I'm Sex-Positive Because I'm HIV Positive
It may be hard to believe that I'm sex-positive because I'm HIV positive when the vast majority of us believe HIV is the end of our sex life. But, it's only the beginning of ultimately owning our sexual self.
Am I undeserving of sex?
I was born with HIV so, from the very start, my sex life was deemed over since birth; that's pretty cruel toward a child that hasn't experienced our sex culture yet.
Being HIV positive, people see me as a threat and endangerment toward others. Therefore, people believe that I should opt-out of engaging in sexual activity to give them a peace of mind.
I can't opt-out of being human
The problem with that statement is that those people are only thinking about themselves and are not thinking about people like me. To believe I’m undeserving of having sex reveals their lack of awareness that we are naturally sexual beings, and I can’t opt out of an experience that is included in the needs of humans.
Sexual expression is as vital as any other form of expression we have, and oppressing our feelings causes harm to our overall wellness.
Attacks on my sexual self didn't make sense
What helped me dismiss the belief that my sex life was over was that my sex life never began; the attacks on my sexual self simply didn’t make sense.
Shaming and criminalizing sexual behavior
One type of attack that didn't make sense (since I was born HIV positive) was trying to condition me to believe that people would shame me for my previous sexual behaviors and potentially criminalize me for having sex while being HIV positive.
This attack is invalid because we can’t assume that people living with HIV intentionally want to give others HIV, nor is it reasonable to connect someone's sexual behavior to their HIV diagnosis.
Fear of children being born with HIV
Another type of attack was implanting fear that my children would be HIV positive. But, that didn't make sense because my younger brothers don’t have HIV.
These attacks reveal that the HIV narrative is flawed, and it is intended to be that way. Our cultural views on HIV isn’t about informing people about HIV; it’s about oppressing people's sexual selves.
Society's views on sex and STDs
We live in a society that expects us to be in a monogamous relationship; anything outside of that is looked down upon.
Sexually transmitted illnesses are associated with people who engage in sexual activity that isn’t monogamous. In reality, certain STDs are transmitted non-sexually, especially those transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. But, this isn’t well known among the citizens in our society.
Our culture intentionally misinforms us about STDs so that we can continually oppress ourselves and others sexually. The truth is that STDs are a part of life just like any other health condition. Therefore, instead of dismissing this reality, our culture should unite people by empowering them to care for their sexual health.
Since I have acknowledged that our exposure to sex is oppressive, I choose to opt out and empower myself and others to be their sexual selves.
Being HIV positive has made me sex-positive
Being born HIV positive has made me sex-positive because I understand what it feels like to be invalidated, dismissed, and fearful. I have no desire to make others feel that way about their sexual expression.
It’s important to acknowledge that we are all oppressed sexually; I just happened to recognize sooner because I was deemed unworthy of having sex from the start of my life. So, I had to find the beginning since the end, for many other people, is their HIV diagnosis.
My beginning consists of owning my sexual self and not allowing our culture to weaponize it.
Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your HIV status?