Good grief

HIV positive gay guys blocked on Grindr by guys on PrEP

A man’s tweet about being blocked on Grindr has prompted much comment online.

David (@homesweethomo), 26, is based in Orlando, Florida. In late 2018, he was diagnosed HIV positive. Last month, he went public with the information by posting to social media to let his friends and followers know.

Although on medication and undetectable, David has found that HIV stigma remains rampant among some sections of society – including other gay guys. This week he posted about being blocked on Grindr.

“Well I was excited to hook up with someone then when I told them I was undetectable they blocked me ? the kicker is they’re on prep!!! I’m tired.”

Related: Watch: Gareth Thomas gets emotional learning undetectable = untransmittable

If someone is HIV positive, on medication and consistently undetectable, there is zero risk of them passing on the virus during sex, with or without condoms. This is the basis of the U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable) campaign.

PrEP is highly effective at ensuring someone who is HIV negative stays that way. In fact, a recent Australian safe sex campaign highlighted how PrEP was more effective than condoms.

And of course, there’s nothing stopping you using condoms, too.

Clearly, lots of gay guys still haven’t got the memo. David told Queerty this was not the first time this had happened. And it’s hurtful and exhausting.

“I’ve gotten into conversations with people who were on PrEP that immediately went from being interested to not interested. Getting blocked is usually more frequent, though.

David says he’s encountered a lot of ignorance online since being diagnosed HIV positive (Photo: @dyevid | Instagram)

“Dealing with stigma is perhaps the worst part of being HIV+, especially when it’s people on PrEP, since that is exactly what their medication is there for: the prevention of HIV.

“The U=U message is very common, yet not completely understood by everyone, and we need members of the community to keep pushing that message. I believe the stigma has lessened since, say, five years ago, but we are nowhere near where we need to be with regards to the acceptance of HIV+ individuals.”

Some people suggested David doesn’t tell potential partners of his status.

However, as David reminded them, it’s illegal to fail to disclose one’s HIV status in Florida if asked (as it is in several other US states).

Most commentators were supportive and told David he’d dodged a bullet. Others shared similar experiences.

Related: 4 ways to reject someone on a dating app rather than ignoring them

Matthew Hodson, director of HIV information organization NAM, told Queerty, “When someone is on effective HIV treatment there’s zero risk of sexual transmission.

“PrEP alone is more than 99% effective.

“It’s frankly absurd for anyone on PrEP to think that rejecting someone who is open about their HIV status is a better strategy for preventing HIV. Someone who is undiagnosed, and unable to disclose, is likely to have a much higher viral load and so be more likely to pass the virus on.

“Sadly, all too often, lingering, outdated fears trump scientific understanding.

“HIV has changed. When treated we have equal life expectancy. The ignorance and prejudice we still face is now one of the greatest challenges for people with HIV.”