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Exposed to HIV but not infected. Do I need to tell?
January 24, 2013 8:47 AM   Subscribe

I was exposed to HIV last year, but am not infected. Do I need to disclose this to future partners?

I am a heterosexual woman who was exposed to HIV through unprotected sex with my former partner. Our last sexual contact was in July, and I have been tested four times since then, using both ELISA/Western Blot and PCR testing each time. Every test was negative, and I am now outside of the six-month window recommended by even the most cautious of doctors.

I am starting to date again, and I feel very conflicted about whether or not to tell future partners about the fact that I was exposed.

Backstory: I met an amazing man in early 2012, and fell very hard for him, very quickly. I felt early on in the relationship that I had found "the one" - he was absolutely perfect for me in every way. Before we had sex, I had a full panel of STD testing done. We had "the conversation", in which he told me that he had been tested a few months prior and didn't have any STDs. (In fact, he had not been tested for STDs for several years, as I later came to find out.) In July, I inadvertently discovered that he was secretly bisexual, and was having anonymous sex with many, many men that he met on Craigslist and through cruising sites. I was crushed, and demanded that he get tested for STDs and share the results with me. A week later, he called me and told me he had tested positive for HIV. We had been having unprotected sex (including very high-risk sex acts) for several months at that point, and I was certain that I was infected, too. (Let me just say here that I take full responsibility for choosing to have unprotected sex with this man, and that I have learned my lesson. I thought I was doing the right thing, when in fact I was being very stupid.)

So what followed was months of absolute hell for me. I immediately went and got tested, and even though the initial test was negative, it was only a week or so after my last exposure, so I had to wait for six weeks for a second test. My negative six-week result was reassuring, but my anxiety didn't really subside until my negative test at three months. On top of being devastated by the breach of trust and the loss of my relationship, the fear, anxiety, guilt, and sorrow that I experienced was overwhelming. The whole experienced really changed me, in good ways and bad.

The conundrum: Part of me thinks that there is no reason to tell anyone - I clearly don't have HIV, and am not putting anyone at risk. I am also concerned about my former partner's confidentiality - we live in a smallish city in the bible belt where everyone knows everyone else, and he works in a VERY conservative industry. If people found out about his status, it could be career-ending. He is also deeply ashamed about the fact that he has HIV, and would be devastated if he discovered that anyone other than his doctors and I knew. Obviously, I wouldn't share his name or other identifying information with anyone, but it wouldn't be impossible for someone to put two and two together.

The other, uglier reason that I don't want to disclose is that I am scared that if I do tell people, they will reject me. Stigma and ignorance unfortunately predominate where this disease is concerned. Before I went through this experience and learned more about HIV, I would have rejected someone in the same position that I am in now. I am not proud of this fact.

On the other hand, the whole thing feels too significant not to share. It was a life-altering experience that is a big part of who I am. I have a passion for HIV advocacy and I now spend much of my free time volunteering with a local HIV/AIDS service organization. I feel that if I'm not forthcoming about it, I'm somehow buying into or perpetuating the stigma surrounding HIV.

I am so torn. It feels somehow dishonest not to disclose this information. At the same time, it feels too risky to share. What do I say if someone asks me why my partner and I broke up? (Which, btw, was because of his massive dishonesty, NOT his HIV status.) Or asks why I decided to get involved with HIV/AIDS work? What else am I not thinking of? I don't know how to negotiate this, and I could really use some other perspectives.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (39 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, that's a long background for a simple question. HIV is not as highly transmissible as many people think. It happens a lot that people get exposed but not infected. You don't have HIV, you don't need to discuss this with others. You don't need to mention it in any context - this is your personal life and it's really not relevant to anyone else.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:52 AM on January 24, 2013 [33 favorites]


Who do you want to be? The person who proves their trustworthiness by disclosing and letting others make their own fully-informed health decisions, or the person who decides for other people that it's safe enough to not worry?

