My name is Jeremy, I’m 36 and I work in the highest volume gay bar in St. Pete, FL. I was just a young, naïve 18 year old virgin when I moved to FL from a small town in WV where they taught us nothing about sex, STDs or HIV.
One of the first friends I made here was HIV positive, but he didn’t look anything like I imagined someone who was positive to look. He was healthy, attractive and muscular; basically an Adonis. He put the fear of god in me and taught me everything I needed to know on how to keep myself safe. I got into a long term relationship with my first boyfriend who always pressured me to bareback. I told him I’d consider it if we kept getting tested and everything came up ok for a while. The thing is he never wanted to get tested, so we never did.
Two years later he came down with the worst flu I’ve ever seen in my life. He couldn’t even pick his head up and he broke out in blisters all over his hands. We went to the ER and that’s when they diagnosed him with HIV. I stayed with him another three years and if it wasn’t bad enough that the sex became more of a chore and scary versus enjoyable, I found out that he was cheating on me! Oftentimes he never mentioned his status in messages I found on the computer. It made me realize he was only concerned about himself and not anyone else’s safety, so I ended it.
I totally believe in the effectiveness of condoms because I made it through that relationship hell without contracting anything. Since then I’ve barebacked with only one person. Sometimes you get caught up in the moment with a hot guy and get tempted not to use a condom, and it does feel better, but not by much. So, I feel good about always using them because 15 minutes of extra sensation isn’t worth a lifetime of craziness.