SL Letter of the Day: Always Be Disclosing

Comments

1
Did someone hack Dan Savage's Slog account?????? Hacking aside, aren't there laws that make it a crime had she become positive and her partner knew he was positive but didn't disclose?
2
@ 1 - Only if it can be proven there was an "intent" to infect. But the truth is, any one who is "Poz" and is on trial for "intent" will NEVER have a jury of their peers and would probably be found guilty either way!
3
gee, just wondering how this guy became poz
4
that's effing ridiculous Dan.
If you ask someone if they are poz, and they say they aren't, then later admit they were, I don't care if you used 50 condoms layered on top of each other, it doesn't excuse the (criminal) lie.
I think not only should you not see this person again, you should hire some of your biggest friends to go and beat him up.
5
I would be mad if someone had herpes but didn't disclose at first because they didn't have any lesions at the time. I don't get how this is different.
6
Off with his head.
7
i get that he could have an undetectable viral load, but it still somehow doesn't make it any better. there's no cure for hiv and i don't think it's fair for one person to play god with another person, especially when asked directly. if he was ashamed, then he could've lied and not had penetrative or oral (with him receiving) sex. he was selfish and wanted to bone her. couldn't he have just eaten her out? then, a week from now, admit to the lie and there would've been much less difficulty in my believing his innocence.
8
I call bullshit.
9
Dan, I usually agree with your advice but are you fucking serious? You do not intentionally lie and possibly fuck up another person's health in the name of getting laid. This guy is a CRIMINAL. She should DTMFA, immediately get tested, and get a lawyer if it comes back positive. This guy is a self-absorbed asshole.
10
She asked him a direct question, a VERY IMPORTANT ONE, and he lied. It is a BIG DEAL. Viral loads, condoms, confessions aside, dude is a liar about a very important issue. Although, I like to ask important questions well before the unwrapping of the condom.
11
DTMFA and then report him to the cops.
12
There are little white lies, and then there are certain things you should simply not lie about, and HIV is one of them. So what if he desperately wanted to get laid? The fact is, if this woman decides to go back to this man, from now going forward she will have to deal with the fact that under stress, he will resort to lying about very important matters. I personally would find that to be too big of a burden in a serious relationship.
13
Sorry, but the pos guy wins third prize.

You wanna know what third prize is?
Third prize is You're Fired.
14
@ #2 lilrocker: by intent, or through recklessness or by negligence.
15
If this woman continues to see this guy, she's saying "it's totally ok to lie to me". Seems like a terrible way to start a relationship.

16
Agree with the other posters. He does not have the right to lie and risk HER health just to get laid.

Also, I don't understand this "poz-phobic" nonsense. It is an entirely sensible decision to refuse to fuck someone when fucking puts you at risk of catching an incurable and life-altering disease. And it is an equally sensible decision to dump the hell out of someone who put your health at risk just because he wanted to get laid.
17
Fuck that. If you have a disease, you need to disclose. Doesn't matter which disease it is or what the likelihood of transmission is. People have a right to make informed decisions about their health risks. If you have any respect at all for the person you're fucking, you'll allow them to make an informed decision. If someone pulled something like this with me, I'd beat the dogshit out of them.
18
If this was an I, Anonymous, most people would be thinking the guy is a creep.
19
unbelievable advice. all in the guise of appearing.... not poz-phobic? it think you've taken it a bit too far here.

long story short: the guy is a liar, on a grand scale. this was a big fucking lie. he'll keep lying. get out now.
20
I don't need to read Dan's response! You lie about having STD's, you deserve to get dumped! DTFA! You lie about having STD's, you're an asshole.
21
I wouldn't recommend her seeing him again. He basically told her a lie to get her into bed. This is not an auspicious beginning to a relationship.
22
@15 That's a really good point.
23
By lying to her, he prevented her from making an informed decision about whether or not she wanted to put her own health at risk. If that's not DTMFA-worthy, I don't know what is. If his viral load was low and he was taking all the right meds, he should have told her that as well, as that could only have helped his chances of getting laid at that point.

Also, wtf is with the "no, really" in that first sentence? Like it's somehow rare for dudes to have female friends that they aren't fucking?
24
Yeah, Dan, I'm not with you on this one. Supposing the best case scenario you cite in your reply, there is still a risk, albeit infinitesimal, that she could seroconvert. I don't think lying in response to a direct question about this, even if he's on antiretrovirals and undetectable under that condom, is OK or forgivable. I think this needs to be a teachable moment for both of them. He needs to work on honesty, and she needs a guy who will tell her all the risks the first time, not because he feels guilty later.
25
@5: Herpes doesn't kill people.
26
Way too kind, Dan. Way, way too kind.
27
As far as I know - willful exposure is illegal in most states and there are 3 categories of exposure: Intentional, Reckless or Accidental. If she does land up contracting HIV from this dickhead because the condom was faulty, it would usually be classified as accidental - although the fact that he was asked outright and lied about it might result in this case being classified as reckless. Even still, this shit would get really tricky in court because it's hard to prove you contracted HIV from Dick specifically, and not Tom or Harry.
28
@23 "My friend has this problem..." is a cliche misdirection used when the speaker has the particular problem and wants advice about it, but doesn't want to admit that he has it to the advisor.
29
@23 I think the "no really" refers to the fact that a lot of people automatically assume that the "female friend" or "I know this guy" is the actual letter writer.

