Getting Brutally Honest

HIV Negative Gay Men Discuss Sex, Fear And Poz Guys

(Here is an account from blogger Mark S. King about producing the video below, “NEGATIVE: HIV Negative Gay Men Speaking for Themselves.)

“Talk to me like you talk to your friends when no one is around.”

That was my only request when I sat down with each of four HIV negative gay men to create a short film for my blog My Fabulous Disease about their lives and attitudes.

Evan Grab devilish grin cropThey held back nothing, sharing details of their sex lives, their fears of becoming infected, and, perhaps most surprising, what they really think of HIV positive guys. I couldn’t believe their candor, and have worked to distill two days of explicit conversations into ten minutes of brutal honesty (the language is sometimes NSFW).

They don’t speak for every gay man, only for themselves, and the differences of opinion between them is really striking. It really is a snapshot of what it means to be a negative and sexually active gay man these days. No matter which of these men you might relate to the most, there’s no doubt they are all just trying to carve out a satisfying sexual existence during a pretty confusing time.AJ Grab

I couldn’t help thinking of The Golden Girls when I was editing, because all the archetypes are here: the reserved one, the sensible one, the endearing one, the man-eater. Just saying this makes me guilty of the very thing the video is meant to address: how easily we label ourselves and others, and how we try to assign the same perspective to entire groups of people.

I deliberately produced this without any particular context. No one is presented as right or wrong. It is meant to provide a forum for these men to speak their truth without interruption — and perhaps help us see them as men stumbling through life as we all are, trying to make the best decisions they can with the information they have. I refuse to judge them for that.

If there is anything to be learned from this video, it is that there is no monolithic “HIV negative perspective.” Gay men are far too diverse for that. That’s a lesson our community seems to have to learn over and over again.

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  • Stache99

    Appreciate the honesty. Mostly common sense. Funny it’s the older guy that I see having the irrational ideas though. He only hooks up with guys who say their negative and will have bareback with them. Yeah, good luck with that.

  • gskorich

    it amazes me that people would be surprised when they become positive. they know the risks and when they take part in risky behavior your chances of getting positive are greater. it you are negative you have to protect yourself, condoms are the best defense

  • Icebloo

    I hope no straight people see this video ! It does our community much harm. These guys are idiots. They contradict themselves all the way through the video and make gay people look ridiculous !

    They do NOT represent me or many of my gay friends. They are the complete opposite.

  • Mark

    @Icebloo: I wouldn’t be so quick to speak for your friends; there’s a variety of views on display here, and the sum of them is a community unsure about what exactly to believe or how precisely to behave. While these men are speaking for themselves only, I know my friends can certainly relate to that.

  • Mezaien

    @Icebloo: It dose nothing to our community. As a mental health worker (behavioral Psychology) “straight so call” do a lot worst then you can think.

  • robho3

    The guy that says HIV is a death sentence is an idiot. Maybe he should just live in a plastic bubble. It really bothers me that in the year 2014 there is still such a stigma esp in the gay community. As a Poz gay man there are many times I feel substandard because there are so many men that don’t want to have anything to do to me.

  • Geeker

    With all the guys barebacking how long will it be before something new and maybe even worse than HIV comes along?

  • jonjct

    keeping it real, you have a disease that can kill me in the worst possible way. and if not kill me it will change my life in the worst possible way. and you want me to think and behave like that doesn’t matter. sure. reality check here. it matters. no thank you.

  • QuintoLover

    @curan: The problem is you can’t transfer diabetes by enjoying the greatest experience on earth. Whether or not you will or won’t die from HIV, most people don’t want to risk becoming infected with it to risk it.

  • tookietookie

    Sisquo FTW.

  • BigJohnSF

    The guy who says “HIV is a death sentence” and he would not have sex with someone he knows is positive, but “takes risks” with people who say they are negative – he is the most likely one of these people to seroconvert.

    You guys need to know the state of medical research: PrEP is more effective at preventing transmission than condoms, and positive men who are undetectable are also not infectious. But living in fear is more familiar to most people, so why not freak out?

  • joey

    i believe that the guy who had the death sentence comment said that he would feel like it was a death sentence FOR HIM, thats his feeling he would have for himself, i dont think he meant it in a scientific way rather a personal way for himself. i feel thats the way i would feel as well. i have had sex with poz guys but only found out after the fact, luckily i always wore condoms 100% of the time and my luck held out. as some have read my comments on here before (hello stache99 SMILE to you)i contracted hep b about 2 yrs ago i am on a anti-retroviral (tenofovir) probably for the rest of my life. i am so shattered by this that ive not had sex since and not sure if i will again. i had A LOT of CRAZY SEX and now i’m paying for it. i now think i understand how an hiv + guy must feel. i know for me personally, i’m too embarrssed or afraid to tell anyone and i couldnt ever put anyone at risk should some “accident” happen if i had sex with them

  • wooly101

    I had an uncle who died of hiv when it was a death sentence; it was not a pretty picture. I also have a cousin living with the disease. Although he is quite healthy, he still fools around without protection. It does anger me when guys throw caution to the wind regarding their health. It just seems there is a segment of the gay community that puts getting It on above all else and to hell with the consequences. While its manageable now, I agree with another poster that given time and carelessness a new deadly strain of the virus will emerge.

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