We get mail . . .
Some folks write to the site, instead of leaving comments here. Their emails are an interesting read; they often voice opinions which wouldn’t otherwise have been heard.
Most people are pretty complimentary; honestly, the word “amazing” appears quite often. One person used the words “disturbing, blunt and effective” - I liked that too. But there are also some criticisms and I wanted to deal with three of those today. These all incidentally revolve around disclosure. I’ll paraphrase them for you.
Accusation # 1 : Disclosing is not a choice, poz guys have to disclose their status when having sex. You are nasty, irresponsible people for suggesting otherwise!
My reaction? Clearly there is a bit of work to be done here, involving both poz and beg guys, in helping folks understand exactly what the law says. There seems to be a common perception that the law says disclosure is alwasy necessary BUT a) that’s not true, and b) if neg guys think poz guys will disclose always, they are unnecessarily putting themselves at risk and c) we need to repeat that the greatest danger of infection comes from newly infected/infectious guys who don’t know they are poz, so disclosure isn’t the magic bullet that keeps everyone safe. In short, the law, and folks shaky understanding of it, have created a minefield of dangerous misconceptions. In fact those who say the law results in more new infections, not less, are probably right. How we dig ourselves out of this mess I’m not sure, but more education on it will help.
Your reacton ?????????
Accusation # 2: Stigma makes poz guys lie about their status, therefore all sex is dangerous and scary. You are nasty irresponsible people for spoiling sex for me.
My reaction? Stigma certainly isn’t a helpful factor in having people talk openly about their status, but accusations of lying about it aren’t helpful either. I don’t really know whether many people lie; if they do I understand, but don’t approve. I suspect a much more common way of dealing with being poz though is just not talking about it. And that’s OK, in my book, if you’re not exposing your partner to risk, or not considering a relationship. But if some neg guys are relying on partner disclosure as their safer sex strategy, that’s just naive. Why not revert to the strategy of treating all partners as if they are potentially positive? So that lying, if it occurs, is hardly an issue.
Your reaction: ?????????
Accusation # 3: You’re excusing poz guys who don’t tell their partners their status. You are nasty irresponsible people for encouraging dishonesty.
My reaction? This all seems to stem from that slogan “If you were rejected every time you disclosed, would you?” which has been much discussed here. Some folks whose opinions I respect have questioned the wisdom of choosing this slogan for this same reason - that it appears to condone,. perhaps even encourage, nondisclosure. Regardless of the fact that disclosure isn’t always required by law (see above), I must admit it does concern me that folks have interpreted the campaign that way. So was that slogan a wise choice? Can we afford to have negative interpretations of it out there? Honestly, I’m not sure.
Let’s hear from ya!