Also, since Dan doesn't excuse the guy's actions, I think his main point is to point out that maybe this guy isn't a deliberate asshole, but someone who made a mistake (a really, really shitty one). The guy came clean so Dan is trying to foster a situation where she doesn't come down as hard on a guy who eventually was hones and thus discourages him from disclosing to future partners.
30
This, of course, is also proof that you should always play safe with new people, and not trust their assertions that no, they're negative. Because some people are like this and lie, and yet others don't know they're positive.

And brings to mind an ad campaign in SF that basically had thought bubbles coming out of two guys' who are getting it on, one being "he wants to fuck me bare, must mean he's negative likem me" and "he's letting me fuck him bare, he must be negative like me."

31
I almost always agree with Dan, or at least find humor in the response. However, in this particular case, I could not disagree more. She asked him a direct question about a potentially life changing act in a moment of extreme intimacy. He lied and put her health in jeopardy. F*ck that. DTMFA.
32
He lied outright. Not about whether or not he likes pizza, hiking or fucking reading books - he LIED about being HIV positive. DTMFA - I don't even know why we're having this discussion.
33
"Balanced what he knew about his health ... and condoms?" This isn't a generous take - it's just plain naive. Worst advice you've given in quite some time, Dan.
34
@17

Really? So then every person who has or who has ever had HPV must disclose? Cause that's 80% of women, I've heard. I've personally never had a positive HPV test, but I bet I've been exposed or had it at some point since the odds aren't on my side. And I also recall getting a cold sore on my mouth in the 5th grade. Must I give a deposition and confess these horrifying secrets (gasp!) to some dude right after he buys me a drink at the bar? I bet I should go to the doc, get tested, and get on meds, huh?

Really, Americans get so fucking WEIRDO about such little shit that it's borderline obsessive. Ok, I'm with the rest of you - HIV can kill you, so dude should've disclosed, but it's freakin' BIZARRE how paranoid Americans get over pointless little health shit. And you know why they do? Because when you're scared shitless about something, you go to a doc who MAKES MONEY OFF OF YOU, and then you go to a pharmaceutical company that MAKES MONEY OFF OF YOU to BUY some pills. It's in their best interest to keep you scared. Fear = PROFITS which is why Americans, unlike the rest of the world are stupidly scared about shit that no one else cares about. Yay, capitalism! Fear, fear, fear! Makin' the fat cats rich and you people are too dumb to see through it. But keep running out to the store to buy your pills and vitamins, people! Keep up the unnecessary visits to the doc! You're so dumb that you probably believe you need these things to live. Fat cats 1, You, 0.
35
You always *should* disclose your STDs. If you are asked directly, I think you *must*. (I'd even go so far as to say you should specifically disclose if you've been obviously exposed to something you haven't been tested for- there are millions of people who know their ex had herpes but maintain an insane belief that they themselves don't, because only unusually good people bother testing for asymptomatic herpes.)

Sometimes people do incredibly bad things for understandable reasons, but that doesn't make the things less bad. Sometimes they're forgivable, but to have it be right off the bat in a relationship? Tricking someone into sex? Lying about what, to her, might have been a condition for consent?
36
Disclosing would have been the right thing to do, but the guy is stuck in a terrible dilemma - if he starts doing the right thing, he will never get laid again. (Very very very few women would risk fucking a boy with AIDS.)
37
@36, that's kind of tough luck. Not saying poz people should stay home. Odds might be slimmer for them if they're up front, but that's the breaks. It's worth taking the high road when the well being of others is in question.
38
@17... I agree. @34... not so much.

An STD is an STD. At least one can be a death sentence in today's medical world, others can make you sick and while some are just an inconvenience, you must disclose, less your inconvenience becomes that partners whether asked or not. We all have a right not to be deceived. It's not about some "phobe"... it's our bodies. And respect.

Honestly, I think someone who is HIV positive, regardless of the viral load should always be up front. Let that partner know the risks. Educate that partner and if that means waiting longer for that partner to understand vs. risking that partner running for the hills, so be it. The one who understands and accepts the risk will be the one worth keeping anyway.
39
@ 2, 14 - It varies pretty widely by state what level of intent is required. Some places, like California, require an affirmative purpose to infect (which is damn near impossible to prove). Some places require that you know your status, not disclose, and not use protection. Some places, disclosure isn't even a defense if you engage in unprotected sex. Some states don't even have HIV-transmission statutes.

In any event, I think the fact that he did use protection would probably serve as a defense to criminal charges in most jurisdictions.

But the truth is, any one who is "Poz" and is on trial for "intent" will NEVER have a jury of their peers and would probably be found guilty either way!

That's what bench trials are for.
40
You don't expose someone to a deadly virus (even if the risk of transmission is very low) without them being informed. Cardinal rule here. What the poz guy did is ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY.
DTLMFA.
41
You know, Mary, who was a carrier of disease, didn't think she should stop working as a cook, too.

But that's why we call her Typhoid Mary.

And this poor girl's "lover" is the same.
42
@34: I agree with your take on Americans - we have an unhealthy case of OCD around germs and disease and hygiene that is caused largely by corporate influence, not just the medical industry but by companies that make cleaning products such as Purell. There are still a few of us left who don't mind shoes in the house, our kids playing in the dirt, and eating a bagel that briefly fell on the ground, but we are vanishing quickly.

