Looking for discussion inspiration, I surfed back the “The Again” Australian site on HIV discrimination issues. Under issues affecting one’s desire to not disclose, or better said a drawback to disclosing was:
He may want to talk about it and you might not want to play the role of a counselor or educator at that time.
Here is a big one for me. It’s not as if I never want to play this role but it depends on a few issues. I’d never not disclose because of it. As most people know, by example of this campaign, I disclose far and wide. It’s easier and gets it out of the way, allowing me to rarely think about it.
The biggest variable is “How much do I have invested in this guy?” If the answer is “About an hour.” Chances are that I’m not going to want to spend the time at all. I’d hand him the number to the information line, and wish him well.
If this was a guy who had the potential to be more, or there was a connection on a deeper level than by the hour, then I’d be willing to get more into it. Again, it would depend on where he was at. He if was totally freaked out, he may be in a play that is beyond repair, at least for me.
These are the cases that are best outsourced to real counsellor who’s been funded to take care of those needs. If the guy was hesitant, but just didn’t seem to have all the information, but was committed to working with me on this journey, I’d spend the time.
What gets me though are these negative guys who freak out with absolutely no awareness about how this affects the positive guy, AND THEN, expects the positive guy to hold his hand. First, in the negative guys mind, it’s OUR responsibility to disclose vs. their responsibility to protect themselves, and then when we do disclose, we’re supposed to proved them with emotion support. This doesn’t add up.
I don’t know about you folks, but I can’t think of a better way to spend my night that counselling someone about the fact they are terrified to be with me.
Could you imagine someone dealing with Cancer who had to go around consoling others in order for them to be comfortable around them?
I think not, and for me, it’s this unawareness that is the real turn off. Perhaps I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, but living with this since the mid-80s, I’ve paid my dues. There was a time when I could understand ignorance, in this day and age, 25-years into this, my tolerance level for it has gone way down!
How do others feel?