Yesterday an article caught my attention about outing people as HIV+. The author of the article had been flirting with a guy and two different guys, under the pretext of looking out for him, took him aside to warn him that the guy he was flirting with is HIV+. The author was understandably pissed off. Firstly because the guy he was flirting with was a friend that he’d known was positive for some time and secondly because it’s no one else’s place to discuss someone’s HIV status except for the two people about to engage in sexual activity.
Even then, in my humble opinion, it’s not a must if safer sex practices are being used. The laws in the U.S. are clear that an HIV+ person must disclose their status regardless of how safe the sexual practices are which is absolutely ridiculous. There have been cases of men being listed as registered sex offenders because a sex partner found out much later that the men were HIV+ even though they hadn’t been infected themselves and safe sex had occured. The laws here aren’t as clear to me and they certainly aren’t prosecuted as strictly if it is necessary to disclose.
There are those of you that think the people warning their friend about the potential risk are doing their friend a favour and just looking out for him, to an extent that’s true. Let’s turn the situation around though. If you as a gay man were talking to a girl in a bar and your sexuality wasn’t common knowledge and a mutual friend “warned” the girl that you were gay, wouldn’t you be upset? Being outed, as gay or homosexual or even a republican (god forbid) could damage someone’s professional career or family life.
I’ll admit, there have been times in the past where I’ve been less than discreet about someone’s HIV status and I feel terrible about it. Thankfully no harm was done and the more I’ve learned about HIV and the more positive people I know, the more sensible and considerate I’ve become. HIV+ people fight enough stigma without having to deal with other people telling people as if they have the bubonic plague or schoolyard cooties.