You've probably also noticed that Americans jump at any opportunity to judge, condemn, and lock people up. We're not much into empathy. If the comments here aren't evidence enough, please see the Jerry Springer Show.
43
A lot of "ifs" in that response, Dan - he may be raging high on his viral loads. It's a bitch when you have something that denigrates you in the eyes of someone else, but life's a bitch sometimes. He is poz - must fes up immediately when asked, do some educating, and move on. DTMFA.
44
@34 Totally with you on the HPV! Americans are so stupid! I totally don't get why they care about cervical cancer!

45
I actually like Dan's advice here. He's not giving advice to the HIV positive guy (which would be: please, please disclose and never, ever, ever lie about your HIV status), nor the to the would-be girlfriend (this is a serious breech of trust and must be treated like one: you should seriously consider not dating the guy, but if you want to try to start a relationship after this, you need to insist on seeing his viral load results, and he has to earn your trust from a starting point of no trust), but to the friend of the would-be girlfriend. The friend already told the girlfriend that she shouldn't date this guy, and I assume that the friend is asking Dan a question to get more ammunition to try to convince the would-be girlfriend that she absolutely, positively is not allowed to date this guy. If the friend had easily convinced the would-be girlfriend, there were be no question here. Dan is helping the friend deal with the likely possibility that the friend won't be able to convince the would-be girlfriend not to date this guy. From that perspective, I think it's great advice.
46
@37
Human males being what they are, I guarantee that most men would do exactly the same thing this guy did at least once if they found themselves in this guy's dilemma. We just aren't wired to voluntary abstain from sex for a lifetime, and all of your condemnation won't change that.
47
@44 You've confused "care about" with "obsess about" - it's an important difference.
48
Most of you are being too absolutist.

Yes, yes, yes, in a perfect world, anyone with an STD would always disclose to potential partners each and every time.

But in the real world, guys lie to girls every day of the week to get laid. This is not the first guy to lie about his HIV status, nor will he be the last.

If you are thinking of having sex with someone, you have some responsibility to protect yourself. Asking him if he is clean is not adequate to protect yourself. In the real world, I'd guess you have about a 50/50 chance of being lied to.

I'm not saying that I approve of his lying. I am saying that I understand why he might lie. A lot of guys would lie in the same situation. It's human nature.
49
did no one yet mention that condoms sometimes break?

because they do.
50
@ 28...and everyone - i just received this link in my in box, from said friend, whom I just confided in the night before about the referred to situation. Because it is actually me, and not the author of this letter - i'd like to actually thank Dan for his calm and respectful response.

In retrospect, after the "dick" told me, I was in shock, and probably still am in denial of how serious this actually is. HIV is no laughing matter, no matter if you are undetectable or not, and the issue really is, he lied to my face, and is thissomeone I want in my life, HIV or not.

He is someone I have known for years, and when I mentioned if he had anything I should be worried about, he lied to me. YES, for most of you, that is the deal breaker. However, if the lie was about anything OTHER than an STD, or one of this particular magnitude, it would probably be forgivable. Because it's HIV, there's a giant social stigma attached, and although In his mind knowing that he has an undetectable load, and that he had minute chances of passing it along, he probably was weighing the odds of how much he liked me. Sounds silly coming out of my fingers as I write, but I get it. Was probably hard for him to say - but as most of you had said, and to be honest, is how i feel - I don't give a fuck what the moral implications are - you were asked a question on an issue you should have disclosed with the person you just asked to be in a relationship with. (yes - we are together....as of now.)

Is it forgivable, this lie. Yes, i think it is. Lord knows I have been forgiven for past hiccups i've had in my previous relationships, though non were life threatening. (though one guy said he'd die without me, though I hardly think that counts)

Him having HIV hasn't change my outlook on him, though it is a blessing that it is undetectable, and that I always practice safe sex. Yet having sex is always risky. There are always factors at hand that we come out of coitus saying, "did it break", "am I pregnant", i for sure have herpes. (maybe that's just how many girls, like myself, minds works. And i swear i am a good lil' girl)
We have a meeting set up for me to meet his Dr. (and I have made separate plans to meet mine) for me to learn more. He lied. Yes. Is it forgivable. Probably not, especially since it is something that can be potentially life threatening. Is this the right way to start off a relationship - probably not. And by all that I have read and all that I am saying - it's a giant red flag. I get that. But I have fallen in love with someone. And that makes it complicated.
The issue is - Do I want to play russian roulette with my life. I am young, healthy (fingers crossed) and have everything going for me. DO I want to risk my life for this guy.

This issue has brought about more self-processing and self - digging in myself rather than at him and his issue of having HIV and lying to me. Am I the sort of person that can be with someone that has HIV - poz phobia aside (and I think that's a horrible, it's 2010 - )

Am I being to kind to him? Probably. Can I be with him? probably not.

PS. @ 34 - you have a lot to learn. He is not American. HPV is serious. I have had it - it was cancerous - I had to get my entire cervix scraped out -

PPS. @ 36 - AIDS is a completely different thing than HIV. Education is one's best survival. At best.
51
Dan has obviously gone nuts and the evidence is here before or eyes.

HIV is not any other STD. There's no guarantee that the drugs will work with an infected person so even accidental, naively-intentioned infection can result in death. No person should have that power over another whether they have been asked by that other person or not. Let's say for argument's sake that one person had a mutation giving their vagina or anus razor-like teeth that usually lay dormant but with a 1 in x chance of shredding someone's dick during fucking. Should that person disclose that prior to fucking? After all it's not even going to result in death. Get real, you got HIV you must disclose. You've been asked and you lie, you're not just a jerk, you're a potential killer.

