If you meet Mr. Right and he turns out to be HIV-positive, he’s still Mr. Right

If you meet Mr. Right and he turns out to be HIV-positive, he’s still Mr. Right

Earlier this year, Charlie Tredway was officially crowned Mr. Gay New Zealand 2017, but his accomplishment has been overshadowed by his HIV-positive status.Charlie-Tredway-Mr-Gay-New-Zealand

While campaigning for the title, Tredway was open about his HIV-positive undetectable status. He also talked about having condomless anal sex. As a result, he received quite a bit of backlash from critics. Now, one blogger is standing up for Tredway in a powerful new op-ed published by OUT in Perth.

“While the stigma Tredway faces in his highly publicized position (as Mr. Gay New Zealand) may seem pretty extreme,” Anthony K J Smith writes, “it is not dissimilar to the multiplicitous experiences of HIV stigma faced by everyday gay men.”

Smith mentions his friend Kane, who is HIV-positive. The two recently had coffee together. Smith recalls:

“Kane has sent me screenshots where guys on Grindr have sent him random messages such as “stop spreading HIV to everyone, you’re a sick fuck” and he’s even been accused of “lying” about his status when it comes up during text conversation when exchanging pics and discussing sexual practice, despite it being listed on his profile in the first place.”

“At some point I can sense in his voice that he doesn’t feel like anyone will ever love him,” Smith writes, “let alone have a few dates or casual sex with him.”

“He’s sick of countering myths, he’s sick of explaining the difference between HIV and AIDS, he’s sick of defending his right to have a pleasurable sex life, he’s sick of educating when he could be cruising. He’s sick, but not because of a virus, but because of a community that seems so far behind.”

Smith goes on to talk about how modern HIV treatment usually results in an HIV-positive person having a sustained undetectable viral load, rendering the virus non-infectious.

“This means that even if you don’t use condoms, the risk is thought to be negligible,” he explains. “PrEP and PEP aren’t even clinically recommended if your only sexual partner is HIV positive with an undetectable viral load.”

Ultimately, he says, “if you only limit your partners to guys who say that they are negative (or think that they are negative), and engage in condomless anal sex on that basis, you are putting yourself at a higher risk.”

Smith ends his op-ed with a call to action:

“I call upon my fellow HIV-negative guys to learn about HIV. To read up about stigma and disclosure. To think through your assumptions about HIV. To get tested. If you meet Mr. Right and he turns out to be HIV-positive, he’s still Mr. Right.”

“You can live a long and happy life together,” Smith concludes, “or just have a few casual fucks.”

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22 Comments

  1. Arabian Princess
    May 06, 05:38 Reply

    My grindr profile reads HIV+ with an undetectabe viral load and nobody messages me.lol…
    The only message I got was from someone encouraging me yo be strong and keep it up…
    the stigma is real

    • Francis
      May 06, 08:22 Reply

      Which kain experiment you dey run oh? Looking for true love ni? If na positive person come toast you nko?

        • Francis
          May 06, 08:45 Reply

          The problem lies in if you aren’t truly down with having something with someone who is HIV +ve. Dashing person hopes no dey funny

          • Pink Panther
            May 06, 08:47 Reply

            I hardly think anyone who updates on Grindr that he’s HIV positive and looking for love will be there to play.

            • Francis
              May 06, 08:49 Reply

              Unless AP is being serious sha. The way he put it up there it came off like a joke…to me

              • Bryce
                May 06, 21:51 Reply

                My bf is positive,and I’m serious about him.
                Not all of us are as stupid as you try to make out,Francis

                • Francis
                  May 06, 21:56 Reply

                  Now I’m completely lost. How I take offend you? You and AP dey date ni? I’m not understanding this aggression ??

                  • Bryce
                    May 06, 23:25 Reply

                    Lol
                    No aggression.

                    You were making it look like there’s none out there who would knowingly date a poz guy.
                    We plenty.
                    Being poz is mere medical detail to some of us.

                    • Francis
                      May 06, 23:45

                      That was not my intention at all oh. I see quite a number of serodiscordant couples in my clinic. Me too no send if Mr Right comes along and ticks every box. I only misinterpreted (I think) AP’s comment as something that could backfire if na games he dey play on Grindr.

                    • Bryce
                      May 07, 00:13

                      Okay

                      I don’t think AP was joking though

                    • Francis
                      May 07, 07:32

                      Apologies Arabian Princess. Do not be offended ?

  2. OJ
    May 06, 06:46 Reply

    One thing is to be open about your sexual orientation, another is to be open about your HIV status. Both come with a trailer-load of stigma.
    When will people ever learn to just LOVE???

  3. Sense8
    May 06, 07:14 Reply

    As someone living undetectably positively, I hardly give an extra toot about who says what, especially on Grindr. Those who love you will still love you regardless but before you feel that love, you need to love yourself. Being poz may not the best thing but it’s hardly the worst thing either.

  4. Jo
    May 06, 07:18 Reply

    The thing hard ooo

  5. Delle
    May 06, 07:47 Reply

    ““Kane has sent me screenshots where guys on Grindr have sent him random messages such as “stop spreading HIV to everyone, you’re a sick fuck” and he’s even been accused of “lying” about his status when it comes up during text conversation when exchanging pics and discussing sexual practice, despite it being listed on his profile in the first place.””

    Now this is just cruel.

    I guess the stigma would never go but one thing I’m quite sure of is that HIV would not cost me a potential Mr Right.

  6. Simba
    May 06, 09:27 Reply

    I have said it on this panel.. I Simba would rather shag with a known HIV positive individual on drugs and undetectable than with a random person of unknown status. There are current studies called undetectable =zero infection, let’s all read and get more updated. I am negative, but I know more positives and definitely has had more sex with positives than negatives, but I use PrEP. I ll rather find Mr right and find love than be lonely cus of HIV paranoia or ignorance. There are worse contagious and deadlier ailments out there than HIV,which we all gets exposed to on a regular basis either thru public transportation, in the church or taking holy communion.

  7. Quinn
    May 06, 09:30 Reply

    People need to learn! They talk of being open minded and yet don’t realise what it means.

  8. beejay
    May 06, 09:34 Reply

    The backwardness of this mentality after all this time is still off putting. If you love a person, doesn’t matter what they’ve got. All you become concerned with is seeing their happiness. The hypocrisy is so flimsy, it’s see through. So gay people want to be accepted as a part of society, but it’s OK for poz people to be ostracized? Huh!

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