According to CDC,
- 9% of the men tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
- 28% of black, 18% of Hispanic, and 16% of white men tested positive for HIV.
- 44% of the men who tested positive for HIV had been unaware of their infection.
- 59% of black, 46% of Hispanic, and 26% of white men who tested positive for HIV were unaware of their infection.
- 63% of the HIV-positive men age 18-29 were unaware of their infection.
Does an HIV+ Gay Man face a more difficult time in entering the dating world and finding men to date? Let’s look at some statistics first about the HIV+ population in the United States.
1. Gay and Bisexual men of all races are the most affected by HIV.
2. More than one million people in the United States are living with HIV.
3. One in Five living with HIV are unaware of their infection.
4. Every 9.5 minutes someone in the US is infected with HIV.
5. By race, African Americans face the most severe HIV burden.
While changes in medicine have made living with HIV far more manageable in recent years, it is still a serious diagnosis that is not meant to be minimized. Many, if not most gay men hold full-time jobs, and manage amazing careers while being HIV+. In fact co-workers may not have any idea, or need any idea that this person is HIV+. In years past, many HIV+ men went on to claim Disability, especially when their T-Cells fell below 200. Going on disability is not as common today. Also there are many HIV+ men who are very healthy, and cite being HIV+ for 30 years now.
So what we have is a large segment of the gay population who are HIV+, and yet the statistics are unable to tell the exact numbers. There are 2 reasons for this lack of knowledge: 1) Many people are not openly gay, so we really don’t know how many gay men live in the United States or any other country. 2) As mentioned in the previous statistics, the government says that 1 in 5 people living with HIV are unaware of it.
So if an openly gay HIV+ man wants to date what does he do? He does the same thing as any other man, he has to start looking. He also needs to recognize whether he will date a non-HIV+ man. This is an interesting point, which many men spend great time considering. Most HIV+ gay men with whom the author has spoken, would only consider dating an HIV+ man. Yet the author has heard many times that HIV- men would definitely consider dating HIV+ men.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is a great source for the most current information about HIV and its numbers, risks, and everything you do or do not want to know about HIV. The part about Sexual Risky Behavior that they state is: “Sexual risk behaviors account for most HIV infections in MSM (Men Seeking Men). Anal sex without a condom (unprotected anal sex) has the highest risk for passing HIV during sex. It is also possible to become infected through oral sex, though the risk is significantly less than for anal or vaginal sex. For sexually active MSM, the most effective ways to prevent HIV are to limit or avoid anal sex, or for MSM who have anal sex, to correctly use a condom every time. Gay men are at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), like syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia, and the CDC recommends that all sexually active MSM be tested annually for these infections.”
Every gay man going out for a date, or just for a hook-up, must automatically assume that the other person is HIV+, even if it is not discussed. That would definitely determine your sexual behavior with that person. If you are HIV+ and meet another man who is openly HIV+, you still have to consider what is SAFE or RISKY behavior. Many gay men who are HIV+ have different views about safe or unsafe sex with another HIV+ person. Please talk to your infectious disease specialist about this, to formulate your decision about your sexual behavior.
Where Do You Meet Other HIV+ Men?
As stated before, if you live near a large city, go online and look up the gay community centers. (You don’t have to attend one of the many HIV+ support groups, but anything going on at the center involves gay men, and if you have decided to only date HIV+ men, there will be many to choose from.) Of course that doesn’t mean that you would necessarily choose to only date HIV+ men. That leads to the question of, “When do I tell them?” This is the most difficult dilemma facing many HIV+ men, who are either newly HIV+, or newly out of a long-term relationship and have never had to do this before.
Low self-esteem or low self-worth seems to be a limitation with a gay man when newly diagnosed with HIV, or newly out of a long-term relationship. This feeling of “I’m not good enough,” or “I’m damaged goods,” only gets in the way, and will attract someone who wants to rescue you, not be your equal. Read about self-esteem. Do an online questionnaire. If you allow yourself to let your HIV status degrade you, then you will never fully engage in life. You also run the risk of getting involved in some unhealthy and perhaps addictive behavior(s) to medicate your feelings.
If you feel your self-worth is a problem, seek professional help, or join a support group, or read some self-help books. Take action, though, as inaction will not change anything about your feelings or behavior. “Positive self-talk” is a behavior that a great many successful people have used to get through many tough situations. The more you hear yourself say positive things about yourself, the sooner you will likely believe it. There is much good to be said about the “Law of Attraction” and the “Power of Positive Thinking.”
Honesty is very important as a foundation of any new relationship. Everyone knows that. Yet HIV is such an intimate issue, and who wants to be rejected all of the time? So fear of rejection leads many HIV+ men to either stay home and not date, or only do hook-ups from their friendly hook-up websites, or anonymous sex sites, like bathhouses and book stores. Most men who engage in anonymous sex or website hook-ups don’t seem to care about risk, and yet some do.
The truth is that someone with HIV is no less or no better than someone without HIV. Measuring someone’s worth is certainly not done by looking at their health issues alone. We are complex creatures as gay men, and we can’t be put into a Label. We are at high levels of every occupation, perform invaluable jobs and tasks daily for society, raise children, go to school, play sports, and solve problems. We are in the government, and the military. We are in the police forces, the firefighters, education at every level, and the medical field. We are not our jobs or our careers though, but we are valuable human beings who cannot be plugged into a label.
HIV is just another medical issue that some compare to Diabetes. It needs care and monitoring, but should not interfere with us having a normal dating and relationship life. It is only our fears and negative views of ourselves that limit us. Give yourself permission to live life to the fullest by seeking others to hang out with, and perhaps that “special someone” will fall into place?
More Gay HIV dating information, please check http://www.hivpositivedatingsites.net