Someone who I’d consider an acquaintance is HIV+ and he’s not forth coming about his status. For the most part his health has nothing to do with me so I stay out of his business. That changes when he tries to have sex with my friends. That’s also when things get complicated. I would always look out for a friend and warn him if I thought he was headed for trouble. But it’s a tricky thing to warn someone about HIV. I would not want to say anything unless I was certain sex was a going to happen. One of my fears is that when/if I say something, it turns out that sex was never a consideration and I just outted this person for no reason. That would be a horrible thing to do. I’ll give you a scenario to make it more clear:
Said acquaintance was at the Christmas party a couple years ago. I saw him flirting with a friend and my antenna went on alert. For the most part I chalked it up to harmless flirting. Although I knew they fit each others ‘type’. You never know how the night will end or if they’ll make plans for a future hook up. I pulled my HIV negative friend aside and simple said, “Be careful and use protection.”
It would be inappropriate of me to run around telling everyone he talked to “Hey, you better watch out for him…” Don’t get me wrong, he has every right to flirt and be as social as he wants. If he wants to fuck the whole party, he is more then welcome to try. My problem is that he’s not honest about it and my friends are being put at risk. If I knew he was upfront about his status I wouldn’t give it a second thought. Unfortunately he doesn’t always tell people and there are lines about condoms. That’s a huge problem. It’s not my secret to tell, but I’m not going to sit back and watch someone be mislead.
A devil’s advocate would point out that it’s everyone’s personal responsibility to protect themselves. If everyone always wears a condoms, there is less to worry about. That’s true, but would you want to look a friend in the face after the fact and tell them you knew ahead of time and said nothing? What would you do? Butt in and say something or stay out of other people’s personal lives?
P.S. Please don’t take this as a generalization that everyone with HIV is dishonest. The fact is, this acquaintance is the only person I know with HIV who’s not upfront about it. Everyone else is truthful from the beginning and I respect them for their courage.