The first time I knowingly slept with someone with HIV I was 23.

The boy was 20 and he told me drunk on the night bus home.

dating someone hiv pos-10dating someone hiv pos-39

Because the way to fight HIV isn’t separately, it’s together.

HIV Blind Date is on Thursday 21 January at the Queen’s Head, 25 Tyron Street, SW3 3LG.

I could deal with the drugs and the escorting - working on the Soho gay scene I was never very far from either - but the virus was one small step for man, one giant leap for my mind.

In the past six years I’ve learnt a lot more about HIV, and dated two positive guys. Cute and I were drunk when he started talking about an abusive ex-relationship.

“And he gave me HIV,” he dropped into the tequila-laced conversation.

I was shocked because we’d been friends before dating, and had been in many situations where HIV had been a prominent conversation topic.

Like those guys who repress their sexuality for the ‘straight’ life of wife, kids and IKEA flat-packs, it can’t be healthy to imprison such a storm.

“Closely-imprisoned forces render and destroy”, is the quote from Charles Dickens I learnt in sixth form. Unfortunately, there are powerful reasons why a guy might keep his diagnosis private.

He fitted an ignorant man’s HIV stereotype: he was a ketamine-sniffing rentboy, living with a sugar daddy in West Hampstead.

When I asked him how he paid the rent, he snorted and replied: “My ass.” He was also one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.

Clearly what that boogie man needed was a group of fabulous activists from Act Up London to storm in, grab it by its ass and shove it into a light entertainment format that’s gonna vajazzle the stigma right out of its shadow. It’s a theatre show designed to share stories of love, dating and relationships with HIV.