By Daniel-James Beeson | @djbeesonify 
Phtot © flickr.com/forayinto35mm


I had never felt so much anger in my entire life. Neither had I felt such a gut-wrenching sense of betrayal, and from my ex-boyfriend (and only boyfriend since I’d moved to London two years ago) and the new guy in my life.

I felt like I was experiencing all the struggles, insecurities and resentments almost every gay guy has living in this city coming into one I caught them fucking, in my bed, at my New Year’s Eve house party. 

The most shocking part of this Eastenders ‘doof-doof’ moment was that they were going at it bareback, when my ex had recently found out his new boyfriend had given him HIV.

‘Alex’ didn’t disclose his status and my guy didn’t ask. They both just assumed each other’s status. 

My relationship with ‘Alex’ was turbulent at best. He was one of the first new people I’d met in London so I felt some kind of ‘allegiance’ to him but he’d been physically violent towards me on occasion and was wildly possessive, which I forgave and accepted following every incident of some new guy looking my way.

I look back now and see the relationship at the time as an anchor for my new life in London, and despite everything that had happened I wanted to hold on to this safety net even when things finally came to an end and I’d quietly come to my senses. 

Eventually, we built a bond of friendship, as having mutual friends had kept us in the same circles hence Alex coming to me, coincidently at my birthday party, to tell me he might have caught HIV from his new boyfriend.

I stood by him and made sure he knew I was there for him. I’d never had someone close to me experience something so life-changing as HIV – so even though our relationship was troubled our new-found friendship, whether real or not now I look at it, led me to care for him no matter what.

And that’s where we were; we were sharing a history, a strong bond and a reliance on each other – for better or worse.

Fast forward three months and we come back to New Year’s Eve. I had a house full of people downstairs enjoying the first hours of 2015 and upstairs it felt like a large chunk of my life had crumbled from under my feet.

Adrenaline and anger overwhelmed me as I shouted for them both to leave. Alex’s reaction to being caught red-handed was to launch himself at me, pinning me by my neck against the window and raising his fist, as the commotion had brought friends upstairs to see what was going on. 

Before he had the chance Alex was pulled off me and I shouted him down the stairs and out of the house, followed by the other guy who was in fits of drunken tears. 

He stayed outside the house, as Alex left, until I came to my senses and realised I had to tell him he needed to go and get PEP. 

The next day Alex texted me just this: “I’m sorry - I don’t remember anything.”

I told him and the other guy, once I’d made sure he’d been to the hospital, never to speak to me again. The guy agreed. Alex persisted, but I haven’t spoken to him to this day and I never plan to we live close by and I’m dreading the day I bump into him.

I’ve been left with the quite cold belief that you shouldn’t ignore someone’s failings or give them any leeway in life, even if they are dealing with something as serious as an HIV diagnosis. They are people, and it is not an excuse to self-destruct and take others with them.

Despite my feelings and things I’m dealing with now, the main concern here is health and the mental well-being of people who have recently being diagnosed or of those who are concerned about the way they may react to such news.

If you feel like you can’t come to terms with your diagnosis or you’re worried about how you’ll react if you discover you have HIV then please seek help. 


Have you got a true life story that you would like to share with FS readers? Email fsmag@gmfa.org.uk.


FS SAYS: HIV just doesn't affect one person it has an impact on us all

It’s clear to us that Daniel has a lot of anger and resentment towards ‘Alex’ and it’s understandable too. When you have an emotional connection with someone and they hurt you it can be difficult to let go of the anger. But Daniel obviously still cares for Alex, otherwise he wouldn’t think twice about Alex’s health and well-being.

People make poor decisions for all sorts of reasons. Loss of confidence, lack of self-esteem, poor mental health, alcohol and/or drug misuse all play a part in the good and bad decision we make but it does not excuse them. Both Alex and Daniel’s ‘new guy’ made a poor decision.

The main thing you should take from Daniel’s story is though he’s been hurt by a close friend, and let down by someone he was seeing he still cared about their health. And that’s something we all need to do. 

It’s not easy being a gay man and people do things they wouldn’t normally do when they are not at their best. The responsible thing is to look out for each other’s health and well-being. People who are in control of their health are less likely to make poor decisions.

Many people, who are newly diagnosed with HIV struggle to deal with the after effects. Sometimes this leads to destructive behaviours. Many newly diagnosed men will abuse alcohol, may take drugs or even self-harm. People think they will be fine with being HIV-positive but once that diagnosis is made they discover it can have a serious impact on their lives and the people around them. HIV just doesn’t affect the person who becomes positive. It has an impact on the person’s close friends, family and social life. 

If you are someone like ‘Alex’ then there are services out there that can help you deal with either a recent diagnosis or help you work out any issues you may want to change. 


Support

For details about counselling services that may be available and suitable for your needs, call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221. 

For a list of support and help services, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/help-and-support

GMFA has a section of its website dedicated to gay men living with HIV. Including guides on how to disclose, how to deal with a recent diagnosis or how to work on relationships and general information on living with HIV. Visit, www.gmfa.org.uk/living-with-hiv.

PEP is a month long course of HIV medication that, if first taken within 72 hours of possible infection, can help you from becoming HIV positive. PEP is available from your local GUM clinic or at your nearest A&E. For more information, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/pep.


This article was taken from FS #147: CHEMSEX EXPOSED

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