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Personal Ethics - Being HIV+


doitb4ugo
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During a conversation with a Forum member today, I was describing some recent sexual experiences with both escorts and a number of non-professionals. The topic revolved around my being HIV+ and people's reactions to my infection. I had noted that once diagnosed, the majority of sexual experiences were bareback when anal was involved. There are exceptions to this but few and far between. I mentioned that in all cases I was very upfront about being POZ and had promised myself that I would never have sex with anyone without full disclosure of my health issues. A promise I have kept.

 

I have discovered that very few guys seemed to be concerned with my status. In fact, it seemed odd to me that I had protected sex when I was not diagnosed as POZ but since then had usually consentual bareback sex. I asked my friend about the morality/ethics involved from my part i.e.; is it enough for me to disclose my condition and allow my partners to base their actions on my honesty or do I need to do more and take some responsibility for their actions as well.

 

This week, I had a hookup with a nice guy and we had decided not to put anal sex on the table for our first meeting. About an hour into our sex play, anal sex happened and it was bareback. I was surprised but too aroused to think too much about it until later when I had returned home. I told myself that we both acted on our knowlege of my status and all was okay. The guy had decided to proceed even given his knowing my HIV status.

 

Today, I am not so sure of where my resposibilities lie. Hoping to hear your thoughts on this situation. It may helpme clarify my behhavior or at least provide some food for thought. Sorry for the long-winded post...

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I'm sure there's a medical term for it, but I don't know what it is.

 

To my understanding, which is DECIDEDLY limited, the problem of HIV is similar to the virus causing the Common Cold [and I'm told old to remember WTF that virus is]: Mix two different types and you get a third.

I don't know why HIV1 died out so quickly, except that it was very virulent, and nailed its hosts very quickly, and they got real sick real guick and died. As did the virus. HIV2 seems to be a much less-aggressive virus.

But do we want to know about HIV3, HIV4, etc?

 

Ethically, as a physician, I would say you should ALWAYS play safe with your partners so as not to co-infect them with another virus strain. And, for this, I expect lots o' grief, if not a forced time out.

 

In my humble opinion, I remain, Your obedient Servent,

Sir Gallahad

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I commend you for being honest with potential partners about your status. Many aren't. In some ways I say you are both adults and can decide for yourselves what you want to do, assuming the other person's ability to make rational decisions isn't tainted by drugs, mental problems or alcohol. If your partner wants to do something to possibly infect himself that is his business. My questions would be: are your playmates also HIV +, does anyone ask what your viral load is? Is your viral load a determining factor for the other person? My concern would be if you are doing yourself more harm with bareback sex.

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I'm sure there's a medical term for it, but I don't know what it is.

 

To my understanding, which is DECIDEDLY limited, the problem of HIV is similar to the virus causing the Common Cold [and I'm told old to remember WTF that virus is]: Mix two different types and you get a third.

I don't know why HIV1 died out so quickly, except that it was very virulent, and nailed its hosts very quickly, and they got real sick real guick and died. As did the virus. HIV2 seems to be a much less-aggressive virus.

 

Not to go off on a tangent, but HIV1 is the more prevalent virus in the Western world - it did not die out. http://www.avert.org/hiv-types.htm

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I'm sure there's a medical term for it, but I don't know what it is.

 

To my understanding, which is DECIDEDLY limited, the problem of HIV is similar to the virus causing the Common Cold [and I'm told old to remember WTF that virus is]: Mix two different types and you get a third.

I don't know why HIV1 died out so quickly, except that it was very virulent, and nailed its hosts very quickly, and they got real sick real guick and died. As did the virus. HIV2 seems to be a much less-aggressive virus.

But do we want to know about HIV3, HIV4, etc?

 

Ethically, as a physician, I would say you should ALWAYS play safe with your partners so as not to co-infect them with another virus strain. And, for this, I expect lots o' grief, if not a forced time out.

 

In my humble opinion, I remain, Your obedient Servent,

Sir Gallahad

 

I personally thought that both you and Doit had very honest, informative, helpful posts. Certainly yours was very informative.

 

I appreciate the information and the honesty...no sure why you would think you would get grief or especially a "forced time out"

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Top or bottom?

 

It's not clear (to me. at least) whether you were top or bottom in the bareback encounters. If you're bottoming and the top is postitive, you may become infected with a different strain, and some strains are more resistant to treatment than others. It is possible to become infected with multiple strains. If the top is negative, he is at some risk for becoming infected.

 

If you're topping (which I suspect is not the case), then the risks to your partners are obvious.

 

It's not clear to me whether you knew the status of your partners.

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If you were bottoming and the top were negative, then the risk of infecting the top, although greater than if you were blowing the top,

is certainly rather less than if you were topping a negative bottom. If (self believed to be) negative top is informed and proceeds it is

with his determination that the risk is acceptible to him. I think you've done your ethical duty.

