Having worked with HIV positive clients for like 6 years now, one of their major worries, aside from the issue of people finding out they are positive and stigmatizing them, is the issue of being in a meaningful relationship. I have one that’s always on my case about how she’s tired of taking medication as she doesn’t see the point, seeing as she’s unable to get a husband and start building a family. She even got too attached to the extent she was practically proposing to me, as par I just dey sprout white bear-bear without any bae in sight.

In my personal opinion, being in a relationship is not a do or die affair. From time to time, I do get somewhat depressed about being old, single and all that, but the minute I think about all the other blessings in my life, that depression shifts one time. People are suffering – as in suffering – in this world, and for most of them, relationships are the least of their worries. Person wey dey live under bridge or wey never chop since one week dey worry about sex, husband or pikin?

As long as you’re not contemplating suicide as an exit strategy, you need to make an effort to take your meds and stay healthy. Moving from HIV infection to AIDS is not a joking matter. I have treated sick patients that in the course of managing them; I found myself silently praying to God to just take them because their suffering was too much.

Summary: If you think your life sucks ass, always remind yourself that there are others who are worse off, and hopefully that will help you adjust and get on track with your hustle.

HIV Positive or HIV Negative, we are all entitled to sex, love and everything life has to offer. Unfortunately the HIV factor changes the approach to these things.

CASUAL HOOKUPS

The ideal thing is to reveal your HIV status (if positive) to your partners before anything remotely sexual goes down. But as some of us know, that ain’t reasonable at all. Body count and health issues don’t mix with hookups. You’re just there to get your rocks off and go home, never to see the person again…hopefully.

The koko here, as an HIV positive individual, is to ensure that you protect whosoever you’re hooking up with by insisting on condom use and avoiding any sexual act that might put the person at risk. (See PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM GETTING INFECTED WITH HIV).

Pitfalls of Hookups: If perchance this hookup partner of yours discovers your HIV status, shit could hit the ceiling. You could be sued for endangerment and intention to transmit, especially if it can be proven that you were fully aware of your status before the sex went down.

As a gay man living in a country with fierce anti-gay laws, it’s only a nut job that will drag such a matter to court. Instead this person could choose to spread the word far and wide, costing you a lot from job opportunities, to housing as well as future meaningful relationships.

If you’re lucky and the person is well educated in HIV matters, he’d most definitely appreciate the fact that you took precautions to keep him safe.

RELATIONSHIPS

If you intend on pursuing a relationship with someone whose status you aren’t sure of, please, please, please, under no circumstance whatsoever should you have anything sexual with them. Even ordinary kissing and grabbing is out of it. Not until you have revealed your status to this person. Failure to abide by this rule could later be interpreted as a gross breach of trust.

It sounds extreme, I know, but do remember that you have peeps that would rather not breathe the same air with gay people; that is how intense their homophobia is. And such applies to HIV too. HIV Phobia is real. You wouldn’t believe it when I tell you some doctors are very open about their dislike for HIV positive clients. *sighs*

If agro dey worry you, goan wank to relieve tension.

During the course of getting to know one another, you need to work towards getting to know his stance on HIV related matters. Test the person with various scenarios before you make up your mind to reveal or not to reveal your status.

The end game here is to assess if the person is someone worth revealing your status to, even if he’d rather not have anything sexual to do with someone who is HIV positive. You need to be sure that even if he decides to walk away, he won’t go running his mouth to everyone who cares to listen.

Now this is probably me being paranoid, but even if he passes the test, you also need to ascertain that he’s not one of those people that hurl personal stuff in public to win silly fights like we’ve seen some people do here in the comments section.

In conclusion, full disclosure of your status is a MUST before bringing sex into a budding relationship and this disclosure MUST happen only when you’re certain you can trust that individual with your diagnosis.

A Few Safe Sex Pointers (Just because)

  1. Condoms if well used during sex help to immensely reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
  2. Light kisses and tongue action where there are no sores pose no threat to either party
  3. Blow jobs are safe if open sores are not involved
  4. Rimming is safe if you’re aren’t aggressive in your approach to it and as usual if there are no sores.

PS: A nurse will be chipping into this series soonest. So hopefully with everyone’s contribution, we’ll shift the focus a bit from HIV concerns to other health issues affecting gay people.

Written by Francis

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