One must be “super clean,” or “ultra clean,” or “super duper times XXX clean as of [a certain date and time as close to the present as possible).

And then there are the “I've got no STDs!” declarations. No STDs whatsoever. Completely bug-free. STD-free. Does anyone ever admit to having gonorrhea, syphilis, or any STD other than HIV? Super duper rare. Why the need to tell the world you don't have these STDs when no one in the world admits to having them in the first place?

Stop the madness! None of this makes anyone any safer. Only taking responsibility for your own health makes you safer. Your health is not in the hands of others. Your future does not depend on how many warning signs you put up, telling HIV to keep out.

The best way to avoid HIV: arming yourself with knowledge about what is and isn't safe sex, as determined by reputable health sites like the CDC, then practicing that safe sex with everyone each and every time you have sex, regardless of their HIV status.

Some HIV-negative veterans of the AIDS epidemic put it this way: I have safe sex with everyone as if they're HIV-positive. That way, I'm safe either way.

Any other method of protecting yourself is not truly protecting yourself. It's taking a shot at somebody else's confidence game. It's putting your life in someone else's hands. It's simply you not being at your best, no matter the result or date of your last HIV test.