“I had a feeling you were going to say that”

…I’ve heard this line a few times now after disclosing my HIV status. I’m not at all offended – but I do find it curious, and can’t help but wonder why exactly. The first couple of times I could totally understand, shortly after I was diagnosed it was obvious I had something weighing on my mind and I guess I made a big deal of letting people know I had something important to discuss.

However, it’s happened a few times since, on occasions when I’ve disclosed my HIV status within a fairly relaxed conversation.

As I say, I’m not offended. But I guess it’s left me questioning how I didn’t see it coming. I mean, if it’s not surprising to others that I’m HIV positive, why did it come as such a shock to me?

I don’t and have never considered myself an excessive risk-taker when it comes to sex. I’ve no issue with using condoms, and having discussed this with many of my gay friends, it would seem I’ve had fewer unprotected sexual partners in my life than most.

Of course, it may only take one unprotected sexual encounter to risk HIV infection – but my point is, I’m not someone who would have frequently put myself in high-risk situations, so it should be really very surprising that I was unlucky enough to become HIV positive, right? …at least that’s my (admittedly flawed) logic.

In my time wondering about why someone might expect me to be HIV positive, one line of thought is that statistically gay men have a higher than average liklihood of contracting HIV than straight men, or women. HIV still has a strong association with the gay community. Perhaps on some level there’s a part of everyone’s psyche that almost expects HIV to affect most gay men at some point, so it’s not surprising when any gay man says they are HIV positive? …in which case, I guess I shouldn’t take it personally.

But still I wonder if it could be something about me that kinda screams ‘probably HIV positive’ to people even before I disclose.

Yesterday I was talking with someone, and mentioned I was HIV positive. His response was “I thought you would say that”, this time I asked “why?”, and his reply was something along the lines of “it’s just your language or how you phrase things sometimes. I’ve friends who are positive and sometimes you sound like them, I just assumed”.

…I didn’t question him on the specifics, mainly because disclosing my HIV status is something I still worry about, and the relief of realising I was talking to someone who didn’t see my HIV status as an issue outweighed my desire to understand what language I’d used that caused him to assume I was positive.

Perhaps for everyone that seems unsurprised when I tell them I’m HIV positive, there’s a different reason. Perhaps it doesn’t really matter now. But it still makes me think.

One thought on ““I had a feeling you were going to say that””

  1. I’ve blatantly stated to everyone that I’m HIV positive and I’m a woman. A straight woman at that. And I will freely admit that I was dumb enough not to practice safe sex. I was an idiot, all I wanted was love, but all I got was a virus. Every day I wonder why someone who had HIV slept with me without using a condom. Why would someone do something that awful? Not that I think people who have HIV are awful, I mean I have it and I’m not awful. But I wasn’t aware I had it and it almost killed me. And every day, I wish it had, so I wouldn’t be here suffering and miserable because I can’t move or take care of myself. I was unconscious for 6 months and I still can’t walk. And the only information the people in the care center I’m in keep giving me is, “Keep trying and it will get easier.” That really doesn’t help me. Anyway, my point is, being HIV positive needs to stop being assumed that it’s you’re fault. People are to afraid to say they have it, which leads them to hiding it, which makes it continue to spread. The only way to stop this virus, is to make sure you get treated, and make sure any person you sleep with takes Prep in order to avoid catching it. Why people are afraid to talk about these things is beyond me. People need to start accepting that it’s NECESSARY.

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