—Soak In Anguish
“There’s a lot less fear but still a lot of stigma, if that makes sense?
Like, there are some really good drugs available now, and HIV is very far from a death sentence (in the US, at least). Modern drugs may even suppress your viral load to the point that you cannot effectively pass it on to anyone else. Yet I have spoken to people who say they would never sleep with someone who was HIV positive, even with protection and even if they are undetectable. (the drugs work so well that you test negative even knowing you are HIV positive).
Another thing that affects him: the population of gay men is getting younger. I am 28 years old. I didn’t know what AIDS was until 1999, and I didn’t understand the connection to being gay until college (around 2005 or so). I don’t know anyone personally who died of AIDS. My parents yes, however. It’s different to fear something your parents and grandparents had to endure than something you’ve seen the horrors of yourself.
It is still part of our history. In the spaces where I have met and discussed with older queer people, there are so few men in their 60s as there are women. We still remember that.”
“It was my mom’s #1 concern when I came out to her (she grew up in the 80s when it was a big deal).
The answer is that today they are not as afraid as before. People live over 40 years with HIV because the drugs we have now are so advanced that you can pretty much live a normal life with them. That’s about as close to a cure as it gets. That said, these are still drugs with side effects, and a lot of guys don’t think about them.
There’s also PrEP now, which is a daily drug that sexually active men take that almost entirely reduces the risk of contracting the virus.. Some men (and women) who are in relationships with HIV-positive people also take this drug.”