By Thomas Whitfield
I’ve gone on three dates with a guy. We have a lot in common, and I like him a lot. He’s much nicer than most guys I’ve dated, which is refreshing. On our last date he told me he’s HIV-positive, and now I don’t think I can date him anymore. I’ve never been with anyone who is positive, and it freaks me out. We haven’t had sex yet, and I’m not even sure I could—I’d be so worried the entire time. Do you think I have to keep dating him? I don’t want to be a bad guy, but I’ve never been in this position. -Male, Gay, 37
You have every right to date/f*ck anyone you want to and not date/f*ck anyone you don’t want to, and for any reason. You said this guy is “much nicer” and the first guy you’ve dated that’s HIV-positive (that you’re aware of), but if you want to go back to dating shitheads just because they’re HIV-negative, sure, go for it. If you’re 37, single and want to be in a relationship, it’s not because there’s a lack of guys in NYC—it’s because you clearly think you’re deserving of something you’re not. My opinion, do this guy a favor and don’t date him. He doesn’t have to settle for you just because he’s positive.
One of my friends came out to me as HIV-positive last weekend, and I want to make sure I’m there for him as much as I can be. He seems to be handling it OK, but he was very nervous telling me. I tried to be supportive and tell him it’s not a big deal. I want him to be able to tell me anything in the world, but this is something new for me, and I’m scared of saying the wrong thing or offending him. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells now, and I’m sure he’s noticed. I don’t want him to think it’s because I disapprove. I just really don’t want to accidentally hurt his feelings! Any tips?
-Male, Gay, 24
It’s sweet of you that you’re so concerned with potentially hurting your friend’s feelings. Remember, he was vulnerable and shared something personal with you, so it’s also OK for you to be vulnerable and share this concern with him. Let him know that you’re nervous about saying something wrong, because you genuinely care about him and don’t want to hurt his feelings. Ask him to kindly tell you if you say something out of bounds or accidentally offend him. There is a huge difference between purposely saying something mean to hurt someone’s feelings and making a mistake with your words. He obviously values your friendship, so I expect he will value you being up front and honest too.