In response to this Out.com piece on HIV in monogamous gay relationships:
Okay, okay, okay, I know that HIV is more easily spread by anal intercourse and that the audience for this article is gay men (it’s out.com, so that’s clear), but this article bothered me because the implication seems to be that this is a gay problem, when we all know that HIV is not just a gay problem. Heterosexuals get HIV, too, and they get it from their supposedly committed partners quite often. Anal intercourse is becoming more and more and more common among heterosexuals, also. According to some polls, many younger women say that due to the proliferation of it in porn, their partners are obsessed with getting anal. Not to mention, many women like anal! So, the implication that this is just a gay issue bothers me.
In addition, the message in this article harkens back to that “YOU CAN’T TRUST ANYONE, NOT EVEN YOUR COMMITTED PARTNER/SPOUSE” approach from the 80s and 90s that has been proven to backfire in terms of actually preventing the spread of HIV. (Why has it backfired? There are many psychological reasons behind it, but let’s just sum a lot of them up by saying that going into a relationship/marriage/commitment with the agreement that you can’t trust each other is a recipe for disaster.) People want to to trust their partners/spouses.
The fact is, welp, sometimes people are shitty and they cheat. That happens if you’re gay or straight. In fact, most studies show that somewhere between 25% and 50% of men cheat. And I’m telling you, just from women I know personally, women cheat, too. The results of that cheating and the outcome for you in terms of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases depends on a lot of things–whether they use condoms while cheating, whether the people they cheat with are being honest with them about their statuses. These are things that can happen whether you’re straight or gay. These are things that we can’t predict. They’re tragic when they happen, but saying, “You can’t trust anyone” isn’t the answer. In other words, this article hit a lot of wrong notes for me.
So, here’s the thing. Sometimes you trust the wrong person and bad things happen, but you can’t live your life never trusting anyone. It’s not healthy and it’s not remotely safe. Sorry, Out, but I think you’ve got this one wrong.