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20 comments | Friday, July 31, 2009

Log onto any of the popular gay hook-up sites, Black Gay Chat, Adam 4 Adam, Manhunt, etc and you're bound to read the following; "Disease Free U B 2" in just about every profile along with the standard "hood speech", penis size, and preferred sexual position.

But is this a form of sexual discrimination? One HIV positive man who wrote into sex advice columnist Woody Miller seems to think so.

"What is up with so many guys advertising their HIV-negative status in discriminatory terms like “HIV Neg- UB2,” or “D&D Free for Same,” and lots of other senseless statements in the same vein? That is so ten years ago! What would they do DIFFERENTLY if they DIDN’T know my status right up front? And since when does the word “CLEAN” refer to absence of HIV??? YIKES!"

If we are to believe the statistics nearly 50% of all black gay men are positive. So are we naive enough to believe that we've never slept with someone who has HIV or will never come across someone we've met online during a hook-up that isn't honest about his status?

Is it really necessary to say, “disease-free UB2” when one could easily say “Prefer HIV-?” And when you're meeting someone for a random hook-up how will you know for sure if they're being honest?

A wise gay mentor once told me to treat everyone as if they're positive and take the proper precautions. So what say you?

Don't hold back. Discuss.


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Darian, this is a great subject. First, let me say that I would never discriminate against someone soley on the basis on their HIV status. As a matter of fact, I feel deeply in love with someone who was positive and we dated for 4 years. I asked him from the very beginning about his status (diseases) and he was incredible honest. I appreciated that as someone who is negative. I thought he was hot was I first saw him, and thought so even more after he was so honest with me. Now, note this: I brought it up from the very begining. Asking is very important to me (I didn't think I would ever date someone who was positive, but I learned HOW to date him). I see nothing wrong with people wanting to know their partners status from the start. THERE ARE TOO MANY HIV+ GUYS OUT THERE WHO FEEL THAT IF YOU DON'T ASK, THEN YOU DON'T CARE ENOUGH ABOUT YOURSELF, AND THERE IS NO NEED FOR THEM TO TELL YOU. With that in mind, I see nothing wrong with guys stating their preferences for disease free in their ads. There's no need for saving that drama for later; it can cause heart wrenching/painful break-ups. It's better for both sides to know up front and avoid that pain. I could have made a decision not to date the man I feel in love with just because of his status. My point is, I GOT TO MAKE A CHOICE. Everyone should have the choice!!!

July 31, 2009 1:59 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

First of all, I KNOW black gay men who know that they are HIV positive and STILL say they are HIV negative on those sites. I know this for a FACT.

Darian, your gay mentor told you correctly.

An individual cannot know his partner's HIV status for a fact unless you see his HIV test results with your own eyes. Until you see an individual's HIV test results, darian's gay mentor's advice should remain in effect. Even then, sex with a condom is a good thing until you know you are in a monogamous relationship.

I wish that gay men, and particularly black gay men, would be more honest about being HIV positive. It would make for a more healthier (both physically and mentally) "community". I put the word community in quotes because I do not think black gay men are a real community as things now stand: too many black gay men are not being truthful about being HIV postive.

True story: I once told a black gay man I was about to "get down" with that I am HIV positive and he told me he was HIV positive too. We had a great time together and are close to this day. For me, honest disclosure is a turn-on.

Black gay men should "man up" and get tested regularly. If you are HIV positive be honest about it with any potential sex partners. You will probably find that you have more company than you think.

July 31, 2009 1:59 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

My main concern with this topic is negotiating caution while not being too fatalistic with the realities that exist for many MSM of color.

First of all, let's reframe our thinking from the "46%." Has anybody actually read the report from that study? You should. HIV Prevalence 5 Cities 1,767 MSM participated. 25%(442)were Black. Of the MSM who participated, 25% tested positive. Of those 450 MSM, 46% (206) were Black. The study definitely highlights a HIV incidence and unrecognized infection problem...BUT it is in a targeted sample of high risk MSM in only 5 cities. In addition, the data are unweighted and cannot be generalized due to the limited number of incident cases. So it is likely not entirely true that "nearly 50% of all black gay men are HIV +."

HIV Incidence in US Populations is a more recent and reliable report. It shows that there were more than twice the HIV infections in young Black MSM (18-29) when compared to White MSM. However, it was White MSM [NOT BLACK] that made up nearly half (46%) of all HIV infection. Just something to ponder...