 

I don't think Sir Gallahad needs to fear being timed out just for rationally holding up a different point of view.

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If it concerns you - and it's clear it does - you could ask them, as things start to take off, if they know their status. They already know you're poz, but you're understandably concerned about their status for their own sake. It's not an unreasonable thing to ask, even in a moment of passion.

 

As seeker mentions, it's significant whether you are the top or bottom. I'll also add it's significant whether you are on a meds regimen that you've been able to follow completely and which has reduced your viral load to an undetectable level, or if you are not yet taking meds.

 

I've noticed that on Grindr and Scruff lots of guys use the [+] designation to identify as positive. Not sure if they do that where you live too, but if so that would be a way of choosing a partner who you know his status ahead of time.

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You are responsible for your actions. The fact is you are knowingly having bareback sex while HIV positive. That he also knows it is of no import. You are not responsible for his actions but you can insist on his using a condom. You should do this for several reasons:

1 - You run the risk of worsening your own condition. If your partner is positive, you may obtain a more virulent strain

2- You may be responsible for converting a negative person to positive. Whether he is aware or not, ultimately you are the one pulling the trigger.

3- If he is knowingly going to convert, you are then the source of anyone else he may infect whether they are aware of it or not.

4- Probably most importantly, you make it clear by your posting that you feel that your actions are less than optimal. We should demand and expect the best from ourselves. I believe your post here indicates that you believe you are doing less than that.

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Rich,

Others above have given excellent points... to add to the issue, if you engage in behavior that results in someone contracting HIV, there are a lot of legal ramifications as well, and IMHO that is not worth it. Best if you engage in "safe" practices, even if you are informing your partner of your status.

DD

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Under most situations I tend to support the idea of free will/free choice, specifically that as individuals we need to take responsibility for our own choices. However, in this case, because of the greater good that is involved, I have to say that it is incumbent upon each person to practice safe sex regardless of being HIV+ or not. Even if a person is informed by his partner that he is HIV+, it does not necessarily mean they have the capacity to understand the ramifications of that (even with all the information on it available). Case in point, I met a gentleman about a year or so ago (a dedicated bottom) and the subject of bare backing came up. He was of the opinion that it was fine and there was no risk of getting HIV as long as he, as the bottom, used an enema right after anal sex. I suspect there may be a number of others out there who think the same or have other similar misconceptions about contracting the disease. So this would be someone that needs protection from themselves.

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Simply speaking for ME only, I would NOT be able to bear the guilt or burden of perhaps infecting another person with the disease whether or not they willingly agreed to the bareback or not. I have unfortunately seen death from HIV Aids up close and it has enlightened me and made me a more conscious person. I do commend you however for your full disclosure policy, but if it were ME, I would insist on protected sex for myself going forward. Also too many possible and probably ramifications of unprotected sex infection of another person down the road that I wouldnt want to have to deal with.

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Take the responses for what they are, a narrow slice of opinions, but remember that no one on this forum is the standard-bearer for right/wrong, moral/immoral, ethical/unethical. I applaud and encourage your transparency about your condition with potential/actual sex partners. Listen to your conscience on this issue which seems to be alerting you to the fact that some people are ignorant and can use you to harm themselves, and then multiply the problem by foolishly harming others.

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Under most situations I tend to support the idea of free will/free choice, specifically that as individuals we need to take responsibility for our own choices. However, in this case, because of the greater good that is involved, I have to say that it is incumbent upon each person to practice safe sex regardless of being HIV+ or not. Even if a person is informed by his partner that he is HIV+, it does not necessarily mean they have the capacity to understand the ramifications of that (even with all the information on it available).

I agree with this comment. Whilst I commend the OP for his honesty with potential sex partners (as well as his openess on this board), I do think there is the "greater good" issue for the other partner & humanity at large which is at stake. How many of the OP's partners that were Neg get infected as a result of their encounter with him and how does an "unsafe" lifestyle contribute to propogating the disease and enabling the mutation of the virus. I could not live with that on my shoulders if I were in the OP's position. As others have mentioned, I think the OP already knows what the right thing to do is, in his case, and he is just looking for support from the forum.....and I think that is great as we are a community here that support one and other with our respective doubts.

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Is it really the case that so many guys are willing to bareback, even knowing that the partner is HIV+? That certainly hasn't been my experience. I have found all escorts, whether in the US or Thailand or Brazil very health conscious and strict in the use of condoms. I can think of only one exception, and he readily accepted my enthusiastic "no."

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Is it really the case that so many guys are willing to bareback, even knowing that the partner is HIV+? That certainly hasn't been my experience. I have found all escorts, whether in the US or Thailand or Brazil very health conscious and strict in the use of condoms. I can think of only one exception, and he readily accepted my enthusiastic "no."