DTMFA
52
Really bad advice sorry Dan. Dump the asshole. Also "poz-phobic" is a ridiculous term, try changing it to "totally rational" or "people with HIV shouldn't be allowed to have sex without full consent and disclosure, ever."
53
@ 34,

HPV and Herpes ain't HIV/AIDS, sugar. If it was you who (potentially) got exposed by some slimy, lying creep, I doubt you'd be an apologist. Personally, if it were me, the guy would never have this problem again because I'd remove his gonads with a lemon zester.
54
@50 Is it forgivable, this lie. Yes, i think it is.

Thanks for posting this - it provides a nice human contrast to all the perfect, virtuous, self-righteous neanderthals here thrilled by the chance to cast the first stone.

Also, sorry for the AIDS/HIV slip up, though it doesn't change my point - very very few women will have sex with a straight boy with HIV.
55
Fellow commentators, "The Best Friend" (@50) is now dating this guy. It's already happened, she's already made an appointment to see the guy's doctor, and her own. Dan is helping her friend to be able to be a supportive friend through this, instead of blindly and repeatedly yelling "DTMFA, DTMFA, DTMFA" at the maybe-not-best-friend-for-long in that situation.
56
What a bunch of bullshit. Unbusride.
57
Seriously, if the viral load was undetectable, and has been undetectable, and he used a condom, then he was most likely NOT endangering her. Virtually impossible to catch HIV under those circumstances.

I'm not saying it was OK to lie... just that there seems to be alot of misinformation and alot of old information... HIV medications have come a long way...
58
Hmm. It actually changes my opinion somewhat that the two of them have known each other for years. Before I knew that, I was thinking, well, maybe this guy knew there was an extremely minimal chance of transmission, and thought for one night, this one time, I won't disclose, since I don't think this is actually going to go anywhere. And then, he realized he really does like her, wants to take it further, and then has to disclose. So, basically, he lies to someone he doesn't know to get laid, but then, whoops, wants a relationship.

But... that's not what happened. If he knew her... and knew that there was the possibility of a relationship... hmm. That makes the lying worse in my mind.
59
I like how the comments always die down in these threads after the people behind the letters write back. It's almost like there are real people behind the stories and not faceless idiots or straw men. For just a moment there is a pause in the trolling as people's empathy circuits get tripped. Then it's back to business as usual.
60
why are we assuming this guy is on the right meds and has an undetectable viral load? If its in the letter I missed it. I mean if you can't be responsible enough to tell your partner you have a disease that can kill her why would he be responsible enough to take care of himself. "he was horny" is not a valid excuse for putting her health on the line. Neither is "boys lie". Yes she had a responsiblity too, to ask if she should be worried and to use a condom either way. She did that. If he could lie about something this major (and it is major, even with all the spiffy treatments they have now) he could lie about anything. DTMF.
61
I have not in all these years disagreed so strongly with Dan. It's kind of disorienting, actually.

I agree you don't always have to disclose but you do have to protect. And I don't think every lie is a DTMFA offense. But HIV status? Directly asked? He knew what she was asking, he knew what the correct and truthful answer was, and he gave her a lie instead. Understandable? Yeah, actually. He wanted to get laid, HIV positivity is stigmatized, and he was probably scared on a lot of levels. Is it *acceptable*? No. No way.
62
epic fail danny

"his desire for intimacy"?

bullshit.

try "his desire for SEX".

lying is a poor path to "intimacy".
63
It took the love of my life two weeks of non-stop sex before he admitted, under some duress, to being HIV. I used condoms every time (which was almost every day for three years), and I'm not HIV. He was a wonderful human being, I've never met anyone who comes close to him. He taught me the true meaning of love and respect, which has nothing to do with "full and immediate disclosure". He also taught me, indirectly, not to be an idiot about HIV, which is after all a fact of life in this day and age.

He didn't disclose because he knew the consequences: no sex ever anymore. Would I have had sex with him if I had known it beforehand? I don't know. I do understand his motives. And I'm so glad he didn't disclose, because I might have lost the chance to experience the best time of my life.

I'd really like to see what those self-righteous morons who posted here would say about this if THEY were HIV.
64
After "no sex ever anymore", I should have added : "No chance for love or affection ever."

