My fear of AIDS is destroying my life
December 1, 2011 4:32 PM Subscribe
I'm a 28 year old gay male. My fear of AIDS is destroying my life. It's so bad that I don't really want to be gay anymore.
posted by Tyrant King Porn Dragon to Human Relations (45 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a college-educated 28 year old professional. I know how HIV is spread. I know how HIV is prevented. I know all of the high school sex ed tidbits that you could throw at me.
None of that matters because HIV is the biggest, most enormous, incredible fear that I have in life and it's killing me. Like, making me loathe myself and feel suicidal.
Long story short: I'm reasonably attractive, of average intelligence, etc., but I have never had a serious relationship. I'm terrified of contracting HIV through gay sex. My usual pattern is to meet someone nice, have sex with them ONCE and then remain abstinent for six months while I cower in fear of my next HIV test. I always use protection and I'm a total top. But the fear still consumes me.
Part of my problem, I think, is that I don't really buy into the sex-ed propaganda about "everyone being at risk" and "HIV is a manageable disease! Just like diabetes!". I have studied the medical journals and found that here in the U.S., being gay does put me at incredibly elevated risk of acquiring HIV. It's enough of a risk that I can't legally donate blood. Things may be different in Africa but here, in the U.S., I'm basically asking for a shorter lifespan just by being gay.
I also know too many people with HIV. Even the "successful" ones are basically disabled, either from the disease itself or from the horrendous side-effects of the endless medication cocktails that they take. The "unsuccessful" ones are dead.
I've confided in a few friends about my fears and my inability to maintain intimate relationships with other men. A few of my gay male friends (I'm not making this up. I swear.) have suggested that I intentionally infect myself with HIV "to get it over with" and to get over my fears. I can hardly believe that they would suggest such a thing but I have been (seriously) told to take up "bug chasing" as a valid way to ease my fears. (Incidentally, some of these poz friends of mine have jokingly(?) talked about intentionally infecting other unsuspecting men).
I guess all of this boils down to a general dissatisfaction with being gay, if that makes any sense. There are times when I feel that the Christian conservative argument (that being gay is a "deathstyle" more than a lifestyle) is broadly true, and it makes me want to stop being gay. I've tried that before, but it didn't work out. I know that I can't change.
But at the very least this overwhelming fear makes me not want to have sex anymore. I get laid alot less and have a lot fewer relationships because of it. But it makes me want to be completely abstinent, or even attempt to just stop being gay. I'm honestly jealous of my decadent heterosexual friends who can live freely and openly in our society with only a miniscule chance of ever contracting HIV in their lifetimes, as opposed to the roughly 50/50 chance (in some areas, over a lifetime) that gay men have.
So my question for you is:
If you are a gay male, do you have these fears and how do you deal with them?
What the fuck is wrong with me? How can I fix it?
How do I deal with my fear of AIDS?
(BTW all of this introspection was the result of going to get tested for HIV today. I chickened out at the last minute because I was afraid of the results. I have no reason to think I'm positive .... except that I'm gay.)