Last week, the LGBT website Queerty published an article that has since been going viral on social media, provocatively titled “What you stand to lose by not having sex with people with HIV.”
As the title suggests, the article by David Hudson intends to dispel a stigma attached to HIV-positive individuals (primarily gay men), arguing that people should be open to sexual relations with them. The article begins by envisioning an idyllic couple who complement each other in so many ways only to have that relationship cut short upon one discovering the other to be HIV-positive.
“The sex is mind-blowing. It helps that Todd’s around 20% top and 80% bottom and Carl’s the opposite. They just click. They make that ridiculously cute couple that others envy,” Hudson writes. “Except it never happened. Despite both catching each other’s attention on an app, Todd and Carl never went for that first date … See, Todd stated on his profile that he’s HIV positive. And when he messaged Carl, he wasn’t rude, but he simply responded, ‘Sorry, not quite what I’m looking for.’ And with that, a relationship that would have changed both their lives disappeared into the ether.”
While David Hudson understands some of the concerns individuals might have about having sex with an HIV-positive individual and grants that “everyone has the right to take responsibility for their sexual health,” he nonetheless implores his readers to think about “the potential consequences of your particular decisions.”
“If someone is HIV positive, knows their status, is on effective medication and has consistently had an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass on the virus,” argues Hudson. “PrEP is also widely available in the US and several other countries to prevent people from acquiring HIV. And condoms are also, of course, widely available.”
“I know a couple of long-term serodiscordant couples,” he continues. “A serodiscordant relationship is one in which one partner is HIV positive and one is HIV negative.”
Beyond that, Hudson lists an AARP survey from last year that showed “57% of gay men over the age of 45 are single compared to 39% of lesbians,” arguing that this high degree of loneliness might be cured if a few people were not so willing to close themselves off to partners with HIV.
“So yes, take responsibility for your health and do what you feel is best for you,” he concludes. “But do so with an awareness of the potential consequences of those decisions. Refusing to entertain the idea of dating an HIV-positive person might just mean you miss out on the love of your life. If you find yourself single and contemplating why, bear in mind it might be because you blocked ‘Mr Right’ when you read he was HIV positive on Grindr. Of course, some will say, ‘My perfect man doesn’t HIV!’ Well, I hope you’re not too old before you realize: Nobody’s perfect.”
The article gained notable steam on social media when Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a sarcastic response to it, which prompted notable LGBTQ activists and allies to denounce for perpetuating a stigma against people with HIV.
“We’re days away from the 31st WORLD AIDS DAY and the President’s son is typing anti-science stigma inducing bull shit. There’s a special place in hell waiting for you junior,” tweeted ACT UP NY.
We’re days away from the 31st WORLD AIDS DAY and the President’s son is typing anti-science stigma inducing bull shit. There’s a special place in hell waiting for you junior. https://t.co/nbknNdApRB
— ACT UP NY (@actupny) November 23, 2019