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Sunday 28 May 2006
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The truth about disclosure

In the brief period before my diagnosis and not long after another relationship with an unfaithful partner, I enjoyed a full spell of sexual encounters, parties, booze and drugs.

The narcotics somehow boosted my cause of never trusting, committing or letting my guard down again. One thing that I am grateful for was my common sense to at least use protection. Something I failed to do in my last relationship.

Occasional one-night stands and flirting were the order of the day and my encounters were nothing more than pieces of meat and the night-club became my butcher down the street.

I often wonder how many people I would have infected had I let the alcohol and drugs take over, as I've heard it sometimes does.

I remember swearing never to have sex again after my doctor told me I was HIV-positive. But sexual intercourse is what healthy people engage in. Even healthy HIV-positive people.

Maintaining celibacy is not as easy as it sounds. Even Catholic priests will confess to that.

But now, many years after my diagnosis, and with renewed hope of finding a meaningful relationship, I am struggling with whether or not to let the other person know about my HIV status from the beginning, when they do eventually come along.

Policy makers advocate for laws that should force people living with HIV and AIDS to disclose their status to unsuspecting partners in the event of a sexual encounter - however brief that encounter may turn out to be.

With statistics telling people that AIDS is all around us, shouldn't protection be commonplace, and every encounter seen as a possibility of contracting HIV?

From past experience, I have learnt that disclosure is not as easy as it sounds. I have seen emotions change from hot and wanton to cold and distant in the blink of an eye. Just at the mention of my HIV status.

I've told, and the other person has fled faster than I can say H-I-V, and I am left feeling guilty and filthy for having this disease.

I will not put myself through that rejection again. At least not for a casual encounter. And I refuse to feel guilty for enjoying something as natural as sex, even when I have not disclosed.

Why should I become the policy maker's tool for the education of "unsuspecting" partners at the risk of having my emotions ripped to shreds each time, and being left feeling alone and guilty for a disease that is not mine alone?

Forever Positive

Hayden Horner
[email protected]

Previous Entry :: All Diary Entries :: Next Entry
Diary Entries
Celebrity and HIV/AIDS: Limelight versus Social Responsibility
HIV/AIDS Coping Mechanisms: "What would a mayfly do?"
Beyond the Borders of HIV/AIDS Treatment Strategies
HIV/AIDS Feminisation: A new wine in an old bottle
Antiretrovirals - The Wind Beneath My Wings
The Mis-education of HIV/AIDS Clinicians
HIV Prevention 101: Ignoring the Church's views on condoms
Stigma and HIV/AIDS: lethal bedfellows
In remembrance of our women and children
Maids, madams and the "terrible thing"
Internet love and inter-related HIV-prejudice
Previously eyes-wide-shut on HIV and religion
Love, lies and disclosure
Black pot and blacker kettle
Things better left unsaid on the bus
Food for thought while waiting to die
Test results not all good
Diary speaks back

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