This epidemic over 35 years old. It's our history, our culture, and our politics. It is incidental to our lives. Living in fear is agonizing and exhausting. No one should have to live that way. We can do better for our community.
The more we open up and discuss what it means to be HIV-positive with an undetectable viral load, the more society, especially those within our own community, will begin to understand, learn and accept.
Lesley was my closest friend to become sick in the 1980s, and he fought bravely until his death from AIDS. I will not dig up Lesley's body and beat young gay men with his corpse. Lesley did not perish so that I could use him as a scare tactic. He wasn't a cautionary tale. He wasn't a martyr.
Decades later, gay men continue to explore possibilities around HIV prevention; the epidemic also continues. Dr. Joseph Sonnabend, a physician and AIDS researcher and co-author of How to Have Sex in an Epidemic, shares his thoughts on the pros and cons of one of the latest approaches.
An HIV-positive person discussing their "undetectable" viral load means that they have been tested, are on treatment and are open and honest about their HIV status. The idea that the term is only used to lure unsuspecting prey into high-risk sexual acts is stigmatizing and criminalizing.