But as it relates to the question Darian posed, I think sero-sorting is a form a risk reduction and should be embraced. It is also one of the MANY ways we discriminate when finding sex partners. Let's be real. "No fat, no femme!" Hello!?

And most of the DDF ads also say Safe Sex Only, so it doesn't mean that men are necessarily going to have unsafe sex because someone said they are negative on a hook up site. They are just taking precautions. So shouldn't that be applauded? And we cannot act like we haven't seen HIV + men seek other HIV + men either.

I think this is a reaction to being excluded. It has happened to us all, HIV status removed.

July 31, 2009 2:29 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

For me it is just a mention of a preference. Like saying that you are a non-smoker looking for another non-smoker. In this case, ones claim that they are neg and are looking for other neg people. This shouldn't be read as pos people are less than human or should be treated as lepers. It is someone stating what THEY are in search of.

With that being said, I can see where the term "clean" can come across as insensitive as it alludes that someone pos is unclean.

I also have to agree with your wise-ol'-counselor. Because people do lie about their status, you have to be safe, EACH AND EVERY TIME.

July 31, 2009 2:33 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Sorry, I didn't really answer your question.

I do not feel there's discrimination going on here and if there is, it's OK. An HIV negative man is certainly entitled to want another HIV negative man, however, why not say something like "HIV negative, looking for same".

I'm old enough to remember ads (I'm showing my age here) placed in gay newspapers stipulating "no fats, femmes or BLACKS". This was eventually changed to something like "straight acting white gay man looking for same". Some people had a problem with "straight acting" but that's another thread.

If "disease free UB2" is OK, then why not go back to the days when white gay guys (and maybe snow queens, too) would place ads saying "no fats, femmes or BLACKS"? White gay guys used to place ads like this in gay magazines (like the "Advocate") ROUTINELY.

July 31, 2009 3:27 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

My opinion on this issue is pretty simple. I wanted to say this at a recent discussion I attended on HIV, but the reality is:

1) Even if you get a negative test result, it doesn't mean you don't have it, it REALLY means they just couldn't detect it! Don't be stupid! Besides, they tell you that the result is only valid up until three months of the date of the test.

2) The virus itself can take up to 10 years to manifest itself in a given person. You know how many folks you can have sex with in 10 years just because the test hasn't found the virus in the meantime?

3) Condoms are not 1000% effective. So, you can pass the virus along to plenty of other folks before it's even detected in you, even while you are "protecting yourself."

It's a very scary situation. Much of the panic about HIV stems from the idea that the virus has no cure, and it manifests itself in so many different ways in various people. It's scary, confusing, and complicated. Is it any wonder that it's such an epidemic in this country?

Stop being naive! HIV don't discriminate. Young, fine, and ripped...tall, thin, and light-skinned...short, dark, and obese... them, too! You never know...and it ain't 1986. You can't tell by looking anymore!!

July 31, 2009 4:31 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Wow, Darian….. I will agree that this is a great topic but have to really ponder for all those that yes it is sexual discrimination would feel that same way concerning a person’s weight, sexual preferences (Top, Bottoms, or Vers.) We as MEN have a really messed up outlook on life at times. Even the most wise/smart ones. So like a person body mass is okay because it is a preference HIV and other diseases have and continue to take a toll on the black community. It’s a matter of survival. I cannot tell anyone that is trying to keep themselves safe and live a longer hopefully healthier life not to do that because someone else didn’t try to do the same. I do not want to sound non-compassionate because I really am. Like many people, I have lost many friends to this disease. Huh, as I think about many of their hookups never really asked or seemed to care because that had that look of the muscular body and manly attitude. That is even more scary since not we do not even talk out HIV that often anymore!

Oh and BTW I really enjoy your blog.

July 31, 2009 6:26 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Hell NO! It is NOT discrimination. With all of the HIV awareness and pride events out here, there are still a lot of selfish and irresponsible black gay men who know that they are HIV+ and will have unprotected sex without disclosing anything!! I've personally been involved with two different black men who knew that they were HIV+ and never said a word to me. Granted, I was in my early 20's at the time, was very naive, never asked about their status and just assumed because I was the top that I wasn't in the high risk category. However, it was still a total act of cowardly deceit on their parts that I had to stumble onto this potentially life threatening information months after we'd been dating.

