World AIDS Day 2017
December 1st is World AIDS Day. It’s an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, to show support for people living with HIV, and to remember the ones we’ve lost. To mark this special day and to make the issue more human, we speak to Jordi, a handsome Romeo from Barcelona, about his personal story.
“My name is Jordi, I’m from Barcelona, and I work as an Event Project Manager. I love bearded hairy beefy guys, who are loving, confident, and sexy.”
The Impossible Happened
“On April 2013, I was living in Berlin, and like a lot of guys, I was kind of a control freak when it came to ensuring I was having safe sex. Taking HIV tests was a routine for me since I was 18 years old. Once again, I was in the clinic waiting for the results, bored like hell, checking out the guys that were sitting there. I’m called in, sit down, and here it comes: “Syphilis negative, HIV positive.” From that moment on I shut down. I can see and hear the volunteer talking, but I’m not listening at all. I’m gone, I’m only in my head looking outside thinking, Oh no, please… not me! And the unanswerable two questions that start drilling my brain: Why? How?”
I’d be happy to date a person living with HIV
“A few days later, I’m laying down on my bed, alone, looking at the ceiling trying to get some clarity. I have two possible ways to go from here; either I throw everything out the window, and I go wild and crazy, fucking around with anyone at all times, or I decide once and for all to love and respect myself. I choose the second one, but I am not feeling great about it. I avoid dating, and I avoid having sex for a few months. The only place where I’m OK to have sex is in cruising places where I don’t have to talk. And still, I’m not comfortable as I think, ‘What if I pass it on to someone else?'”
“I check around and none of my friends who are positive talk about it, I actually see that they always avoid the topic; they never mention it.”
To tell or not to tell?
“It’s been a couple of months since I was diagnosed as positive, I’m about to have my first sex date after the diagnosis. I met the guy online. I will of course not tell him anything about my status. Or, should I say something? Well, I’m going to wear a condom, so I don’t need to say it. Of course I’ m not going to say it! Why should I? Nobody has said it to me before! So why should I say it? I keep having this conversation inside my head, while I’m on my way to the sex date.”
Once I leave I’m kind of thinking, what if something happened? The thought of me being the cause of another infection leaves me unsettled. And from that moment on, this is how it goes every time I have sex. Sometimes I meet with guys that say they want to do BB, and there’s a certain relief when they offer me that, and then I can say, I’m positive myself. To my surprise, nobody says it back. They just keep talking about sex. I haven’t spoken about it to anyone, and it’s been more than four months now. Of course, talking to my family about it is not an option. My parents are nearly 80, and it would kill them if they found out!
Free to love myself
“I decide to change a few things in my life. A few months later, I take part in a course. At this point, I’m not aware that it’s going to change my life. I’m in my chair, listening to everything that’s being said, and suddenly I am totally uncomfortable. I see that, if I continue to hide or to suppress the fact that I’m positive in front of my parents, there’s no way that I’m going to be free and at peace with myself or with anyone else. This is fucked up as I don’t want to say it!! I give in, and I pick up the phone and call my parents’ house. Mom, there’s something that I need to tell you that I’ve been avoiding totally, as I’m very afraid that you might react with fear or desperation. In April, (now it’s December), I was diagnosed with HIV, and I couldn’t say it to you cause I thought you would freak out. Silence. My mother says, “Are you Ok? Why did you not tell us before?” And I start crying. I’m sorry, but I was too scared to say it, I haven’t even said it to anyone! After that, I talk to my father, and I say it to him. And then my parents tell me, “We love you anyway and that does not change a bit.””
“After that conversation, my life has changed entirely. I don’t hide it anymore, nor am I walking with a sign saying it, 😉 but I do have the freedom and the balls to say it to the people that I’m going to sleep with. I want to give them the freedom to choose whether they want to sleep with me or not. I wasn’t given that option, so I make sure people can choose. In the beginning, it was a bit shocking to see people turn me down, but I remembered: Hello???!! I turned guys down a couple of times who told me!! The most liberating thing is that I am 100% clear that those who want me, they really want me, and I no longer have to pretend anything or make sure nobody finds out. I call that freedom! Total Freedom. I have HIV, but HIV does not have me.”
My True Authentic Self
“Today I was ‘rejected’ by someone I thought was very handsome. It still shocks me, and yet, I’m totally proud of myself. That empowers me to continue, as whenever I say it, I can see that I am honoring who I am and I respect others, even if they don’t find me attractive anymore. I truly know my worth has nothing to do with anyone’s approval.”
Make Your Voice Heard
If you would like to write a piece about your experiences, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We also feature gay professionals in our Queer Careers section.
Do you have love in you life? PLANETROMEO believes in Love in its many forms.