But I guess I was too pissed off to think clearly.
65
Enjoy your AIDS.
66
@#35 Asymptomatic herpes is not something that most doctors will test for... according to 3 doctors of my acquaintance unless you have had an outbreak and until you do have that first outbreak you don't "HAVE" herpes... I know that is not something that most people will understand...I had a hard time with that fact myself thus why I have asked 3 doctors not just one... but the case in point is... herpes doesn't show up until your immune system is compromised in some way, lowers and allows you to have an outbreak... this may not happen for years after the exposure, or it may happen right away... unless you are a virgin or have only had sex with one partner you have no real way of knowing who gave it to you... And that has been stated by numerous doctors to me as well...People think they know the facts about stds... They don't they know the propaganda... the lily white thought that it will always be okay and if it's not then I will know who gave this life altering shit to me... the fact is you don't always know, and it doesn't always work out the way you think it will.
67
I know this harsh, but I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who put other people in danger
Condoms do break and we don't kind of sex they engaged in
If she gave him a bj I doubt she used a condom
We don't know that his viral loan was undetectable
Social stigma, yeah right, was he going to cover the woman's treatment if she tested positive and didn't have health insurance or couldn't pay for the required drugs
Dan gave the guy the benefit of doubt, how generous of him, but then it wasn't his life or health that was put at risk
We don't know what prompted his disclosure, did he get some bad news from his doctor regarding his viral load
Bottom line, the guy made a decision he had no right to make
If you have any communicablentagious disease and are aware of it, you have an absolute moral obligation to inform any person who may contract the disease
68
My husband is HIV-positive. I am not. I test every 3 months like clockwork. We have been together almost 9 years. He disclosed his status to me the first time we fucked, before our dicks were out of our pants, before I even had a chance to ask (and I always did). I had other partners before him that did not, and lied, and I hated their fucking guts for it when I found out later - not because of their status, but because of the deliberate lie. But me and my hubby are nearly 9 years goin' strong. Disclose. It's a legitimate health issue. It matters. Your potential fuck (and maybe more, who knows what's down the road) deserve the respect. And for fuck sake, wear a condom regardless. I'm living proof they work.
69
@34 -not to be a prick, but just in case it hasn't been said.. you have the herpes virus. anyone who's ever had a cold sore (no matter how long ago) has it. Does that mean you need to freak out and warn every potential bar hookup? Of course not. But you need to be clear in your own head that youve got it, so that if your lip starts tingling you recognize it could be a cold sore and dont kiss or go down on anyone. Because it might be "pointless little health shit" to you.. one sore years ago.. but the people who are exposed might not have one sore in years. The virus that causes you so little trouble could be an every-other-week outbreak for someone else. And thats the person who will pay $15 per pill to treat it.
70
Ricardo, be honest, what would your response have been if you had become HIV positive or worse. There are no guarantees and condoms do break. You refer to your partner in the past tense. Is he still alive? You outcome was life affirming, not everone is so lucky.
71
@66, a lot of people don't know when they have an outbreak with herpes - it's not that they're asymptomatic, they just misidentified the symptoms. Hell, I go running to the doctor at the first sign of symptoms, and haha, turns out I just have some very interesting skin allergies. That's been lot of fun over the years. Everything I've read - and all the doctors I've interrogated - has said that symptoms might never show up, but antibodies show up in the blood by between 6 months to a year. It's been pretty consistent.

Now HPV, that's all over the board. I get a different answer from every doctor I've spoken with. So who the heck knows what to do with that? I think they all develop their own little pet theories about it.

For my part under the right circumstances I could forgive failure to disclose almost anything EXCEPT HIV, especially after being asked about it directly. I don't care how low your viral load is, how much protection you're using, how lonely you are. You have a disease that can kill someone, and you really don't know what your partner is going to do or what kind of scenarios may arise. As other people have pointed out here, condoms break. Heck, blood gets spilt (even in vanilla sex). Pretty much anything else (except I guess somethign like hep C), is just a nuisance - I'm not sure I absolutely would forgive it if it was transmitted with knowledge, but there's a chance. HIV, not so much.

Would I walk away from someone with HIV whom I wanted a relationship with? Probably not. However, I'd want to go in with my eyes open, not have it sprung on me after the fact.
72
@69. Agreed. I get cold sores a couple of times a year, and I guarantee I would not kiss or go down on someone if I have one, or think I'm getting one (and I would tell them why). It's not a life-threatening condition, but damn does it suck.
73
@69, dead on, man. My best friend, who is now dead from a lifelong genetic disease, contracted genital herpes from a boyfriend who didn't think he needed to disclose. Meh, not a HUGE deal for most people, I guess, right? But FOR HER it meant adding another medication to her already massive drug cocktail, it meant a greater chance of a lowered immune system that could endanger her life, it meant a heck of a lot of inconvenience for someone who already carried a burden most of us can't even imagine. Heck, odds are the person you're screwing doesn't have a life-threatening health condition already and would have told you if they did, but you don't know for sure what their personal biology and health history is - just as they don't know yours. Full disclosure is the way to go.

I think we are way too hung up on STDs as 34 argues, but their tone was way too dismissive - people should be more relaxed, but that doesn't mean you get to take away someone's right to make an informed decision. Incidentally, I don't have herpes, genital or oral, according to repeated blood tests over several years (see mention of spectacular skin allergies above) - so not EVERYONE has it. And actually, given that it can be harmful to newborns and all my friends are having babies, I'm kind of concerned about contracting oral herpes at this point in my life.

But one of the things that has got me a little puzzled here is this attitude that "OMG he just wanted to have sex, so it's understandable" that keeps showing up in this discussion, if only by implication. Um, no. Look, I'm very sex positive (a little too much so according to a few exhausted boyfriends), but I can get by without it just fine. Physically, I can please myself quite well, thankyouverymuch, and I've learned how to develop emotional intimacy with people outside of romantic/sexual relationships. I'm single now and have been for a while, and I don't sleep with someone unless I'm in a relationship with them. I don't really feel there's anything lacking in my life, even if I enjoy being part of a couple when it happens for me. You don't NEED sex to live, even if it's pretty darn wonderful. If you can't put on your big-boy pants and be honest with your partners like a grown up, then do us all a favor and withdraw from the arena.

@50, it was just sex. But he put it over your safety. You sound like you're taking a really sane and adult approach to this, but damn. Please forgive me for being intrusive, but your reaction to his wrong against you basically just underscores the fact that you deserve so much better.
74
He is HIV positive and he didn't tell her? I don't care how low her chances were of contracting it. He has an obligation to tell her. Before he bangs her.
75
DTMFA.

Yes, people lie to get other people to have sex with them. Once that lie is discovered, sane people get the hell out.

