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,