Like a lot of single people of my generation, especially gay men, I use the Internet to meet other single people for dates. It fits in well with my busy life. A message here, a chat there, and once in a while it’ll turn into a drink or a meal.

There’s a dizzying array of jargon out there in the online dating world: GWM, GAM, GSOH, WLTM, LTR and VWE to name just a few. A couple that have recently entered my consciousness are DDF and “clean”.

DDF stands for ‘Drug and Disease Free’ – I resent that just because I have HIV that I should be lumped in with recreational drug takers. Drug taking is illegal and a choice, I did not choose to be HIV positive nor is it illegal.

Clean. I’ve been asked a few times lately “Are you clean?” and I’m never sure quite how to answer “Well, I had a shower this morning.” would seem a sensible reply. But apparently this is a cloaked way of asking my HIV status. So by being HIV positive this seems to infer that I’m the opposite of clean, which would be dirty.

I find both these terms inaccurate (I’m a very clean person, almost obsessively so) and offensive. I’m not stumbling through the streets with Smallpox here, killing your grandparents, nor am I lurking in some alleyway shooting drugs into my arms. I have a virus which is well managed with medication and prevented with condoms.

How about, instead of pussyfooting around the subject and ending up offending me by likening me to a plague victim or a crack-addict, you just ask me what my HIV status is? Be straight with me and I’ll be straight with you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off for shower…

Love and respect,



  1. Great post as always Sam. It never ceases to amaze me how the gay ‘community’ loves to create its own stigmas rather than trying to be supportive of one another. It’s there in the inherent racism of people with online profiles saying ‘No blacks or Asians’ because they think that’s more socially acceptable than just poltely saying they’re not interested in someone who contacts them, and in the insidious body cult that sees guys demanding ‘In shape guys only’ and then wondering why the only people who dare to contact them are vain, arrogant twats.

    On a side topic, I wonder how many guys wo claim to be ‘DDF’ or ‘clean’ have actually had a full sexual health screen recently? With 25% of HIV positive people undiagnosed it’s quite possible that their arrogance is misplaced…

  2. Great post Sam! I always get annoyed with profiles that say: “HIV negative and plan to stay that way.” Like all HIV+ people chose to have HIV. I know that I didn’t.

  3. On the other hand, it’s a really quick and easy way to decide who not to talk to, let alone shag. Call it self-deselection.

  4. Keep blogging Sam!
    You’re doing good, love.

    Any of your guys out there that are living with HIV+ please blog too.
    I can’t believe after all these years that many people don’t know enough about HIV.
    It’s through guys like Sam that people will gain knowledge and, hopefully, understanding.

  5. Great post Sam 🙂

    I’ll admit, I have been known to ask ‘are you clean?’ when talking to people on the internet. I didn’t think about in this way before, so thanks for making me open my eyes and think about it in a different way,

    Keep blogging,

    Geoff 🙂

  6. Hey

    Really enjoyed the blog and I have to agree, its pathetic how we create our own stigmas. I say be honest and ask outright – its about respect!


  7. Hey Sam,

    Good blog and thoughts… there are some huge stigmas being attached to HIV+ and it does make it a challenge at times for many who do not understand what it means or how it is transmitted. I am always amazed at the discussions at times that have to be had when you do disclose and have to run through what it means to be HIV+ and how it is transmitted and the activities that are low and high risk, treated or untreated… This does not even start to get into the discussion for those that are HIV+ and not paying attention to their own health and maintaining a strict routine on taking their meds.

    The positive thing is that you know and are willing to disclose at the appropriate time to a partner. The statistics show that there are way more people in both the homosexual and heterosexual world that have not been tested and do not know they are HIV+ and go about life not knowing.

    Keep up the posting…


  8. DDF – hate those letters, along wih the word “clean”. Drug free? I like a pint or a bottle of wine, they’re drugs, though undoubtedly the poster is much more likely to be referring to stuff like ketamine or MDMA.

    Disease free? They’re meaning STI’s, but they’re including all manner of stuff. Okay if I didn’t have HIV, would my diabetes exclude me? And oh! what’s that yellowish discharge from your dick? Touch of gonorrhoea, perhaps?

    Clean? Oh, what a time we could have with that! I read it in personals as an alternative to DDF, but use that word in your advert mister, and unless you’re referring to nude housework, you’re outta here. Some guys like guys squeaky from from the shower, I’ll say skip showering this morning and come straight over (showering is – maybe – for afterwards. And I know guys who want you to leave those taps alone for days beforehand. Used as I use it, it’s just different points on the line of a fetish for the natural smell of a man. It’s taken over as a “polite” form of DDF so much that I just skip over profiles mentioning clean: its double entendre is too much.
    Ask questions, guys, get to know him and base your opinions on what you learn…

  9. Hi dude
    Just want to say i recently stumbled accross you on twitter @shaun26jhb and started reading your blog…

    I am negative but i admire and respect you for what you are doing, it takes courage to do this, awsome blog and keep it up mate 🙂


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