As a gay man who also happens to be “poz” (that’s part of the exciting and wonderful lingo which we poz guyz get to use as a result of our HIV status–ain’t it grand!), I can’t help but recoil from the mind-set of certain of the HIV-negative men portrayed in Justin Hayford’s recent article [“Negative Thinking,” January 31]. On one hand, the pulse of Hayford’s article is right on target in projecting that the HIV-infection rate among gays may well begin to rise: whether gay men now are (a) just willing to spin the wheel, (b) hoping for the new drug cocktail to carry them through, or (c) just plain exhausted from years of water-based lube and Trojans, there’s a new mood out there and it sure isn’t one of safer sex.

However, a pulse is clearly missing from these parade-passing-by HIV-negative whiners who are having such a hard time dealing with the fact that their lives may be prolonged, absent the virus. Absolutely, HIV-negative groups are a good thing if they help gay men stick to condom-wearing sex and to work through their various fears, but it would be even better if these groups would help their members also understand that they can partner with HIV-positive men (whether for an evening or for a lifetime) and Be-Just-Fine.

Furthermore, context is everything. A couple of years ago, I was sitting through an HIV treatment update seminar in a room filled with very frightened poz men whose viral loads were exploding and in whose lives the concept of a drug cocktail was not even a dream away. But who was up there onstage moderating the evening? This HIV-negative gay politico (then new in town and now departed–good riddance) blabbing on and on about how tough it’s been for him to be an HIV-negative gay man in this community of poz brothers. Gag. Retch. Please, keep your survivor’s guilt to yourself when twirling around in front of a roomful of men who don’t go a day without wondering with legitimacy whether they will live to the next year.

As for “Frank,” the centerpiece of Hayford’s article who purportedly has remained celibate for 13 years and who apparently is terrified of just about everything worth living for, he sure doesn’t need the HIV virus because it sounds as if his body, heart, and soul are already dead. Bottom line for all of us, whether poz or negative, is that the clock is ticking and lemme tell you–I’d really rather spend the time that’s left holding hands with my (HIV-negative) boyfriend than wringing mine alone and for far too long in some insulated support group.

Gregg Cadieux

Gab Magazine