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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.


What works for you on dating apps when you disclose?

3 Comments Join the Conversation →

  1. TomBoulder

    For years, I was very upfront about my status, but when studies began confirming that undetectable equals untransmitable, I stopped being so upfront. If someone asks, I tell them, but if they “don’t ask, I don’t tell”. I still insist on using condoms for anal. I’m 69 years old and I’m having more sex than I’ve had in years.

  2. John

    I think it’s good to mention it without making it a question.
    Something like “just so you know beforehand, I’m undetectable. Let me know if you’re up-to-date about what undetectable means.”

    We should inform people and even educate them, but not look for approval when it isn’t needed (especially not for sex).

  3. Paul Parmele

    I really respect in a heartfelt and loving way in which I know this is a very touchy issue. I’ve gone through the same thing. I was stressing myself out; which is never a good thing being stressed. It is a decision each of us makes.
    Mine was when a person was interested in me and I them it was like a immediate lust ordeal; I felt strongly that I needed to say something. So I did; I was shocked with the Reply a reply that changed my life. He says ” So, It does not bother me; I believe in Safe Sex and being a person who understands.”. Well needless to say the next day in the a.m. while watching him walking to his truck shoes in hand, saying to myself. I think I’m in love 😉 lols. We dated for months. Now 19 Years later we’re still together and Love each other even with its ups and downs. He is Negative to this Day “knock on wood”. Ummmmm the real wood 😉 lols.
    We practice safe sex making love, etc. He practically saved my life. I’m a HIV + None detectable with CD4 450 and higher Man. Also our life is interesting and fun with others together….that’s another topic, lols. Anywho after the first year we found out he had cancer, a very deadly cancer that was almost an 1/8th of an ” inch from his Spine and Nerves. It was tragic heartbreaking news; but with Awesome Doctors, Surgeon’s, Treatment; William had a Successful Surgery, all lymph nodes possible carriers were eradicated from his body and a ling 5 Years. They completely succeeded in 100% removing, curing William of the vile cancer melanoma. So 19 Years later we’re both survivors, especially after myself 2 Years ago had Melanoma on my back shoulder blade successfully removed. Both Survivors because we were Strong for each other.
    Strength and Love is a Mighty Powerful tool of the Human Soul.
    I’m rattling on, I’ll have to share more later if interested everyone. Have a Awesome Day to you all 🙂

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