The circumstances under which I became HIV-positive have been documented publicly many times. Yes, decades into the AIDS epidemic, completely armed with the knowledge to protect myself, I had a slip in my safer sex practices, and I became HIV-positive one night in early August 2007. In my effort to give some meaning to this twist in my own storyline, I have communicated about my mistake in one way or another, ultimately reaching millions of people. Becoming HIV-positive is one story. Living with HIV is quite another.
Approximately 30 years after coming out of the closet, I must confess that I am no better now in authentically connecting with other gay men than I was then, and I have never been very good at it. (Words are powerful, so I affirm that I am growing every day!) As a sober person, I’m not so much into bars. And though this might seem contradictory to how I come across to most people, in potentially intimate situations (e.g., meeting someone where there’s a spark, flirting, moving the connection forward, etc.), I am rather shy.
In the community in which I live, Palm Springs, Calif., I find that there is an immense shortage of single, available, poz-friendly, sober-friendly total tops. One might say that I can make the challenge a bit less daunting by being sexually versatile. I have tried to be versatile, but I have not been able to convince my dick to cooperate. So, therefore, along with my gay pride and my growing poz pride, I celebrate bottom pride as well, in search of one of the two single total tops in all of California, where there seems to be an abundance of men who are "partnered but play," who "party and play" and who are "disease-free" seeking the same.
I really don’t know how to raise all these subjects in real-world meetings, so I try to disclose as much as I can about myself in the online space, without success. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have added, then deleted, then added again, Grindr and Scruff on my phone, which is clearly much smarter than I am. Then, of course, there’s Craigslist, filled with spammers, game players and so many "straight-acting" guys that you’d think there’d be an awards show for best performance.
One of the indicators upon which I based my rare decision to have unsafe sex in August 2007 was the fact that I was with someone who said and believed he was "disease-free." This was not a good reason on my part, but it was a human reason. I decided to go public with my mistake because I found that HIV had become very theoretical to me, and I did not know I knew people who had made similar mistakes, becoming HIV-positive well into the epidemic.
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