If I were you, I would disclose. And if I were considering sleeping with someone who disclosed what you've explained here, I'd trust them more because they told me, and would feel safe sleeping with them given all the evidence from test results over time.
posted by 168 at 8:54 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Would you maybe consider talking to a therapist about all the feelings you have surrounding this? It sounds like it would do you some good. I think a therapist or other health professional is the only person you ever have to tell this to.
posted by ejazen at 8:56 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think you should disclose it, and you can easily do that as part of an initial conversation with a new future partner about why you both need to get tested: "Let me tell you a story about what happened to me...".
posted by Dansaman at 8:57 AM on January 24, 2013


Also, I'm going to totally disagree with 168--not telling people does not mean you aren't trustworthy. This event is not a reflection of you.

If you almost got into a car accident one time but didn't, would you be untrustworthy because you didn't warn everyone that got in your car "hey, this one time I *almost* had a fender bender."?
posted by ejazen at 8:57 AM on January 24, 2013 [19 favorites]


I say there is no reason to disclose that you were exposed. I think it's safe to say, from a medical perspective, that you emphatically do NOT have HIV and therefore your new partners have no business knowing how close of a call you had.

However, that is no reason not to tell potential partners that you are passionate about HIV advocacy. This is admirable, truly, and it's fantastic that you volunteer. You can fight the stigma of HIV without potentially intimidating new partners for no real reason. Advocate for safer sex, advocate for full disclosure of STDs before intimacy, advocate for queer rights (to reduce the chance of bisexual men feeling like they need to closeted as well as unsafe), advocate for universal healthcare where no amount of HIV testing is going to leave a mark on one's insurance.

You can be passionate about this because of social justice, the fact that you had a close call is not anyone's business but yours.
posted by lydhre at 8:57 AM on January 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


Speaking as a man, I would not be upset or feel deceived if we dated and you did not disclose this to me immediately.

I'm not sure I can give you a more general answer to a question like that, but there it is.
posted by atrazine at 8:59 AM on January 24, 2013


If you're worried about stigma surrounding HIV, you're definitely perpetuating it by telling people about this. You don't have HIV- it's not some sort of magical mark of uncleanliness that you've been tainted with. Would you feel the need to disclose if you had chicken pox, or some other common disease?

If you want to disclose for other reasons, then that's up to you.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 9:00 AM on January 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


I want to add that I think you have a lot of emotional baggage because of the context of the exposure. I've been exposed to bloodborne pathogens through work (needlesticks) twice and had to go through the full series of HIV tests and even taking prophylactic ARVs. I would never think of disclosing this to a partner if I were single because it doesn't seem relevant. Like you, I don't have HIV.

Most people who have had sex with others who are responsible partners go and have STD testing done because there is a nonzero chance that they may have an STD - your situation, to me, is no different from this in terms of what it means to future partners. You were worried about an STD but you got the full battery of tests and came back negative.

If you want to be super-duper-double safe, go have a 6 month test follow up too or even a 1 year follow up. This is the protocol for hospital employees, although most would agree it is extremely conservative.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:01 AM on January 24, 2013 [20 favorites]


Telling potential partners might be a good way of weeding out ones that you probably oughtn't be having sex with anyway.
posted by Etrigan at 9:06 AM on January 24, 2013


Who do you want to be? The person who proves their trustworthiness by disclosing and letting others make their own fully-informed health decisions, or the person who decides for other people that it's safe enough to not worry?

There is no relevant "information" that you can provide to people. You've had negative results from multiple PCR tests, more than six months after exposure. You did good and you are free of this obligation now.
posted by grouse at 9:10 AM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


Let me take my point a step further too - I think you have a specific reason for wanting to disclose this information, unrelated to the actual concern about STDs and health issues. I think you want to tell your partner because you want to punish yourself for what you did. You feel so guilty about what you did that you can't relax without your partner knowing about it. You want to tell him "this is the kind of bad person I am, is this the kind of bad person you want to be in a relationship with?" Not only that, but maybe you even feel guilty that your prior partner got HIV but you did not.

If that is the case, there could be an argument for telling him just to get it off your chest. But I agree that talking about it with someone else, a third party like a therapist, is a good idea first. Maybe after you've had the catharsis of unpacking all your guilt and distress, you won't feel so strongly the need to tell others.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 9:10 AM on January 24, 2013 [13 favorites]


You don't have HIV. You're outside the six-month window. You don't need to tell anyone.

Telling potential partners might be a good way of weeding out ones that you probably oughtn't be having sex with anyway.