76
@ 73 - I appreciate it. I wrote back only to get feed back. i'm put in a precarious situation because I do really like him, and think we could have something wonderful together - but I do deserve better -
I had dinner tonight with said "dick" after all the hullabaloo of this article went down. I asked him, point blank, "why, when I asked you, if you had an STD or anything I should be worried about, and you said no, WHY, when giving ORAL, WHY THEN did you not disclose this information" - he said, and i'm paraphrasing, but it's almost verbatem, "because I'm not SICK, I don't have something that I can pass to you, having an undetectable viral load, I'm not at risk to make you at risk" maybe this is true - but I can't help but think all he was saying was ME ME ME. there was never an implication of how I fit into the equation. So maybe what Dan, this "dick" and his DR. says is right - i'm not at risk - so to speak. it is, with the correct protection and education - virtually impossible to be exposed to it - but I cant' help but think - what if I am - what happens then? what if it's not just about the sex - what if blood is mixes at some other moment in time? SHOULD I be at risk because He didnt make an informed decision somewhere down the line and now is infected? Should I be sensitive because, after the fact, it could happen to anyone? BUT at the end of the day - I have one life - one. There are a lot of ignorant haters on this site that, albeit love their enthusiasm for being on "my side" for not being told the truth before having sex because, let's face it - I could have been in real danger - and what then - my life changes. Ruined? probably not - as mentioned - they have come a long way with HIV medication - but changes, none the less. Moral obligations aside - it's a hard decision to make. who doesn't like to have sex? BUT this is truly an eye opener and an experience I hope no one has to encounter in their lives -
it truly is a testament as I read everyone's comments, how UNINFORMED people are about STS, HIV/AIDS, and their prevention or treatment. the night he told me, I didn't sleep, staying up all night, reading EVERYTHING about HIV, including the most recent study out of Switzerland about how an undetectable viral load is virtually impossible to pass along. but the word virtually scares me. Wouldn't it scare you? it's the little words like, almost, nearly, about - these are quantitative reasoning words, not exact, 100% factual words. Do I want to be MAYBE okay. Do I want to be VIRTUALLY not at risque. IT's not about guys lying to girls or guys wanting to fuck - girls - you do to, otherwise most of you wouldn't have written in such spiteful and accusatory hate mail of sorts. You've been in that situation, clearly - you have been able to make the informed decision to say YES i will have sex, or NO - as I said before - thank GOD when I decide to have sex - I CHOOSE to use a condom. Informed or not - it's my right as a woman to fuck or not, to be safe or not - and whether he was a one night stand that I was safe with or not, that confided in me, or not is another issue. How many of us have been in that precarious position of WISHING we weren't as drunk or WISHING we had just said NO - or WISHING we had the balls to weed between his BULLSHIT and say YES to that condom - or NO I WILL NOT WITHOUT ONE. We women are just at fault as men are of passing shit on if we are not wise in how we govern ourselves. i'm starting to sound too preachy, but I do hope you get the point. Life is not easy - otherwise none of use would be on this site (and thanks to My Best Friend - I wouldn't have been introduced to this site, a forum for those to express themselves freely about intimate subjects) BUT I feel before those that speak out like DTMFA (which, i must admit, i had to call my friend and ask what that meant) we should understand the facts - there's more to life than Lies and STDs. Though, when you're in this situation, it doesn't seem like there is.
BOTTOM LINE - life is too short not to know the facts. He should have told me. I'm 27. I'm young. And smart. I need to grow the balls and say "I deserve better than this". WE ALL DO.
77
Dan is feeling very generous today.
78
Dan and @63, @64, etc.

Fuck that. Failure to disclose is battery, at a minimum, and may be classifiable as a form of sexual assault.

It's baffling to me that people here are talking about being poz-phobic as if it's a form of bigotry. Not shaking hands with someone who is HIV+ is bigotry. Not sharing a drink with someone who is HIV+ is bigotry. Not letting someone who has a deadly communicable disease fuck you is not bigotry. It's common sense. Depriving someone of the right not to take that risk is immoral and criminal. Someone who does it should be charged, convicted, and jailed.

And just as a point of order -- the cocktail is not a cure, and it is not entirely safe. I have known people who have been on the cocktail for years who just drop dead for no apparent reason. Sometimes it's heart trouble. Sometimes it's a stroke. And the drugs haven't been around long enough for us to have a clear picture of what their long-term effects are, let alone how the virus will respond to them over time. Fifty years from now, we could all be looking back on the era of the cocktail as nothing more than a pharmacological interlude, prior to the advent of the strain of the virus that the cocktail is ineffective against.

Twenty years ago, there was no cocktail. Twenty years before that, there was no HIV -- or no HIV that we were aware of, anyway. The timeline of changes in the evolution of this disease is incredibly short, and it's dangerous and short-sighted to pretend that the solution we have in place right now represents any kind of status quo.

Don't just dump the motherfucker already -- press charges.
79
@50: So few people here have listened to you, and it seems like your friend didn't either. The fear of HIV is so instinctual, it can be hard to imagine rationally making the choice you have made.

What a tough and courageous decision you are living with. I send you all of my hopes and well wishes that you two manage to experience happiness and health on this journey. I think that meeting with both his and your doctors is a good decision. Love really is worth any risk, and your years of friendship probably means that you have decent insight into whether this guy is the chance you are taking.

