Robert Suttle met the man through mutual friends. There was no romantic interest at first, but on a New Year’s Eve after a night of partying in Louisiana, the two decided to spend the night together.
One thing led to another. Suttle told the man he was HIV positive.
“It made us hesitate because we didn’t have condoms,” Suttle said.
But the two did have sex, and it would change Suttle’s life forever.
Suttle, of Louisiana, was 24 when he decided to enlist in the Air Force. He went in for a physical and was told he was HIV positive.
“I was not aware of HIV when I was diagnosed,” said Suttle, who now lives in Washington, D.C.
“HIV was not in my life. I didn’t know anyone who had it. I didn’t understand the risk,” he said.
But Suttle didn’t let the diagnosis slow him down. He graduated from college and got a job working in the legal field in Shreveport.
“I wanted to live. I had plans,” he said.
On New Year’s Eve 2008, Suttle hung out with the man he had met through mutual friends.
“We were out for a night on New Year’s Eve and we decided to go to his place; we decided to spend the night together. And we engaged in sex. It was not planned. It was just a casual experience like most gay men experience,” he said.
Suttle said he informed him of his HIV status the first night they were together and the two had a contentious relationship for about three months before it ended.
He heard through the same mutual friends who introduced the two that his ex-boyfriend intended to press charges against him. Why? Because, according to the ex, Suttle did not inform him he was HIV positive before they had sex.
“I was arrested at work,” Suttle remembered.
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