He introduced himself through Grindr as Gabriel/28 yrs/5’9/flex and he wasn’t looking for a one night stand. I always assumed that the worst of the guys I would meet will be on gay hook-up apps, unless they proved to me otherwise. Somehow Gabriel seem different, playful but with a straight forward truth when he spoke to me. I had developed a liking for him through every coffee, lunch, movie and dinner date. I found him to be extremely sexy and charismatic, especially the way he would hold my lower back to usher me through the doorway. He was the kind of gentleman I had not seen for a long time, and they say, “Chivalry is dead!” So everything was nice and charming with Gabriel but something was missing. It was 3 weeks of dating, talking, sex texting and good night kisses but no sex. Not even a blow job!
I remembered odd times when there was something on his mind. We would sit in front of each other and I noticed his nervous behaviour. As we walked through Neil Rd, just right before the intersection to Maxwell Hawker Centre, he asked me the question I never wanted to hear, “ What if a guy you like is HIV positive?”. There was just an empty stare from me like a deer that was caught in a head light. I had no idea what to reply at that moment and so I laughed awkwardly and replied, “Doesn’t matter if he has a big cock”. As I was growing up, I could never filter my thoughts and hence my responses caused me to have verbal diarrhea and it caused him to stare blankly at me like I had shitted in my pants. I wanted to assure him that I understood what he was getting at but I couldn’t communicate my thoughts or words, so I ignored the question and asked him if he wanted Ice Kacang dessert instead.
I want to think that I am a liberal person but I wasn’t quite sure after that night. I asked him to give me some time to process what he had told me. I should really be thankful and privileged that someone had come forth with their most vulnerable secret and shared it with me. Instead I turned the conversation on Ice Kacang. I can’t imagine telling someone that I am HIV positive knowing that the person either can reject me or accept me and from what I see in the community, it will probably be a rejection. I had to seek advice from my best friend who has been my light at every dark tunnel. He asked me “How many guys did I sleep with and don’t know their HIV status, and why this one matters so much?” He is right.
I do sleep with guys where I don’t bother to ask for their status, which I assume is negative. Why do I need to care so much about Gabriel’s status? I need to see beyond his status and focus on him being a person. But in order for me to do that is to better understand myself and how comfortable I am. There isn’t a quick answer to all these questions because I was raised to not get infected with HIV, and safer sex prevention to stay negative. Now being faced with this tough situation I have to relearn my safer sex practice and how to practice safer sex with someone whom I will share my life with and who happens to be HIV positive.
If you want to know what happened to Gabriel, he broke up with me for someone else. That is another issue I have to work on. Men! They are all the same regardless of their status.
To be continue……
If you are starting a Serodiscordant relationship (also known as magnetic or mixed-status couples), where one partner is HIV-positive and the other partner is HIV-negative you might want to discuss further with one of our experienced HIV counsellor. Please call our Coordinated Care Support Programme 6256-5903 and ask to speak to Avin Tan our Norani Othman.
If you have had a condom failure or may have recently been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, you need to see a doctor as soon as possible. CLICK HERE