Why I Quit Asking Hookups If It Was Ok That I Am Living With HIV

And what I discovered about myself is powerful.

? I’m undetectable. Is that okay?

For years since learning that I am living with HIV, at some point in the process of finding love (for the night) I would have to decide when was the appropriate moment to drop this possibly game-changing disclosure: I am living with HIV. Being stressful does not even come close to describing that moment for many of us living with the virus.

For me, disclosing my HIV-positive status was not a choice. I had to, even if I did not always want to, because I did not want to be the next person who ended up in jail for not following unfair laws in Tennessee. I view disclosing my status as an ethical decision– something I believe to be morally appropriate. Others disagree with me, and I understand that.

I often would wonder when was the best time to disclose my status. Do I literally include it in my “about me” section of my profile? And what do I say? Would making a joke like “positive person” make it clear? What if I tried to guilt uneducated guys by saying: “if you aren’t educated about undetectable guys, then stay in the 1990s and block me.” Hell, maybe I should just put a plus sign in my name on the apps, so that those that would hit me up, easily would see my status.

Over almost 5 years, I have tried all sorts of these scenarios. Some would work better than others. I did learn that guilting anyone never worked. Lol! Good to know!

Is that okay?

One night it hit me like a ton of bricks, after I had 3 long conversations end the same exact way: I would wait for the person on the other end of the chat to validate me after I disclosed by asking if it was okay with them that I was undetectable. All three times, I never got the reply I wanted. {One said that it was too risky for them. One said they appreciated my honesty and then never replied again. And the final guy just immediately blocked me.}

So was I validated? No.

But, instead of being mad at them– for not understanding how undetectable was not a big deal– I was pissed at myself for allowing the conversation to hinge on their acceptance of my status after I disclosed, by way of asking, “is that okay”?

Honestly, I could give a rat’s ass if anyone is okay that I am undetectable– which means that I am trying to focus on being in care, and taking my medication as prescribed, and then crossing my fingers that the meds work (which they are and will). I view this is a being very responsible and is considered treatment as prevention (a form of safer sex).

What did this do for me?

By stopping myself from asking approval of some dude on a hookup– I started asking a question and then accepted their response. I simply started asking: Are you up-to-date and in the know about what undetectable means?  The responses of the guys still ranged from: yes to silence, but I haven’t had one block me. Maybe that person will or maybe they won’t, but I can tell you that I have had the chance to chat about HIV and living undetectable with several guys that appreciated the approach. I kept my dignity. They didn’t feel forced.

And a few of them… well, we might have allegedly made whoopee.

But I am not here to confirm or deny that.

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What works for you on dating apps when you disclose?