Advice: “He Won’t Wear a Condom”

BY Steven Petrow

December 01 2011 5:05 PM ET

 He says:“I’m HIV-negative.”

 The truth: First of all, a casual sex partner may not be 100% honest about his status if he’s eager to get you into the sack. But even an Honest John can put you at risk — he may think he’s negative, but he may be wrong (which is one of the primary scenarios for new infections). Generally, you must wait at least three months since your last risk of exposure to HIV to be reasonably sure that you’re HIV-negative. Even if your guy really is HIV-negative, remember there are all too many other STDs to be concerned about. Condoms protect you from more than just HIV. (By the way, when’s the last time you were tested? If you’re sexually active, be sure to get tested on a regular basis — at least annually , if not more frequently, depending on your risk factors.)

 He says:“It’s a mood killer.”

 The truth: Possibly, but be creative! If you plan ahead, a condom can be whipped out without either of you losing your focus — or your state of mind. And given the choice, I’ll take a “mood killer” over the alternative.

But if this were all so easy, we wouldn’t have more than 40,000 new infections occurring each year here in the U.S. It’s not easy at all, especially when you’re really turned on or on a high from drugs or alcohol. Again, my recently infected friend cautions, “Compared with friends who knowingly slipped up in terms of safe sex, I always thought I was a model in terms of precautions. But it only takes once. And the people you meet out and about (or online) for casual sex are all sleeping with other people where the same risk applies.”

In other words, knowledge alone isn’t power. Vigilance is a necessary part of the equation.

 

YOUR TURN: What comebacks would you offer someone in this situation?
 

(One last word: There’s a new documentary called We Were Here: The AIDS Years in San Francisco (just mentioned as an Oscar contender) that is a must-see for anyone who lived through the darkest years of what was then called the “gay plague” and especially for those who didn’t. Kudos to director/filmmaker David Weissman. Read his op-ed here.)

 

Steven Petrow is the author of  Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners and can be found online at  www.gaymanners.com. Got a question? Email him at  [email protected] or contact him on Facebook and Twitter. 

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