Just*in Time: March 2013

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Photo by Don Harris  © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved
Photo by Don Harris © Don Harris Photographics, LLC. All rights reserved
Hi Justin:
I am HIV-positive; I was diagnosed April 2012. I think I have dealt with my diagnosis very well. But I do have my moments of weakness. Last night I was talking to a guy who is a good friend who I’m in love with. We have been seeing each other since the summer of 2012. I stopped seeing him in September 2012 because once we both admitted our feelings he started to change. He began to distance himself. So I just cut it off because if you don’t want to be with me I’m not gonna fight with you to change your mind. I have a life I have to live. And dreams I want to flourish.

After not talking for a few months he asked me out on a date in December, where he told me that he loved me and that we had a connection he didn’t want to lose. So I naturally was shocked and happy because he opened up and actually said that. So I kinda have been playing it safe with him because I don’t want to give my heart to him and get let down again. So last night I was speaking to him and I asked him two questions—how he feels about my status, because he has known from the very beginning; and how he feels after we have sex, because he and I have had sex a total of three times. And we haven’t used condoms. In the moment I don’t think either of us thinks about it. But after, it weighs heavily on my heart because I love this boy and I wouldn’t wish this disease on my worst enemy, let alone someone I love.

So, he responded they way I assumed he would. We both agreed to use condoms. And he says the only time my status is a problem is when we have had unprotected sex. So then our conversation ventured into another topic and he randomly says, “We can’t have sex anymore. I can’t have sex for a while. I need to stop for like six months. So I can stay focused on the things I need to do.”

Naturally it made me feel like he didn’t want me at all because of my status and now I’m a little fucked up about it. And I’m on my way back home to NYC and I don’t wanna be in this mode. Have you ever dealt with this or known someone who has? What did you or they do?
—Thomas

First, let me say I’m happy that you seem at peace with your status as it is very hard even after a year of being diagnosed to be able to deal with it. But I think the reality that he didn’t use condoms while having sex with someone who is HIV-positive may have scared him a little bit. I noticed that there was nothing in your e-mail about getting tested for HIV. You need to make sure he is getting tested for HIV.

I understand that you do not want to wish this on anyone and neither do I. If he needs six months to think it over, give him his time, but not too much. For me, baby, I wait for no man and I don’t think a man should wait for me. If he really loves you for you, despite your HIV, he will come back to you. If he doesn’t come back to you, you will be fine. There will be another man out there for you that will not need a six-month break. You see, home is where the heart is, whether or not it has HIV in it. I would also advise that you occupy your time doing something you love…other than him! But seriously, he might be just a little freaked out now, so just relax and take your time.

Justin B. Terry-Smith has been fighting the good fight since 1999. He’s garnered recognition and awards for his work, but he’s more concerned about looking for new ways to transform society for the better than resting on his laurels. He started up in gay rights and HIV activism in 2005, published an HIV-themed children’s book, I Have A Secret (Creative House Press) in 2011, and created his own award-winning video blog called, “Justin’s HIV Journal”: justinshivjournal.blogspot.com. Now, with this column, Justin has found a way to give voice to the issues that people write to him about. Visit his main Web site at www.justinbsmith.com. He welcomes your questions at [email protected]

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