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Author Topic: Disclosure after sex?!?  (Read 5621 times)

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Offline globetrotter

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Disclosure after sex?!?
« on: September 11, 2008, 07:12:30 PM »
I was wondering if there are any women here who have experienced disclosing their status to a partner after you have already had sexual contact (protected- always with a condom) with him. Please no judging. I am not proud of these moments of weakness and feel an obligation to come clean to the man in question. Especially since my only other alternative would be to run away without giving an explanation- which would also be cruel. Plus, Im' hoping that owning up to my mistake this time will teach me to be more forthcoming about my status in the future. Just looking for some advice, maybe a bit of empathy, to help me better prepare. To go over my situation: I was diagnosed 2 years ago and spent the first year following my diagnosis with the man who infected me. I'm still new to being single and dating as an hiv+ woman.

tendai

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2008, 05:53:32 AM »
eish, i dont know what to say globe, when i disclosed i did it by text so i couldnt see his reaction. i guess u need to know how much u care for this guy and how much he cares about you. feel him out and see how he feels about HIV so u can get an idea of what his likely reaction will be. if u really want to be with him i guess u need to bite the bullet and fess up.  good luck with it..

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2008, 06:01:02 AM »
I was wondering if there are any women here who have experienced disclosing their status to a partner after you have already had sexual contact (protected- always with a condom) with him.

To put your mind at ease, yes, there are women here who have such experience and hopefully, they'll see your post and respond.

Offline BT65

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2008, 01:04:17 PM »
Globe, I don't know where you're located, but I would send out a word of caution.  In some areas, you risk legal recourse.  I wouldn't want to see you end up in trouble for what happened.

It was protected, that's what counts.  As for disclosing, I would think of what type of person I was having sex with i.e. their personality etc.   If you think the person is stable enough to take what you say without too much freaking out, then I suppose you should tell him.

I think this decision is a very personal one.  I don't lean either way and sit in no judgement of someone who doesn't disclose-as long as the sex is protected.  Good luck.
  Luv,
Betty
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline MplsLady76

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2008, 03:29:39 PM »
Globe,

It is not my place to judge. I also had sex with men without disclosing my condition simply because I was scared of rejection. I look back and I feel I made a mistake.

I have been POZ w/gential herpes for 9 years. I have learned that the only way I know I can live happy is inform any man who is interested in me my condition. It is very easy through an email or IM. However, most of the time it is in person. The best thing I can say is to be careful. There are people who are still discrimatory towards us. For the most part, men are very understanding.

You must do what is best in your heart for you.

MplsLady
**We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world. Speak or act with a pure mind, and Happiness will follow you, as your shadow, unshakable.**

Offline globetrotter

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2008, 04:05:39 PM »
Thank you all for your posts. It's definitely a tricky matter. For those who suggested that I try to find out his views on HIV before disclosing: it turns out I didn't need to ask. I saw him this weekend and the topic of HIV came up twice- both times by him. Both times he was discussing colleagues. On the first occasion he warned me against sleeping with bisexual men. I was totally unprepared as to how to react: I was infected by a closeted bisexual. On the second occasion he was talking about how he felt sorry for another friend who has HIV because he will never 'lead a normal life'. I disagreed, saying how people with this condition can now lead perfectly normal, long lives. He didn't buy my argument and responded by saying how sex and health were so important to him that he could not conceive being + as in any way normal....
So...All that has left me a million more times confused as to what to do about it. On the one hand this is someone who is open to being friends with HIV+ people and is not judgmental of them. But on the hand, he seems to carry a great deal of fear about being infected... A pretty rational fear given the situation.
I live in New York- so no legal ramifications that I know of. It remains however an extremely difficult decision that I am no closer to solving. It is also further complicated by the fact that this man claims to have deep feelings for me and has even discussed living together (though I feel that is totally premature)
Anyways, if there are any more opinions anyone would like to share I'm happy to hear them.

Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2008, 04:48:28 PM »
Thank you all for your posts. It's definitely a tricky matter. For those who suggested that I try to find out his views on HIV before disclosing: it turns out I didn't need to ask. I saw him this weekend and the topic of HIV came up twice- both times by him. Both times he was discussing colleagues. On the first occasion he warned me against sleeping with bisexual men. I was totally unprepared as to how to react: I was infected by a closeted bisexual. On the second occasion he was talking about how he felt sorry for another friend who has HIV because he will never 'lead a normal life'. I disagreed, saying how people with this condition can now lead perfectly normal, long lives. He didn't buy my argument and responded by saying how sex and health were so important to him that he could not conceive being + as in any way normal....
So...All that has left me a million more times confused as to what to do about it. On the one hand this is someone who is open to being friends with HIV+ people and is not judgmental of them. But on the hand, he seems to carry a great deal of fear about being infected... A pretty rational fear given the situation.
I live in New York- so no legal ramifications that I know of. It remains however an extremely difficult decision that I am no closer to solving. It is also further complicated by the fact that this man claims to have deep feelings for me and has even discussed living together (though I feel that is totally premature)
Anyways, if there are any more opinions anyone would like to share I'm happy to hear them.

