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    « DEAR DAN--WEDNESDAY | Main | »

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    Kathy

    See, Dan, this is why we read you. It's not just for the news clips of your ballroom dancing coverage. (Although, that was one of the best things EVER!)
    Thanks for putting this up. I think people forget. Or maybe I'm just naive.

    blackbird

    So
    wise.


    Brilliant too.

    Michael

    Good advice, Dan, but I must quibble with some of the details: condoms do NOT offer 100% protection from the virus, and just because he doesn't come in your mouth doesn't mean you're not exposed to virus in pre-come.

    Yes, taking these precautions (or better yet, using a condom during oral sex, but that's a losing battle) will reduce your chances of infection nearer to zero, but they are not zero.

    If your friend is really in love with this guy, and believes his guy is actually in love with him, they can work things out and by being careful his risk is ultra-low, but he needs to know that there is no "Totally Safe."

    Liz

    "You must remember: he has always put his own best interest before yours."


    THANK YOU DAN! Your dear reader must realize we would all like to be in a relationship, but we each deserve a spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy one. When should he have been told about the status of his lover? In my opinion- day one. With holding information is manipulation. Period.

    Dean

    I could understand not telling on a first date (assuming the relationship didn't get too physical on the first date.) But once things get past the heavy petting stage, it's time to bring it up.

    chuck

    i'm curious if you hear any follow-up past this now, dan.

    and great response to his letter.

    Anthony

    Dan, great response. One follow up recommendation would be to explore these issues in couples therapy to assess whether or not the relationship is salvageable. I've worked with several serodiscordant couples who practiced safe sex; however, this person's issue lies in not being told the truth about his partner's status before the relationship began. I would also question whether the person who sent this letter explicitly asked about HIV status prior to beginning a sexual relationhip. You never know the heuristics that people use when engaging in sex - without a frank discussion of HIV and STD's prior to the onset of a sexual relationship, people rationalize sexual behavior based on truly bizarre and strange thinking.

    Kelly

    To the reader that sent this in:

    Your boyfriend completely disregarded your health, safety & TRUST by not being up front with you.

    He exposed you to a potentially deadly disease, one that millions of people suffer from & die from every single day.

    He didn't think of you. He was thinking of himself. He was afraid that you wouldn't like him if he told you. It's a stigma that he has to live with every single day. And knowing how hard it is to get people to see him for him & not the disease that he acquired he should have had enough RESPECT for you to let you make the decision. Instead he took your life into his own hands.

    You need to leave him. If he is willing to lie to you about this HUGE issue then what else is he willing to lie to you about?

    For me the issue isn't whether or not you should stay with him because he has HIV, the issue is that he is selfish & has little to no regard to your feelings.

    Run don't walk away from him. He's no good!

    Liz

    Kelly- I agree. It's not about the status, it's about the dishonesty from the beginning.

    Dean- You're right. Once it get's physical it's time to mention it. That's pretty much right away for many people.

    John  Moroney

    Wow...this is a really difficult one.

    As an HIV+ person, I can relate to the boyfriend's situation. You haven't experienced rejection like you do when you tell someone and their face, demeanor and attitude towards you changes in the blink of an eye.
    I must admit that I have behaved like this in the past...but it was not out of deception it was out of fear. I always took the precautions to have incredibly safe sex, because I understood the choice I was making and I would never be able to live with myself if I knew that I had willingly or unwillingly infected someone.

    Obviously, we have one side of the story here - I'm not condoning what the boyfriend did AT ALL. But I've done it and it was wrong.

    If I was to take an offense posture, I would ask our dear, sweet victim if he bothered to ASK his boyfriend's HIV status before they hopped into bed. Responsibility, in a perfect world, should work both ways.

    It's all very nice for you to pontificate about this...but I only caution you to be careful. You would not believe how awful it has been on this side of the HIV fence. Even those of you who profess to understand and accept proffer a condescension and unintended pity that is every bit as damaging as the scorn of others.

    No one likes to feel like they are a pariah - even from someone with the best intentions. The fear of being ostracized in the gay community, for most gay men, is on the same level as snakes and public speaking.

    The fact is that HIV is a scary scary disease. And because people don't talk about it like they did ten years ago doesn't mean that it is anything to forget about. The fact is that statistics show that unprotected sex is up, which means people have forgotten - or they're just dumb. The best we can do is continue to educate each other constantly about it and never never forget what this insidious virus can do.
    Just be careful, my friends, about the strong stance you take, lest ye smite yourself with your own rhetorical sword.

