His status changed nothing to me about him, but I was worried how he felt.I wonder how many guys are out there keeping their diagnosis and medication secret because of stigma and fear.“Thankfully, we now live in the very promising era of effective HIV treatment that mean that a positive person’s life expectancy is largely the same as that of a negative individual.Yet social stigma poses so many problems for the newly-diagnosed individual, who may fear rejection from others, the inability to ever have a 'normal' relationship, and who may continually question his own self-worth as he is made to feel inferior to HIV-negative people.” I’ve interviewed many guys living with HIV now.“And he gave me HIV,” he dropped into the tequila-laced conversation.I was shocked because we’d been friends before dating, and had been in many situations where HIV had been a prominent conversation topic.Like those guys who repress their sexuality for the ‘straight’ life of wife, kids and IKEA flat-packs, it can’t be healthy to imprison such a storm.
When I asked him how he paid the rent, he snorted and replied: “My ass.” He was also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.Because the way to fight HIV isn’t separately, it’s together. HIV Blind Date is on Thursday 21 January at the Queen’s Head, 25 Tyron Street, SW3 3LG. He’d never once mentioned his status, and I’d assumed he was negative. Huddled together in the corner of a shrieking pub full of whiskey-soaked drag queens, he confided in me a status he’d told no one. He’d read an article I’d written online and had assumed I was positive too.I kissed him and grabbed his hand, and stole him away from the drag queens to go home and have him to myself.And that, my friends, is how we came up with HIV Blind Date.“HIV is the gay scene’s boogie man,” said DJ Mark Ashley-Dupe in our Young People’s Discussion of HIV.1 - Breaking the apron strings Photo of a man and his mother: Shutterstock If you believe you can move the relationship along at a snail´s pace and build up to meeting the family at around the six- month mark, then think again.If he´s into you then you can expect him to ask you to meet his mum, cousins and uncle Jose pretty quickly.Clearly what that boogie man needed was a group of fabulous activists from Act Up London to storm in, grab it by its ass and shove it into a light entertainment format that’s gonna vajazzle the stigma right out of its shadow. It’s a theatre show designed to share stories of love, dating and relationships with HIV.We want to raise awareness and celebrate the fabulous fierceness of our community, both positive and negative.