As the cold continued to descend upon the greater northeast, I decided to abandon New York City and escape the Polar Vortex for something a bit warmer. So, I whisked myself away on my first solo vacation and found myself on the gay friendly Caribbean island of Curaçao. Now, what is the first thing we do when going to a new place? If you guessed "use our gentleman socializing applications to see what the natives are like" you are correct!
Don’t get me wrong; I spent so much time lounging on various lush beaches, swimming, snorkeling, and reading by the pool while drinking frozen drinks that I now have a new favorite come-on line: “Do you wanna see my tan lines?” But I also managed to meet some very interesting people on that small island, some of whom I fooled around with and some who I just hung out with. In my short time there, I met two different guys who were both HIV-positive and shared the same views on disclosing their status: they didn’t.
I have written about my views on informing prospective partners about my status on various occasions in the past. For those who are new to me, I will give you the ”Readers Digest” version of my views: (Disclaimer: Please understand that this is my personal view and I respect that it isn’t for everyone.)
Regardless of being undetectable or not, regardless of what medication I am on, regardless or what kind of relationship the physical interaction is stemming from, and regardless of the legal implications, I feel the need to tell my status before anything physical happens.
It is true that everyone out there has to take care of themselves, but for me taking care of myself is being open. Yes, this leads to some rejections and maybe it is the lapsed Catholic in me, but it is the only way that I can live with myself without feeling incredibly guilty.
These two guys never disclosed because of the fear that the news would spread through the tiny island like wildfire. I never contemplated that sharing my status would be an easier option for me since I live in one of the biggest cities in the world. After all, it is a rarity that I will ever see someone who I’ve been rejected by ever again in my life. I never thought about what my views would be if I lived someplace with an extremely small population. Cause we all know there are some people out there who just like to gossip! The smaller the population, the faster things can get around. We all remember what Jennifer North said in The Valley of the Dolls… “You know how bitchy fags can be!”
I understand their reasoning and I honestly don’t know what I would do in that kind of situation. I know this can be a hard subject to talk about without ruffling some feathers here or there, but I want to hear about YOUR philosophies on the act of telling your status. Is it something you continually worry about? Do you have strict rules?
Forget about what I think. Forget about what is legal. Let’s just start a dialogue.
To Tell or Not To Tell: Part 1