Speaking as a man, I would not be upset or feel deceived if we dated and you did not disclose this to me immediately.

Who do you want to be? The person who proves their trustworthiness by disclosing and letting others make their own fully-informed health decisions, or the person who decides for other people that it's safe enough to not worry?


Guys, she doesn't have HIV. Are you afraid that she has some residual cooties? This is irrational HIV stigma and nothing more.

To the OP: You're negative. You're okay. Sorry your ex lied to you and put your health at risk.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:12 AM on January 24, 2013 [20 favorites]


I once almost maybe could have gotten HIV is not something prospective partners need to know, or deserve to know. I have HIV or am untested for and was exposed to HIV, yes. But you do not have HIV.

If you feel the need to tell them, that is your need and not theirs.
posted by zippy at 9:18 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


While this kind of (traumatic!) experience might be something you eventually talked to a serious partner about, because that's what intimacy is, you have NO obligations to tell this to anyone you are just getting to know. You are not a health risk to potential partners. The concern that you are, and have something to "disclose," is just part of the stigma and misinformation surrounding HIV that you are now so passionate about fighting.

Think of it this way: you were raped on the street, and when they caught the guy it turned out he was HIV positive. But, 6 months and many tests later, you were lucky enough to be clean of any STDs. Would you feel you needed to "disclose" this to people you barely knew?

I agree with treehorn+bunny. I think you're punishing yourself for what you think was unforgivable stupidity on your part. But look, your ex cheated on you with many, many partners. No amount of stupidity on your part makes you deserving of that or of the risk he put you at. You have nothing to be ashamed of. I'm glad you're not with that asshole anymore.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 9:26 AM on January 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


Telling potential partners might be a good way of weeding out ones that you probably oughtn't be having sex with anyway.

Guys, she doesn't have HIV. Are you afraid that she has some residual cooties? This is irrational HIV stigma and nothing more.


That was my point -- telling people this and judging their reaction might provide a window into their minds that a few dates wouldn't. That "oughtn't be having sex with anyway" wasn't about her or her HIV status; it was about her potential partners.
posted by Etrigan at 9:28 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some important things first - you are not at fault, and it is not "ugly" to be afraid of being rejected. It is very, very, very normal to be afraid that people aren't going to like you if you talk about this with them. Let me just first urge you to try to forgive yourself for thinking "I shouldn't be afraid of this but, urk, I am"; it is perfectly normal, and not at all "ugly," to be afraid of people's reactions.

Also, you do not need to beat yourself up for trusting him - he was a manipulative cockbib that knew how to mislead you. It is not your "fault" for trusting him whne he was that good at hiding the truth from you.

Now - as to the main issue. I have an interesting idea for a compromise; tell people that you test negative, but that your recent ex cheated on you and then tested positive and so hey, let's use condoms anyway like we're supposed to be doing, just in case. That's exactly what happened, as well -- you are testing negative, and your ex did pick up the virus after cheating on you. The fact that you were exposed is subtextual still, but downplayed - it's the difference between "I have been exposed to HIV and I am unclean" and "I test negative, but had a close call and just wanna play it a little extra safe right now".

Good luck.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on January 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


You might also want to tell because it was a huge thing in your life. When you meet someone that you will spend the rest of your life with, how will this disclosure play out over time? That is, if you do not tell a man now, and you later decide to marry him, what happens when you tell him then? You might want to share this with your partners for your sake, too. Sharing can help people heal. So that might be a factor. I think therapy might help you explore this kind of disclosure and the parameters of disclosure, too.

I might just say that I had a scare because of a previous partner who was unfaithful. No need to explicitly disclose his HIV status. This allows you to disclose more over time, if you choose to, without hiding or lying about it in the short term.
posted by k8lin at 9:43 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


On the other hand, the whole thing feels too significant not to share. It was a life-altering experience that is a big part of who I am.

I think there are two parts to this "disclosure" that you might be conflating.

The first is the basic talk that all new sex partners need to have about their STD risk. You need to be complete and honest about your testing status, and the complete and honest answer is: you have been tested for HIV, and you are negative. You are not a carrier of HIV. End of story. Whether you could have gotten HIV is not part of this discussion, since you have conclusive proof in the form of tests that you don't have HIV. Ask yourself this: what would be the benefit to your future partner of disclosing that you were exposed? There is no way for him to reduce his risk because there is no risk to him.