At this rate HIV will never go away. Its 2009 and HIV is still shrouded in secrecy in the black community. The black gay community needs to shift its focus from so much compassion and overprotection of our HIV+ brothers and start focusing more on the realities and RESPONSIBILITIES to others that an HIV+ diagnoses carries. That's where the true prevention lies. When it comes to sex your HIV status is NOT proprietary information! WE SHOULD ALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE!

July 31, 2009 9:22 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I agree that we all have the right to choose, but HIV+ people are NOT responsible for your healthy or not healthy choices. I think a lot of people don't get tested because of the fear of rejection and being alone and stigmatized. It's a horrible truth but let's face it. When you go on these dating sites you'll have people posting ads that say they've been tested and are "DDF" but they want to do everything under the sun and do it all bare back. (I'm rambling a bit but stay with me.) I mean let's face the facts here. ANYTIME YOU CHOOSE TO LAY DOWN AND HAVE UNPROCTECTED SEX YOU ARE PUTTING YOURSELF AT RISK. Even if the person says they tested six months ago and was negative. How much bare back sex had they had since then? Even if you THINK you are in a monogamous relationship, as we've seen with all of these Republican Senators getting busted lately, YOUR MAN MAY STILL BE STEPPING OUT. I mean if you think about it too much you'll be in a scene from the play JEFFREY. So all I'm saying is...Everyone wants to be given a chance. Guys lie about how big their dicks are hoping when you see it you won't care because you like them, they do it with age, ethnicity, how much they make, and what they do, etc. True enough, HIV is a serious medical condition but this thing is a two way street. Yes we must continue to promote the importance of testing, disclosing, but we must also promote an encourage this to be a culture where people are feel safe to discuss their status.

August 01, 2009 12:31 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Gaydar (www.gaygadar.co.uk) has it right. On there profiles indicate safe sex or not rather than HIV status. A4A just perpetrate a lie when they allow men to lie so brazenly on their profiles - as obviously they do.

My worry is for the young, wide eyed men coming out as gay and believing everything they are reading on the profiles. A4A is laying potential minefields in their paths by allowing members to lie easily,

August 01, 2009 4:55 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Its a risk..but I don't say that because I think it can hurt a group of people already dealing. What I will say to my brothas and people in-general dealing is don't feel totally alone. Black coupled with being gay equals alone regardless...status is just extra information.

August 01, 2009 10:36 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I would prefer that a potential encounter be HIV -. Myself, I am negative; however, I'll not be delusional enough to believe that someone is negative just because they say so. That is why I believe that you should use condoms with every sexual encounter.
Myself, I rarely hook up. But when and If I do, again, protection is the priority.

August 01, 2009 2:28 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I totally agree that we do have to be responsible for our own healthy choices. But being that abstinence is the only real form of safe sex out here, I feel that men who know they are HIV+ have an obligation to reveal that information to all of their potential sexual partners.

August 01, 2009 7:07 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

In a space like BGC and A4A, I would say sensitivity to ads and the words chosen to communicate what you want is a bit extreme. With all of the booty and penis photos and graphic descriptions of what they want done to them, it is hard to take seriously that mentioning disease free is what we find as offensive. I understand that no one wants to feel less than, neither do i, but if you're looking for love or a quick piece, it may be best to hear first hand where people stand. HIV is not the common cold, it changes your life. And if people would prefer that their life not change, then so be it. Let's not be all mushy and sensitive when the bent over naked boy prints that he wants disease free to come over to his house and do sex on him. I'm negative and doing what I have to do to stay that way. Other people should too. No matter which way you look at it, a latex condom is too thin to depend on with your life. People should be selective in whom they risk their life with.

My best friend is positive and I see all the pills and I worry myself to death everytime he coughs and it kills me inside to know that he lives with this everyday with no vacation, no holidays and a ruthless possibility of sick days. He does not deserve it, but he has it. Things could be different if he were more careful. So if a part of someone's effort to protect themselves is to not date or have sex with people who are positive, then I don't see a problem. No one can convince me otherwise, until latex condoms are manufactured by NASA, and still...

August 02, 2009 9:40 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Like several other guys stated in the comments above. I know guys who are positive as well that not only go on sites like ADAM and Men4Now (they lie to receive some type of comfort from a society which does not allow them to feel love or accepted). I think we are all fooling ourselves if dont treat everyone like they have STD... And stop discriminating...we get that enough from outsiders...