    Dan, I appreciate your stance on this - I think your response was passionate and mostly fair, if not a little heavy handed.

    Jesse

    If you have a deadly disease it is your responsibility to tell the other person you have it.

    Sorry John, I totally disagree. Political correctness can go to hell, protecting people's feelings be damned, all of it. If you have a deadly disease, it is your responsibility to alert someone if you are possibly going to infect them.

    We all have a responsibility to protect ourselves, yes--but I have asked people if they have HIV, and they lied. It's not up to the person asking. If you have it, you need to tell someone, and before you are starting to have sex. No one said life was fair. It's not fair you have to tell everyone you have HIV, which unfortunately turns some people off. But it's more "not fair" for someone to have sex with you and not know they could be infecting themselves with something.

    I agree with Dan 100%.

    Glenn C.

    To the guy who wrote that his partner was positive and didn't tell him until years later- Get Out of there AS FAST AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN and then get a good lawyer!!! And think of all the other things that he hasn't told you. What other STDs does he have? And who else has he been sleeping with and possibly infected???

    Todd

    Here's my approach, (when I was in the dating scene, and you never know whom you can trust): Assume everyone you meet is HIV+ until you learn otherwise. Practice safe sex at all times. If you are afraid of any risk (however minute), don't have sex. You need to take responsibility for yourself first and foremost ... and determine what level of risk you are willing to accept.

    The issue with the letter writer seems more about dishonesty than the HIV+ issue.

    melissa

    I totally think this girl should run the guy is a liar regardless of his reasoning.I have a solution to this problem in the future & is what I do,I demand that they are screened for ALL std's & I see the doctors results & I return the favor .I know it seem's exteme but that's the only way you can be sure ,this also means you'll take a little longer before hop into bed which means you'll find out if they really deserve to be given something that special.I know that sounds so 1950's but as a reformed super slut I know both sides of the sexy fence

    Ed

    To the left, to the left....mmmm

    First of all, you have to put that Beyonce CD in the stereo (playing it off your iPod works too) and play Irreplaceable. That criminal is going to be out of your life from now on and this is your anthem. I can't believe positive guys don't tell people of their status. That is so fucking selfish. Yes I understand the fear of rejection, etc. etc. but it's the right thing to do. What a jerk!

    But I gotta say this to the person who wrote the letter: YOU'RE A FUCKING DUMBASS! I don't care how unromantic it is to ask someone of their status and whatnot, but you have to be responsible when having sex. The first thing must do even before the clothes is off is ask the person if they have an STD or something they want to warn you about. I know how uncomfortable it is and possibly rude to ask this, but if you care about your own health then you must do this bitch. When I ask sex partners this I do it jokingly, but make sure to bring it up and get a direct response from the person, that's with a condom. When it's without a condom then I make sure to be dead serious about this subject and will only accept a verbal yes or no. I would never have sex with someone who has an STD, even if I loved the guy. Not even some Jack and Ennis type love could make me have sex with you.

    If you would have bothered to ask then you wouldn't be in this emotional mess. If you really care about him and would have sex with him still after knowing he's positive then think of yourself as a widow now. The jerk is dead from now on, loving him not even an option anymore, well you can love him, but it's like loving James Brown, he can be your long lost love that you write 'I miss you' poems about, but honey please don't do that to yourself. It's a waste of time and energy. Nobody likes a wallower. You need to play that Beyonce song and celebrate that you're single again. Natasha Bedingfield's song "Single" works too.

    August

    Melissa, why are you assuming that the letter to Dan was a girl? Dan refers to TOP or BOTTOM in his response so most likely it's a gay relationship.

    That's just a hideous thing not telling someone & I've had it happen to me as well.

    Coy

    Yes! to assuming that everyone is hiv+ unless they tell you otherwise. And yes, those who are infected should be forthcoming with thier status info. But we all know... people lie. SOOOOOO, then YOU must take responsibility and make sure there is a condom used at all times.

    I agree with most others, the larger issue is honesty and trust. Without them a
    relationship doesn't have much to stand on.
    How can there be trust when a lie of this magnitude has been dealt? Cut your losses.

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