Like Betty, I feel it is a personal choice and the question of when should be up to you. Just from reading your post, it seems your friend is ok with it as long as it is not involving him. There are a lot of people like that. But the most important thing is that you are being SAFE.

Personally, I have often done what you have and been safe. But has also felt the rejection firsthand, I'm sure I am not the only one who has. And honestly, I feel no one has the right to judge you. While it is great to disclose and most have happy endings, you have to think about YOU and your safety. Whatever decision you make, it is yours to make and ONE that only you have to live with no matter what anyone says. Good Luck.
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Offline emeraldize

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2008, 05:05:05 PM »
Anyways, if there are any more opinions anyone would like to share I'm happy to hear them

GT

Now that you've opened it up to opinions, I have one. Given the description of this guy via what he's said, said about his feelings for you, said about hopeful future living conditions, I think he wants very much to talk about HIV--cuz it's on his mind, too. And, I think that's precisely what you ought to do.

You almost started it with the "normal life" objection. Great seque to return to in my opinion.

With this guy, to me, it's very clear. If you're interested in him, he needs to be told right away. He's already living with you (inside his imagination). He either accepts it, rejects it, or needs time to think about it. However, if you sleep with him and tell him after the fact I would be shocked if he gave you leniency.

I say that because he went to an extra effort to open the door twice to the topic. And, I'm guessing in his mind sex is special enough that to lie about it means you know there is a risk of rejection; that you don't care enough about him or your own integrity; and that if you lie about something so intimate, what else will you lie about?

Regarding the legal ramifications, you might want to check that one out again. New York contains a lot of lawyers and lot of HIV positive folks. I'll check one of the sites out and see what I can scrounge up.

Once you've disclosed the first time, it gets easier. It's acceptance...of the virus, of yourself, of the total crap shoot getting involved with anyone is and always has been.

Face down the worst case scenario in your head. His eyes bulge out of his head and he says something like oh my god, you're kidding, why didn't you tell me, this changes everything. And, you will hear it, process it and think wow, that's over the top, wouldn't want to solve a lot of serious life problems with this dude. How about pancreatic cancer with someone wired like that at your bedside?

Then, imagine the best case scenario. His eyes get a little glazed, he says oh my god, I'm so sorry. Thank you for sharing this with me---I don't know what to say. You must trust me to open up like this. HIV scares me-- a lot. Are you okay? I mean, are you feeling good? How long have you known? Are you taking anything for it. Does your family know? And, then you tell him how great you're doing, how supportive your family and friends are and how you read stories about serodiscordant couples and how they marry, have seronegative children and have great expectations of life and themselves.

At some point, you're going to have to disclose to someone, at least this guy has actually indicated he cares about you. That is a favorable place for practice and practicality. It goes without saying it's your decision---you've asked for input which is a collaborative way to approach decison making.

Em

here's what I found and I put in bold the important consideration and I included NY's neighbor NJ for contrast
New Jersey
N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C: 34-5   Crime of the Third Degree   A person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if, knowing that he or she is infected with HIV, he or she commits an act of sexual penetration without the informed consent of the other person.
    
New York
N/A       [NY Pub. Health Law § 2307 provides that someone knowingly infected with an “infectious venereal disease” who has sexual intercourse with another is guilty of a misdemeanor, but there is no indication in NY statutes that HIV infection is considered a “venereal disease.”]
NOTES: Although Lambda Legal has made efforts to ensure that this chart is complete and accurate as of the revision date, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information and this chart is not intended as, and should not be used as a substitute for, legal advice.
The information provided here is a summary of provisions of the referenced statutes. In most instances, the wording used here is wording found in the referenced statutes (one exception is that “HIV” is used for convenience in this chart although the statute may use a different term, such as “AIDS” or “causative agent of AIDS”). Those statutes (and statutes that they reference) should be consulted for more complete information and, in some cases, for definitions of terms.
“N/A” means that we did not find a state statute that criminalizes acts specifically due to alleged risk of transmitting HIV; however, every state has more generally applicable law(s) that could be used to prosecute someone who knowingly and intentionally exposes another to an excessive risk of harm. In addition to potential criminal liability, a person who transmits HIV to another person or puts another person at risk of HIV infection might face civil liability.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 05:15:39 PM by emeraldize »