August 02, 2009 10:00 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

i have seen this on so many websites or heard people in conversations declaring to the world they are not hiv + and you shouldn't be either and all i can do is shake my head thinking we get enuff hatred from the straight world, its a sad day when in 2009 you have us doing the hating ourselves pushing away the one god may have sent your way to do you right...no if ands or buts about it....its time 2get it together ya'll

August 03, 2009 12:28 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Your private sex life is one of the only places where discrimination should be totally allowed. It's a basic human right for us all to be able to exercise preference and be extremely selective with who we choose to sleep with. I understand that the "DDF UB2" may be crass and insensitive to the positive community. I personally think that people's preferences can be expressed a little more tactfully. However, that dtill wouldn't change the fact that most HIV- people perfer to sleep with other HIV- people.

August 03, 2009 6:42 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I assume those that I am with are positive and I always protect myself, but it is not only a sex thing. In my mind, HIV is a killer. Everyone but one person I've known who had HIV died from AIDS, even with the drugs.

Yes there are probably plenty of people who I know who are keeping it a secret. However, those deaths make me skittish of starting a relationship with someone who is HIV positive because in my heart, I feel that they are going to die on me.

I have enough things to worry about a potential LTR dying from, especially if he's black. I do not want to worry about this too.

August 03, 2009 10:33 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I just found out that a good friend of mine (3 years) is HIV+. We had never discussed this previously and it doesn't really matter because I love him simply as my friend. His confiding in me got me to thinking about my own life. I believe that individuals have the right to be physically safe and healthy, especially when it comes to sexual interactions. When I was actively dating/having sex (I'm celibate 9.5 yrs and HIV-)I did the "online thing" and I published that I am "disease and drug free" and was "seeking the same." I didn't do this to "screen out" certain individuals as much as I did it to alert prospective candidates that I care greatly about my health and would hope that they would be interested in keeping both of us healthy for the duration of our interaction. Regardless of what the person told me, I still took the responsibility to do what was necessary to keep myself "safe." I actually kicked a guy (whom I really liked) out of my bed because he wanted to penetrate me anally without a condom-I had only known him one week. I don't know if he was HIV+ or not, but I chose not to engage in unprotected sex. My problem was not so much the unprotected sexual act as much as the mentality of my potential sex partner. I did not understand how he could be so carefree in "barebacking" with someone he'd only known a short time. I discontinued dating him after that. If he could be so cavalier about doing it to me, chances are he may have done it with someone else. My point is that we all have choices. With choices come consequences that we must live with. In making the choices to have sex with men, I have taken the steps to protect myself-it's not about them, I do this for me. So even if they state to be "disease and drug free" I still take the necessary precautions. I don't think it's discriminatory to state that one would prefer a partner that is "Disease Free." Life is short and there are so many things that can cause our lives to be interrupted very quickly. Why make choices that could cause one's quality of life to be so severely interrupted just for a few hours of pleasure?

August 07, 2009 2:52 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

Yes the terms people use to proclaim their HIV negative status are often very harsh and insensitive especially in online hook up forums like A4A and Manhunt. However HIV negative people want to have sex with HIV negative people to statistically reduce the risk of becoming infected. Sure the person could be lying like an old rug about their HIV status. Proper Condom use every time is just another barrier in the gay mans arsenal of weapons employed to remain HIV negative.

One must fight to remain HIV negative in a world of HIV positive liars who would lie, cheat even sell their soul for their next sexual encounter. An HIV negative man must do whatever he must to stay HIV negative and I can't blame him for it. Every one has the right to make an informed choice about allowing an HIV positive man into their intimate lives. I would not bet my life on the truthfulness of any man so precautions would always be taken EVERY TIME!

Sero-sorting is not hate it is a tool that can be effectively used by gay men that are HIV positive or HIV negative. I am HIV negative and I do not want to have sex with HIV positive men which does not mean I hate HIV positive men or would not help HIV positive men. The fact that I am HIV negative and do not wish to engage in sex with HIV positive men means just that and nothing more. The fact that some people state their preference for dating only HIV negative men so crudely is because they are likely common less educated crude men to begin with. You can't expect a man with little education who exists in a world of low company to suddenly spout a PhD and acres of sensitivity just because the subject at hand is HIV status when cruising for dates.

Come on guys be real. Men speak to us from within the confines of their abilities. A crude common vulgar man who is only interested in getting his piece will often lack sensitivity in discussing HIV status. Phasing like you clean, you DDF, I'm HIV- UB2 are just shorthand used by crude people to get that concerned addressed quickly and easily. Little concern is paid to the sensitivities of HIV positive brothers.

December 15, 2011 3:46 AM


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