Be well. Write back in a year or so to let us know how you're doing.
80
I'm thinking about this not for myself, but because I have kids, and it won't be very long before they're out there being sexually active. The idea that someone would decide that, when asked about potential STDs, the fact that their STD is under control is good enough to say "no, I don't have any", just makes my blood boil. What if my son's lover had done this, or my daughter's?

Unacceptable. Immoral. Unethical. Disclose, explain, describe, and take the consequences. Any moral person would do this. Anyone who doesn't is immoral.
81
A.) I totally agree with #78, and B.) You are SO full of shit on this one Dan. Flat out.

I recently chatted with a poz guy who is one of the kindest and most aware people I have ever met. If I were located closer to him, I'd date him, because he was honest enough to admit who he is, what he has, and how that has affected his life.

Truth always wins. If you have to lie for ANY reason, what you're lying for ain't worth it.
82
I agree with Dan on this one. Just because you ask someone if they have any STD's doesn't get YOU off the hook for having sex with that person. It's as much her fault to have "high risk" sex with someone without knowing FOR CERTAIN what their health status is. The fact is that many people who carry STD's aren't even aware of it and, of course, are having sex. Bottom line, sex is a two person responsibility - YOU DON'T TAKE SOMEONE, whom you don't know very well, AT THEIR WORD. In this day and age, with all the diseases out there, you play safely, until you want to take it to the next level and then you go get tested together.
83
Truthfully, after reading all of this, I kind of feel sorry for both of the people in this situation. What the HIV-positive guy did was a terrible, douchy, downright wrong thing to do, but knowing the stigma society places on HIV, and knowing its impact on relationships, knowing he has an undetectable viral load and used a condom, and knowing that he had known the girl for a long time and probably cares for her a lot, I think I can on some level understand why he did panicked and did it. I wouldn't come straight out and say DTMFA, if the girl loves him and thinks she might be able to have a future with this guy despite everything, well, maybe it's worth (carefully) giving it a try.

Of course, if he ever did anything dishonest or risky again, he'd truly deserve the DTMFA verdict. :/
84
@81

Huh. But you didn't fuck him, did you? Funny that. ...Kinda confirms why poz dude shut up in the first place, now doesn't it?

I love all you harsh, judgmental people on here: Dude is "immoral! evil! horrible! etc. Dan, how ever could you say such things!" Yet if any one of you motherfuckers were HIV positive, there'd be a whooooole different story and YOU KNOW IT.... "He made a mistake - we all do, he's only human, he was yearning for intimacy, terrified of rejection in the moment, he immediately tried to fix it. What about forgiveness?"

Shut the fuck up already, all you stone throwers. You make me sick.

Can't believe I'm saying it, but I'm way more on Dan's side on this one because he's actually showing some COMPASSION for poz dude who fucked up and tried to make right. Compassion ain't something that any of you apparently have experience with. There ain't nothin' worse than SELF-RIGHTEOUS ASSHOLES. And guess what? In case you haven't noticed, life always comes around and bites you people in the ass. It's a guarantee. Only a matter of time. Hope you enjoy it!
85
This is the first time I have ever said WTF about Dan's advice. The guy was playing Russian roulette with the girl's health. And this was not about a desire for love and intimacy, this was a "I don't want to use a condom because bareback feels better." Furthermore, HIV is a big f---ing deal. It is not like the medications to treat it are cheap or harmless on the body (for starters, they are very hard on kidneys). Finally, even if it was not a life threatening disease (e.g. herpes), I would argue that disclosing STD's is obligatory when having sex with someone, regardless of viral load or use of condoms.
86
@36 -- Being honest and up-front about his HIV status will probably screw up his odds of getting laid again, yes. But his odds will be better than if word spreads that he deliberately and knowingly hides his status from prospective partners.
87
If it were anything else, his lie would be a problem. But it was HIV, which people are super scared of and which there's a huge stigma against. And because they had sex only once, they used a condom, and his viral load was low, that one sex act had zero chance of infecting her. Zero. That's just not how HIV transmission works. His lie was totally understandable and justified.
88
She should dump his ass and here is why. About 4 years ago my friend contracted herpes, not a huge deal, but kind of a big deal. As an aside he contracted it from a woman who lied to him and said she was a virgin (after he got the herpes from her she admitted that she had herpes and had contracted it when she was raped but that because it wasn't consensual she still thought of herself as a virgin...) So following up her horrible behavior my friend started dating another woman and he did not disclose his status until after the fact. When he told her she got really pissed and dumped his ass. He really liked her and who knows it might have worked out, or more likely not, but by having the girl he really liked slap him hard for being an idiot he learned something, and now he always discloses. She needs to dump him so that he knows that this behavior is not ok with other women in the future.
89
@84

Yet if any one of you motherfuckers were HIV positive, there'd be a whooooole different story and YOU KNOW IT... Shut the fuck up already, all you stone throwers. You make me sick.

First of all, no; if I were HIV +, it wouldn't be a whole different story. I'm not going to get into a whole thing with you about how I know this, but I know from personal experience that I'm capable of making the choice to disclose, even if it would mean being alone, and I know a lot of other people who have been capable of making the choice to keep their pants on rather than place someone else at any kind of risk for HIV infection. So if the story you're telling yourself to excuse a failure on your part to disclose your status to your partners is that anyone in your position would do exactly the same thing, just be aware: you're lying to yourself to excuse behavior you probably know, on some level, is patently immoral. A coward and a parasite in that position will fail to disclose. A moral human being with an appropriate regard for the lives and dignity of other human beings won't, and I know this is true because I've seen it.

