It was the most awkward moment ever.” “Several guys I used to hook up with regularly (always for safer sex) just simply ignored me when I told them I was positive,” says Paul, 51 from Reading.
“Most of the time they just block me, so the rejection is clear. I have also replied ‘yes, I am clean’ and we have met. “Someone with HIV is most likely to encounter stigma in the places where they are most likely to disclose their status,” he explains.
Sometimes guys have become abusive, especially if they’ve been hinting at wanting bareback sex. I then get asked if I’m clean – which is a word I cannot stand anyway, and I know what’s gonna happen next. “People are perhaps more likely to disclose on dating apps, as part of sexual negotiation, and to disclose to people who are not already their friends, so it doesn’t surprise me that it’s on dating apps where people are most likely to encounter HIV stigma.
I tell them my status and they then tell me how dirty I am.” “I get asked on dating sites like Grindr,” says Gavin, 30 from Cardiff. The same would be true of encountering other prejudices.
So take my advice, and sleep with someone who is honest from the start.” HIV-positive gay men deal with stigma in many areas of their everyday lives.
16% said they’ve faced stigma at work, 4% at school/college, 16% on Facebook, and 7% on Twitter.