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For Our Relationships

– I think we can be honest ’cause sex feels good.

We can’t get away from– (men talking simultaneously)

We can’t get away from that.

When I think sex, everything else is gone. I’m not thinking about money, I’m not thinking about bills, I’m not thinking about HIV, I’m thinking about some booty.

We don’t have that kind of conversation enough about sex to talk about HIV, you know what I mean? It’s like we wanna talk about the pie, but we don’t wanna talk about making it.

– I’ve been in situations, we’re about to have sex, and I’m sitting there thinking, well, is he gonna pull out a condom? Should I pull out a condom, or is this gonna even be discussed? And especially in my younger days, I would just wait to see what they did, and that’s what guided me, and look where it got me, so…

– The only time I’ve ever had the conversation is when it’s coming to someone about to have sex with or something like that. That’s about the only time that I ever see it come up.

– And it’s too late when you’re already in the bed, when it’s about to go down. (laughs)

– No, it’s true, though.

– When it’s about to happen–

– [Unison] Go down! (laugh)

– What I had to realize was that it only takes one time of not being safe that this really can happen to anyone. It happened to me.

– I protect myself. Even though you’re HIV positive or on meds or not or taking care of yourself or not, I can’t change the way I protect myself for you. If I’m going to use condoms, it’s because I’m gonna use condoms. It’s not because you’re HIV positive. It’s because I come with condoms.

– I wish I would’ve known to protect myself, to take responsibility for my own actions. I guess I thought it was up to the other person to share his status and the other person to use protection.

– It’s so important to be safe and to use condoms every time.

– I think condoms should enhance sex, what works well and what feels good. And you try to get people to want to prevent disease by wanting to enhance their sex.

– My partner and I take our protection equally seriously, and so if I don’t whip out the condoms, he does.

– It’s completely a two-way street. You can’t be holding someone accountable to know their status and not be holding yourself accountable.

– Right, right. – Don’t wait for them to bring it up. Don’t be scared to ask them their status, and don’t be scared to even go get tested with them. That’s a great way to begin a relationship.

– I have a friend that, just the other day, I was talking to him about my status. And he was saying that he got tested for the first time a month ago. And I’m like, girl, you’re older than me. And he’s like, well, I’ve been in relationships, so I don’t need to get tested. And I’m like, how does that logic work for you? (laughs) That doesn’t make any sense to me.

– Because they think once that you’re in a committed relationship, that the other person is committed just as well.

– I know, and it’s but how many times have you been in a committed relationship where you haven’t been committed or you found out that this other person wasn’t committed?

– Right.

– It’s something that you should do together just to take care of yourself and to take care of each other.

– One thing from my boyfriend that I ask is that, if we’re gonna be together, he gets tested every three months. I want him to be safe as long as he’s with me. I don’t want to pass that along to anybody.

– Sometimes I feel like when I tell somebody that I’m HIV positive, that’s where the message ends. That’s all that they hear.

– To disclose it to somebody, I’m scared. Like I said, with my boyfriend right now, I was scared to disclose it to him. You’re scared of that rejection. You always have to be mentally prepared to be rejected.

– But we shouldn’t have to feel that way.

– Yeah, I agree, I agree.

– We shouldn’t have to feel like, because of what I’m going through, you’re going to just want to have nothing to do with me.

– I’ve never been disclosed to. I’ve always been the proactive one that says what’s your status? The majority of the people that I’ve dated have all been positive, and none of them have volunteered that information because they were like you, very afraid that I’m gonna run away or have issues or all those kind of things.

In chapter one (of three), “For Our Relationships”, seven guys discuss HIV when it comes to sexual and romantic relationships. With all we know today, and all the tools available, it is possible to have a safe and healthy sexual relationship between someone who is living with HIV and someone who is not. We just need to know our status and discuss the ways we can protect each other.