The second is a more personal discussion that it probably only makes sense to have with someone who you are emotionally intimate with (i.e. one night stands and friends with benefits don't need to know this). You had an experience that was awful, it left you scared for a very long time, it's probably changed the way that you go about trusting people and acting in relationships. There's lots of good reasons why you might want to talk to a trusted partner about that sort of thing, but really it is completely separate from the clinical STD risk discussion that you should have with everybody.

tl;dr: no, you don't have to disclose (and I'd argue that you shouldn't disclose except to someone you're in a serious relationship with)
posted by sparklemotion at 9:44 AM on January 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's something that matters to you, and feels important to you, so if you wind up in a relationship with someone that makes it to, I don't know, a couple months or so, then yeah you should tell them if it comes up. Don't make a big thing out of it, don't treat it like a sit-down talk. If you've known them a little while, you should know how they'll react to it.

It isn't something you should bring up to anyone you're only casually seeing or just starting to get to know. If I were dating someone, it would not put me off them to learn they'd been exposed but not infected (provided this came up organically), but if they sat me down to tell me, with a grave and serious demeanor, that they'd been exposed to HIV at least a half-year before I'd met them but they were not infected, I might be a little weirded out. I'd wonder why you were concerned about disclosure when there's nothing to disclose.

So.

It feels somehow dishonest not to disclose this information.

It would be dishonest not to disclose if you were actually HIV-positive, but you're not. Honesty doesn't require that you tell me your life story before we really know each other.

At the same time, it feels too risky to share.

Again, share it when you know the person. The thing you're disclosing is not that you were exposed to HIV but that this was kind of a big emotional thing for you.

What do I say if someone asks me why my partner and I broke up? (Which, btw, was because of his massive dishonesty, NOT his HIV status.)

"We broke up because of his massive dishonesty."

If they're someone you know very well, you can tell them that you and your ex broke up because he cheated on you. If they're someone you know very very well (being in a long-term relationship with them, for example), you can tell them the whole story.

Or asks why I decided to get involved with HIV/AIDS work?

"I had an HIV scare a while back and it opened my eyes a little. I tested negative but it made me want to get involved."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:45 AM on January 24, 2013 [11 favorites]


It's too much information. And at this point it is kind of useless information. I completely understand the desire to be honest and upfront, but there is also over-sharing. You are not infected. Fantastic. Learn from any mistakes and move on. Not everything needs to be public consumption, especially if it has no actually impact on the other person.

In some ways it may come across as odd. "Hey I was exposed to HIV, but I'm clean really"
posted by edgeways at 9:52 AM on January 24, 2013


That was my point -- telling people this and judging their reaction might provide a window into their minds that a few dates wouldn't.

So, oversharing useless information provides a window into someone's character?

Everyone who says that sharing this information would be weird or off-putting is right. I'd probably assume that I wasn't getting the full truth and that the full truth is scary (sharing needles, etc.). If you get serious with someone, you should be able to tell them about your horrible experience with your ex-boyfriend, your HIV scare, etc. But solemnly informing someone in the context of the STD discussion about all this would be weird.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 10:05 AM on January 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


My BFF is a doc, and like treehorn + bunny, she was exposed to HIV via needle sticks twice and did prophylaxis each time. It's not something she ever felt the need to disclose to sexual partners, because it represented no risks to them, since she was tested and found clear of infection.

What do you think about that, as you consider it? Do you feel like your position is different? Is it because your exposure was in the context of sex rather than health care? If so, why? You and she are equally clear of infection.

I say this not to badger you, but in the hope it might help you unpack you thoughts a bit more. I think you have no responsibility to disclose in terms of STD risks, because there are none, but that given what you've said about how significant the experience was to you, you may want to talk about that aspect in a relationship that's progressed emotionally to the point where you're both discussing challenging life experiences. And those are different things entirely, IMO.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:10 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would not treat this as sexual health information that carries a risk to a potential partner and must be disclosed. I would treat it like other sensitive information about your past that was painful to you and has an impact on who you are as a person; similar to past abuse, mental health struggles/issues/hospitalizations, etc.