 

In my experience escorts are much more health conscious than the guys looking for free sex on hook up sites or bars. Go out on the hook up sites or bars and you would be very alarmed at the numerous guys who are looking for bareback.

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Anytime I hear the term bareback I assume the persons already poz and they simple don't care. Some even have attitude about it thinking it's the way to be. I've had guys on sites call me names because I refuse to take part in that suicide behavior. about 6 months ago I talked with a young guy 24 I think we talked a number of times soon as he mentioned bareback sex conversation was over as far as I was concerned. I told him That I only used condoms and due to having ms I was only interested in guys that are negative even though I used condoms. I said sorry I'm not interested in barebacking or anyone that's positive. oh hell he went off the deep end listen bitch I don't have AIDS I'm like yeah right. If you are barebacking you got AIDS and if not then it will soon enter your life.. best of luck. I've had happen a few times

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In my experience escorts are much more health conscious than the guys looking for free sex on hook up sites or bars. Go out on the hook up sites or bars and you would be very alarmed at the numerous guys who are looking for bareback.

 

Travis I agree, I am a member of some private sex clubs, and have witnessed amazingly a large amount of bareback sex. Its quite frightening, and its not just the "piggy" looking guys as you might suspect. It can be ANYONE....

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Anytime I hear the term bareback I assume the persons already poz and they simple don't care. Some even have attitude about it thinking it's the way to be. I've had guys on sites call me names because I refuse to take part in that suicide behavior. about 6 months ago I talked with a young guy 24 I think we talked a number of times soon as he mentioned bareback sex conversation was over as far as I was concerned. I told him That I only used condoms and due to having ms I was only interested in guys that are negative even though I used condoms. I said sorry I'm not interested in barebacking or anyone that's positive. oh hell he went off the deep end listen bitch I don't have AIDS I'm like yeah right. If you are barebacking you got AIDS and if not then it will soon enter your life.. best of luck

 

There is also the phenomena called "Bug chasers" who are guys that seek out POZ guys for bareback sex to get infected. I cant put myself into their heads, but always know that I MUST protect myself, because you never know who you are hooking up with these days..

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There's actually a documentary about bug chasers. some had a partner die of AIDS felt depressed and was seeking it. Some figured they would get it sooner or later so decided to get it over with. Some wanted a sense of community and feeling like they belonged to a group so they got it.

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The topic is of major interest to me and I've been thinking a lot about it. My FB/bf (not sure which he is and I don't think he knows either lol) and I hookup with a third guy a lot, and we also hook up with a number of escorts, several of whom are board favs. My FB/bf does bareback (I do not) unless the 3rd wants to wear a condom (no problem). You wouldn't believe how many board fav escorts fuck him raw--it is certainly the majority. The last one, a well known porn star and board fav, fucked him raw and came inside him while fucking him! My buddy didn't seem to mind but I was aghast. (What my FB does is his business though he knows I always wear a condom etc.). Several other recent escorts (recommended on the board) have come over and nobody ever asked for a condom--they just fucked away. Live and learn, eh?

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There's actually a documentary about bug chasers. some had a partner die of AIDS felt depressed and was seeking it. Some figured they would get it sooner or later so decided to get it over with. Some wanted a sense of community and feeling like they belonged to a group so they got it.

 

some VERY irrational thought processes. Thats what is really scary. and I doubt those individuals would be honest about their status with future partners ? My own personal thought process is to always assume a guy is POZ, and protect MYSELF, however as I said in other threads, I draw the line on Oral sex with condoms.... and am NOT a participant in Anal sex...thats MY protection, although a case can be made for the risks of other sexual practices....

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All I can say is that Rich is unequivocally the most honest and genuinely concerned individual that I know in this forum... and his question involves not only issues of heath, but basic morality, and ethics as well... and wanting to attain a higher standard is something that defines Rich's persona.

 

I have pondered Rich's question over the past several hours... Still, it is quite interesting to get the various opinions in this thread... After much thought I must say that those in the health profession use the term "universal precautions"... the translation being "play safe no matter what"... In other words, the health professional always assumes that the patient is positive... and the patient can be at ease that he can feel safe even if treated by a health care professional who is infected. Therefore a barrier is used no matter what... plus HIV is not the only risk about which one must be concerned... Consequently, all other infectious diseases and conditions are considered to be potentially present as well... Hence the moniker "universal"... as in for everybody, everyone, always, every time, for every disease, constantly, for ever, for eternity, etc. no matter what! Doing otherwise would only potentially exacerbate, aggravate, and worsen an already quite complicated situation.

 

In the final analysis, health professionals "play" by the highest known standards... that should be the ultimate goal... in an ideal world that is... Still, we don't all live in that ideal world...

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