Second of all, the stone-throwing metaphor is only applicable in certain situations; generally situations where the operative question is whether the sins of the judges are equal to or greater than those of the judged: if someone is on trial for murder, the fact that the judge cheats on his wife and every member of the jury cheats on their taxes isn't really relevant. If the subject under discussion is sexual battery, then yes, actually, I do get to cast stones, and so do a lot of other people. Thank goodness.

In conclusion, both your premise and your mode of reasoning are specious.
90
But, um, can't viral loads change? And unless you're right on top of it with a brand-spanking new blood test, would you know it? Not sure how that works, and I have no desire to research it this early in the morning.

I'd be pretty pissed if somebody was taking suppressive herpes medication, and opted not to tell me, even if the odds of infection were low. Up the ante to HIV, and I'd say I'd be even crankier.

I've been in the STD disclosure position, (having been in herpes status limbo at one point), and I went with disclosure ("I think I might have herpes, based on some recent symptoms"). No, we're not talking HIV, but I disclosed based on the following reasoning:

-If I was going to be with someone just to get an orgasm, well, I can give myself an orgasm. Like I've said, sex is great, but why put someone unwittingly at risk for something - even if it's nonfatal - just to satisfy myself?

-If I want the intimacy of sex, well, for me the emotional intimacy and the physical intimacy are kind of tied up. I'm not going to have sex with someone I don't like or someone who doesn't mean anything to me. At the least, I'm going to view them as a friend. The intimacy of friendship, in my view, demands honesty in this case. This may be a convoluted statement: If I'm scared to tell them for fear of losing them, then logic demands that I tell them - because that would mean I care about them, and I believe being as honest as possible with the people I care about.

-It has the potential to add complications to someone else's life, and based on how I'd want to be treated, I don't want to do that to someone else. You never know what someone else's complications are going to be.

-It's just sex. Really. I can get by without it, even if I'd prefer not to. People do it all the time. It's not worth affecting how I view the person who I see every morning in the mirror.

I don't have an HIV+ diagnosis, so maybe that's not how I would react in real life, but the above is the POV that I've believed in for the past decade or so - basically since that first herpes scare. Maybe what happened to my best friend is the inspiration, but I don't think it's so out there.

91
I would not be okay with this. At the same time, I'm too paranoid to fuck someone without knowing them for a while, so lying to me would hurt more than if it were just a random person.

It's great for him that she doesn't see it as a major issue. I couldn't personally start a relationship with that kind of betrayal, though. It's not as though he had a common cold. HIV is really fucking serious.

Also, if you suspect that you're going to be having sex with people and you know that you're HIV positive, shouldn't you be a bit more prepared to tell the truth when the question comes?
92
wow. what a bunch of judgementall assholes
93
I've been in her position, and ata time when it took six months to be sure you hadn't contracted. I would trade that six months of hell and fear for just about anything.

50/76:

Do yourself and him a favor and return him to friend status. What he did is understandable, from a view of human weakness. It is not forgiveable, though. It was absolutely wrong. It was selfish and deceptive and put you in real danger, even if the risk was small. he doesn't get to decide. You do. And he robbed you fo that choice. He lied to you in resposne to a direct question. Do not put up with that, even once.

So you love him. The best you can do is teach him an important life lesson. There are no takebacks for some wrongs. He needs to fix his moral compass. He needs to always disclose, to the next women he dates. So DTMFA. That is the best thing you can do, not only for yourself, but also for him.

You have only one life. Go out and look for someone who deserves to share it with you. Someone honest. With integrity.
94
If a lover lies to you about something really important (anything really important) to get you into bed the first time, why would you think it's the last time they're going to lie to you?
95
friends for a long time before they fucked? friends for years?
i have fewer than 10 friends, and they know everything about me (because I tell them).

i no longer care about the dumbassed hookup bitch or her dangerous infectious partner.

also, when you read "the best friend" posts, you'll realize that you've been played, and dan made up the question in the first place. good job, old man, good job.
96
@94 Agreed.

Sure we all make mistakes but lying when asked a direct question does not bode well for the future.
97
@ 70 Only cheap condoms break. I have had at least a thousand anal sex partners and only two broken condoms - cheap ones bought by idiots who didn't get another chance with me. So buy better ones, you stupid cheapskates, and stop being paranoid.

And being totally honest: Had I seroconverted (which didn't happen since we bought good condoms), I would have dealt with it knowing that the moment I said that I was staying with him, this was solely my responsability. I'm an adult. Aren't you all?

But you know what? I never worried about it because we weren't stingy on the condoms.

And finally, yes, if I use the past tense it's because he died. That was 14 years ago. So I know what I'm talking about. I'm still using condoms, I'm still not HIV+, and I never ask anyone about his status because, as an adult with a brain, I know there's a very good chance I'll be lied to.

Most of you are not living anyhere near the real world and are lying to yourselves with all your stupid rules of disclosure that you'd find a thousand ways to get out of if you were in this guy's place, so what's the big deal anyway?

98
@ 89

The King James Bible says : "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (John 7:8).

That's "without sin", not "without that specific sin or a worse one." So you have no argument.
.
99
DTMFA.
100
I think Dan was right on this.

All the condemning comments explain why he would be hesitant to say anything -- not excuse his behavior, but sure does explain it. Ignorance coupled with fear is pretty ugly.

And really, to expect people to never have sex again or never to experience love and closeness is unreasonable. Wish for you all you want, but it ain't gonna happen.

And Ricardo (@97) I wish I knew you.....