Would you volunteer information about, say, childhood abuse on an first date? No. Do you have an obligation to disclose it to anyone? No.

Is it something you may choose to share with someone you've been dating for a while, who you trust with the information? Yes.
posted by Juliet Banana at 10:29 AM on January 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


No reason to disclose if you're not infected.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 10:36 AM on January 24, 2013


What would you tell them? That you don't have HIV? I guess I just don't see why you'd need to tell them that, any more than that you don't have some other communicable disease. If you were within the 6 month window, I'd suggest telling people because there would still be a chance that you might have it and therefore pass it on to them. But that's not the case here. You're not infected.

If you want to tell people, then that's OK. But you don't owe anyone this information.

I'm not an endangered animal, nor am I an abused partner, nor am I a cat. I give money to charities related to those things because I want to do some good for people/animals who need help. When people ask you why you're involved in HIV/AIDS awareness, tell them that there are several ways to be exposed to it and you want to help people who have been. If the person seems receptive, you could go on to tell them you were exposed, if you wanted to. But it's not really anyone else's business.

The work you're doing for HIV advocacy is massively outweighing the supposed harm you're doing by not telling people.

------

Using words like "clean" when discussing HIV status isn't the nicest thing to do.
posted by Solomon at 10:45 AM on January 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree with just about everybody here -- there's no obligation to disclose anything in this case. You're negative (if you really, really want to be sure, you can get tested yet again, but you'd be doing it more for your own piece of mind rather than for any rational reason).

Which leads me to a possibility you may not have considered:

Your ex was HIV-positive when you met, knew it all along, and is on antiretroviral drugs. If he's taking the drugs diligently, was in good health when he started treatment and is being monitored, then his viral load will be at or very near undetectable. In such a case, the risk of transmission would also be relatively low (though certainly not zero - if you engaged in risky sex you can still count yourself lucky).

The other more remote possibility is that he is negative and lying about his status in order to... I don't know what. But I'd sooner suspect the former.

Back to your question: Nope. If you're negative, you're negative, and the rest is nobody else's business.
posted by rhombus at 10:45 AM on January 24, 2013


In reality, now that you are outside any sort of might-be-positive window, telling this to a partner is more equivalent than telling a new partner about all your pregnancy scares with other partners.

Which would be kind of weird at the beginning and something that might came up as you go to know each other.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:57 AM on January 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


A million years ago, or rather the early 80s, I was engaged to a gay man who then died of AIDS ( yes, I knew he was gay, no we didn't know about AIDs, no one used condoms.) For years, I got tested, I had my babies tested, and not even a false positive. I sincerely doubt that you are going to suddenly become HIV+ and I would not bring it up ever again. Not worth the anxiety.
posted by Ideefixe at 11:32 AM on January 24, 2013


No. There's nothing that you need to disclose, because you're clean.

You're also really emotionally engaged with safe-sex ideology. It sounds like it will take a really intimate commited monogamous relationship for you to be comfortable having any kind of sex that could be considered risky. If a new partner asks why you're so concerned about barrier protection stuff, that's when you say "I had a real scare a few years back when a partner tested HIV positive." If a long-time partner starts talking about going to the clinic together to get your full battery of STD tests so that you can stop with the latex, that's also the time that you start telling this story - not because it's medical history that you have to disclose, but because it's emotional history that it's important to share.
posted by aimedwander at 11:40 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


That is the kind of thing you should definitely tell someone before you marry them, or before you move in with them. But NOT before you sleep with them. It's pretty morally and ethically cut-and-dried. Good luck with dating!
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:36 PM on January 24, 2013


I think the reasons to disclose are secretly about viewing sex and STDs as inherently dirty or bad.

If you had once been exposed to some NON-sexually transmitted (but highly communicable) and deadly disease that you then were found not to have, there would be no expectation that you should tell people you have contact with in day-to-day life.

You were exposed, but you are not forever sullied by that experience, and thank goodness for that!

I would want to know if a partner of mine had gone through that ... but not out of a concern for my safety, but rather out of a desire to know about them and their past as a way of building intimacy and understanding of each other.
posted by spindrifter at 12:36 PM on January 24, 2013


You are conflating.