Offline globetrotter

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2008, 05:45:51 PM »
Em, Queen: thank you. I would definitely be interested in hearing anything you're able to dig up about legal issues.
I think my mind is made up that I must tell him. What breaks my heart is that- though we always used condoms- my actions will inevitably be seen as a betrayal of his trust. He never asked if I'd been tested (so I never straight out lied), but I feel like a fraud- I should be getting an Oscar.I will simply have to live with that. I also feel guilty about the inevitable anxiety he will be feeling for the next 3 months until he can be tested and his mind put at ease (as well as mine. I'm also prone to transmission paranoia). I'm sure he will want to be tested and I hate to put him through that insufferable waiting process.
However, Em, you are right. He is a kind man and I doubt the disclosure will be totally horrific. Either way, I can't imagine feeling more guilt afterwards than I do now. Since he knows people who are +, perhaps he will be able to get support from them as well while waiting to be tested, which could lessen the anxiety of the experience.
I've learned my lesson. Next time I find someone I like I'm going to tell them before sex ever takes place.

Offline globetrotter

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2008, 05:56:42 PM »
Ugh. Thanks again, Em. But really that legal discourse is terrifying. Now I'm back to being undecided...
I'll have nightmares for weeks that somehow I infected him and will spend the rest of my days in a cell racked with guilt.
What a mess I've gotten myself into : (

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2008, 05:59:33 PM »
Hi GT

I owe you an apology. At some point, I forgot your original post content. You have already had sex with this guy. Please forgive the oversight---it's obvious I was writing as if it had not yet occurred.

So, I'm going to slightly alter the prior post with this addendum...unless you're willing to walk off into the sunset and never know how he would handle it. Then consider telling him. Go back to that envisionment exercise. Imagine the worst outcome, then the best outcome. And, it may end up somewhere in the middle. The advantage to doing it sooner is he'll know it was troubling you.

The other advantage is that you're going to have this experience sometime. Why not now? Are you going to become any more capable of handling this six months from now than now? Assuming there were no condom breaks then you didn't infect him.

This isn't anything different than I would tell a sister or friend. One of the suckiest aspects of being HIV positive is this part, the truth part.

Personally, I can't avoid telling the truth. The last negative guy I told wasn't phased and in fact, it opened up an incredible dialogue. We didn't end up moving forward with anything other than a friendship because my life was suddenly jammed up big time and I wasn't certain he was the right guy for me...and, in the meantime, he's sadly been diagnosed with cancer. So, I have been able to be one of the friends around to buoy his flagging spirits and we have a level of honesty that was paved by the first chat we had about HIV.

Another thing you might do is play with it in your imagination like it's a new game by Milton Bradley called Disclosure!  Roll the dice,  move your game piece forward, pick up a card. The card reads, "Get dressed up, meet your partner for dinner at a small, candlelit, out of the way place, and tell him the thing you're most afraid of. Afterward, have the dessert you like most. "

Again, I offer my apology. And, whatever you do, don't let fear run your thinking.

Em

« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 12:24:02 AM by emeraldize »

Offline Ann

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2008, 09:02:11 PM »
I also feel guilty about the inevitable anxiety he will be feeling for the next 3 months until he can be tested and his mind put at ease

Globe, he's not in a window period. He didn't have a risk with you. You two used a condom and condoms have been proven to prevent hiv transmission. As a sexually active adult he should be testing regularly for hiv and other STIs as a matter of routine, but he does NOT need to test because he had protected intercourse with you. If he wants to test for peace of mind, he can do it NOW.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline globetrotter

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2008, 02:18:55 PM »
I started this thread, so I feel I should finish it. I also know that many registered and unregistered users come to this site looking for stories similar to mine, so hopefully this will help some of them avoid the mistakes I have made.
I disclosed to the man in question. It was a terribly difficult thing to do, but I knew I would feel better afterwards- especially since we had always been safe. Or so I thought. I had consistently insisted on the importance of safe sex and condoms at all times, despite his reluctance. So I was completely shocked when he told me after I disclosed that there had been a condom breakage 36 hours prior. Fuck. Suddenly this wasn't about disclosure anymore at all. Instead the evening and this entire morning was spent at the ER, getting PREP, getting tested: negative -thank god. I have gone over every reassurance for him I could think of and he has been equally reassured by doctors. The nightmare isn't completely over, but the worst has passed.
A huge lesson learned.
Thank you all for your support.



Offline Ann

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Re: Disclosure after sex?!?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2008, 06:08:06 AM »
globe,

I've been working over in the Am I Infected forum for seven-plus years now and I've yet to see a man (as the insertive partner) end up hiv positive following a condom break. I wouldn't even advise your fella to take PEP - the side effects far outweigh his actual risk.

That said, don't forget about the risks this holds for you. For all you know he could have an STI of his own so you might want to get checked ten days to two weeks after this incident, or sooner if you develop an unusual discharge. Don't forget about the risk of pregnancy either.

When all is said and done, you are at greater risk from picking something up out of this than he is. Seriously.

Good luck.

Hugs,
Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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