If you’re looking for evidence that the culture — and science — have come a long way from the beginnings of the HIV scare, glance no further than a new write-up at Queerty.com.
Not long ago, HIV was a short waiting game, followed by AIDS as a swift death sentence. And in the early days of the disease’s discovery, mere talk of it was often drenched with fear.
But for many, it would seem, those days are in the rearview mirror — dramatic advances have been made.
As per Healthline, in 1996, the life expectancy of a 20-year-old who contracted HIV was 39. By 2011, that number had leapt to 70.
And, at least in some circles, the culture has similarly jumped.
Hence, courtesy of Qeerty:
The article begins by profiling a couple named Todd and Carl.
They love one another like crazy and continue to be amazed at how much they have in common.
It’s a veritable dream come true:
They work out together at the same gym, enjoy watching the same nerdy, sci-fi and fantasy series on Netflix, and share a love for Japanese and Korean food.
It takes a village:
They seemed to effortlessly merge their groups of friends when they got together and share the same values when it comes to working hard and building their careers.
“Neither has popped the question yet,” the writer notes, but they’re “likely heading toward marriage somewhere down the line.”
And how about physical things? I’ll leave that to your imagination, but be assured it’s “mindblowing.”
Then, the writer twists it up: Actually, Todd and Carl never happened. They never got to find out they both dreamed of adopting a child and “trekking across South America one day.”
And why? Because, as they were both looking for love on a dating app, Todd had stated on his profile he was HIV positive.
Carl’s response: “Sorry, not quite what I’m looking for.”
The spinner of the teasing tale laments:
And with that, a relationship that would have changed both their lives disappeared into the ether. Mr Right was pushed right back out of the door.
But the writer pushes forward:
If someone is HIV positive, knows their status, is on effective medication and has consistently had an undetectable viral load, they cannot pass on the virus. PrEP is also widely available in the US and several other countries to prevent people from acquiring HIV. And condoms are also, of course, widely available.
And here’s a new word for ya: “serodiscordant.”
I know a couple of long-term serodiscordant couples. A serodiscordant relationship is one in which one partner is HIV positive and one is HIV negative. Single myself, I look upon these relationships with awe. Not because of the HIV side of things, but just because I’m always impressed and inspired by any longterm couples.
I can’t imagine one without the other, or what would have happened if a fear of acquiring HIV, or a decision to reject someone for being HIV positive, had prevailed.
The columnist contends that, if someone cuts out those who are infected, they’re worsening their already terrible chances of ever finding that right person. And if they’re so picky, they may end up like Emma Watson:
[Y]ou don’t meet many of “the ones” during life, actually. A survey by AARP last year found that “57% of gay men over the age of 45 are single compared to 39% of lesbians.”
There are many reasons for this, and yes, plenty of us are content being “self-partnered”, as actress Emma Watson recently put it. But many others are less happy at not being in a relationship.
The blogger does admit you must “do what you feel is best for you.”
[D]o so with an awareness of the potential consequences of those decisions. Refusing to entertain the idea of dating an HIV-positive person might just mean you miss out on the love of your life.
According to the CDC, in case you were wondering, approximately 1.1 million people in the U.S. have HIV, and “49 percent [have] the virus under control through HIV treatment.”
Here’s Queerty’s bottom line:
If you find yourself single and contemplating why, bear in mind it might be because you blocked ‘Mr Right’ when you read he was HIV positive on Grindr.
So keep in mind:
Of course, some will say, “My perfect man doesn’t (have) HIV!” Well, I hope you’re not too old before you realize: Nobody’s perfect.
Who can argue with that?
To be sure, it could absolutely happen, whether straight or gay, that the most wonderful person you ever meet has an infectious, contagious disease. And if so, that’s something you’ll need to weigh.
Having said that, I’m a bit surprised by the article’s emphasis on sexual contact, rather than “What You Stand to Lose by Not Having a Relationship with People with HIV.”
Some Twitter users appear taken aback as well:
— Big Tobacco (@SPAGHETTIWRWLF) November 23, 2019
— Say No To NewSpeak 🇺🇸 (@sandydmohler) November 23, 2019
This is an incredibly bad take. pic.twitter.com/EDqFL4H6IN
— Frugal Ant (@FrugalAnt) November 23, 2019
If I wanted to destroy my immune system I'd drink every night
— DeviousWings (@DeviousWings) November 23, 2019
Trump Jr. even commented:
Well I can think of one thing. https://t.co/A34xY74OYc
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 23, 2019
And then there was this:
— junkyard emperor (@junkyard_emprah) November 23, 2019
It’s a new era.
Personally, I say life is precious; be careful with yours.
In every way.
That could mean you share time with amazing people who are sick. But it doesn’t mean you have to get sick, too.
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