You never have to "disclose" the HIV scare.

You never have to "disclose" traumatic personal experience. Ever.


You will in the future wish to discuss this betrayal as part of your history. I have learned as I've gotten older that I talked a little too freely with people when the feeling of intimacy wasn't mutual. If you live in a conservative culture, I would never ever share this with anyone who might ever gossip about it. Talking to people you trust and have good reason to trust is just fine.

You will find this a total non-issue down the road of you deal with it in therapy now.

If you find the advocacy is prolonging your feelings of trauma, back off on it for a while. There are plenty of ways to improve the world that don't include inadvertently flogging yourself and keeping old wounds fresh.

Hope this helps.
posted by jbenben at 12:47 PM on January 24, 2013


Oops! Just to clarify...

I wouldn't talk not talk freely about this event out of shame! Heavens, there is no shame here!!

Rather, you mentioned scandal for your ex. That's what you want to steer clear of.
posted by jbenben at 12:52 PM on January 24, 2013


If 6 months of negative tests shows that it is 100% certain that you do not have HIV, then no, you don't have to disclose.

So maybe the question is: just how accurate are the HIV tests that you took? What are the chances of a false negative? I'm sure this data is out there, but I don't know what it is.

(Another way of looking at it is to use your own judgement: would you want a partner who was exposed within the last year, but has tested negative, to disclose to you? Do onto others...)
posted by gjc at 3:07 PM on January 24, 2013


It would be weird, to me, to disclose it on a first date or whatever.

It'd be weird, to me, to be married to someone for ten years and never once have mentioned it in the myriad of contexts that it could have come up. More because of the scare/betrayal than the HIV exposure, honestly. You were potentially exposed to all kinds of crap thanks to his behavior - that he was positive for HIV instead of syphilis is kind of a coin flip thing.

Navigating the middle ground (first date vs. 10th anniversary) is about self-esteem and trust and shame and confidence and anxiety way more than it is about moral upstandingness. You certainly have no legal or ethical obligation to disclose a negative test result: I don't see anyone walking into job interviews mentioning all the times they've successfully passed the background and drug tests.

Though now I'm betting there is totally a resume out there on the internet someplace where someone actually says that.
posted by SMPA at 3:44 PM on January 24, 2013


I wouldn't feel weird or upset about it if I had sex with you and later found out about this. I am pretty risk-averse and would be mad about undisclosed STDs or people who lied about having been tested, but I wouldn't consider this anywhere near that sort of category.

But if your ex-partner's status gets out, and people know you used to be with him, they will wonder whether you might be infected, so you should definitely clarify it for people if it comes to that.

Finally, since it's a big thing in your life that has had emotional and practical effects on you, I think you'd want to tell a potential romantic partner about it from that perspective. If you are doing a NSA sex thing, that's different, of course!
posted by lollusc at 6:42 PM on January 24, 2013


If you've been thoroughly tested, and have every reason to believe you are HIV-free, then you can ethically tell a future partner "I've been tested, and my test is negative."

Try to think about how you'd feel if you knew a sex partner had had a previous partner who was HIV+. I think you may want to consider some discussion of it, not necessarily immediately. I'm glad you tested negative.
posted by theora55 at 9:20 PM on January 24, 2013


Ooft, let me clarify - if you did not disclose, I wouldn't think you were an evil person who had wronged your partner. You have gotten thoroughly tested and taken into account the 6 month delay &c &c. and given that, you're not really bringing in any greater risk than anyone else in the population who has tested negative.

Where I was coming from with my first comment above is that when people disclose stuff like that, I hear it as evidence of their conscientiousness and reliability, and that's a big deal for me. I'd feel weird if I heard about it after sex rather than before, even though it brings in no new meaningful evidence of risk and would not have made me feel unsafe or uncomfortable in the first place.

I don't think it has to be a giant dramatic ohmygod disclosure sort of thing. Just a "hey, I had this scare one time, but I got thoroughly tested &c and it turned out to be no big deal in the end, hooray!" Fits in perfectly normally with the usual pre-sex safer sex conversation anyways.
posted by 168 at 8:03 AM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


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