On Feb 2nd, I’m leaving Toronto to spend the rest of the winter in Tel Aviv.
Repeatedly I’m asked why I’m I going. My response is, “Have you taken a look at the actual temperature outside?” Do I need to say more?
It is a modern and very western country. The one problem I do have being in Israel though is that, HIV stigma-wise, it’s like being in a time warp. When I was there before I got to know the original activist who went public with stories such as people clearing the area around him on the dance floor in a club or of former friends crossing the street when they saw him. There are about six locals that are willing to go public. This was in 2013. Attitudinally they are in the early 90s, pre-medication era.
The way they operate is to bury their collective heads in the sand as far and deep as they possibly can go. This is why infection rates in gay men went up a whopping 55 percent between 2005 & 2013. They say in 2011 there were 150 gay men diagnosed. To me that number sounds low, and suggests that perhaps many aren’t getting tested. If so there are a lot of guys with “acute infections” claiming to be negative.
And yet, it is those like me who don’t hide it their status that pay the price for prejudice and fear. Sometimes I think I should just not say anything. If that’s the game they play, then why not just go by their rules? The problem is that I’m never comfortable about that. Non-disclosure would have to be a one-off event with no more contact thereafter. I’m not so sure I like that idea.
One Skype conversation with a fellow my age in Israel went like this:
“Wow you are so honest?”
“Not really, it’s just informs the context of many things for me.”
“Well how does that work then?”
“How does what work?”
“Having sex with someone who isn’t”
“It works the same as anybody else.”
“I know safe sex, but I’d be constantly worried in the back on my mind.”
All I can think of is ”just shoot me know”. Because I don’t hider it, I have to deal with all the bullshit that goes with it. In all my years I haven’t dealt with so much rejection.
The irony about this is that I have HIV-negative friends who will never go to Israel or the Middle East because of the conflicts. Yet they’d happily suck my cock. Now there’s irony.Locals there are perfectly OK with serious conflicts and war, but don’t let that undetectable cock near you!
In fact, guys don’t have the slightest clue about what undetectable is.
So this one guy will make a great friend there, but there will be no sex. Sometimes it’s just nice to spend a night together to cuddle, and share some intimacy that doesn’t have to be hardcore sex.
If I want to get laid I’m not sure what I’ll do. I’m very popular on the local hook up site, pre-disclosure, that is. So I have put on my profile that I’m only looking for guys to hang out with. Doing stuff and getting to know someone is more important than a 30-minute shag.
Last year, I met up with one guy. I had my status in my profile. I told him to read it and tell me he was cool. A few moments later he wrote back saying he’s cool. We fooled around a bit once. He basically sucked my cock for the most part. Then I got a message after putting a link to my blog here. “I didn’t know you were positive, I’m shocked. I guess I’m a bit worried.”
I let out all my frustration out on him. “What do you mean? I told you to read my profile. I’m even more shocked that coming from such an HIV-rich area that you think I’m your first, and that we did anything that was risky. Do you understand what that risk is, or the fact I’m undetectable?.”
Admittedly I wasn’t feeling very tolerant. He said “It’s(the risk has) always been theoretical.” My reply was, “It stops being theoretical the moment you put a dick in your mouth.”
I love being in Tel Aviv. It’s an amazing place for me. It’s somewhere I can escape to and feel spiritually connected to. The guys are super hot, which is another frustrating thing.
I sometimes think “if I weren’t positive I’d be meeting up with a lot of sexy guys. But I am, and it feels as if the door is shut on me to be able to fully enjoy being there as others do.”
Hopefully I’ll meet someone with whom I can make a connection. It’s nice to have those moments. It will only happen with those who want to hang out and get to know me first.
Anyway, I’m so much looking forward to my trip. It’s just that I’m just very confused and frustrated in navigating my status with others. Maybe a better strategy would be to stop taking my testosterone and be more interested in regular tourism.
In any event I’ll keep writing about this subject and see how it goes. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.