The HIV Infected Elephant in the Room

By Nick Delmacy | Posted Aug 27 2011 | 22 Comments  

As one of the single guys posting on Cypher Ave, I can unfortunately say that I can’t remember the last time I was asked or I asked another person: “What’s your status?”

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t whore around a lot (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But on the occasional instance that I meet someone new (or I have a lapse in sanity and text an Ex) and we do our little dance, the question never comes up. That’s a shame.

In a day and age where HIV infection is still at an epidemic rate for African American gay men, many of us don’t ask those three simple words. “What’s your status?” 

My reason: I just assume everyone is HIV positive whether they deny it or not. So I make sure I protect myself at all times…Somewhat. LOL. Okay, I’ll be honest, with certain guys I tend to “experiment” more than with others. Dangerous experimentation, at that. But only after a certain level of “trust” has been obtained.

But that experimentation is STILL hazardous because 99% of the HIV positive gay men that I’ve spoken with have all told me that they got HIV while in a relationship with a philandering partner that they “trusted”.

On top of that, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally fall for the idiotic “he looks healthy” mentality that fills many people with regret in hindsight. Especially if he is masculine and discreet. 

Whether its a “hookup” or someone I’m actually interested in, we both just assume that the other person is healthy. Oh, we still perform the theatrics of using condoms and capfulls of mouthwash afterwards (the deluded oral sex morning after pill). But at the end of the day, the words are not spoken.

There was even one guy I met that was attractive, funny, affable, intelligent, employed, lived alone, etc…I really was diggin the dude…but then he wanted to have bareback sex on our first time. Dammit if I wasn’t tempted (naked, in the heat of the moment) to just say, “Fuck it” and go raw…But the “good angel” on my shoulder yelled the loudest and I resisted the temptation. When I denied and asked if he had raw sex often, he replied, “yeah sometimes.”  Suffice it to say, that was the last I heard from him so I dodged a bullet there.

Fortunately, I’ve never had a sexually transmitted disease. However, I know that in addition to making some decent choices in sexual partners, I’ve just been plain lucky. But everyone’s luck runs out eventually. So this brings us back to the original dilemma: Why don’t more of us ask The Question?

I think there are two answers to this:

  1. We’re afraid the other person might actually say, “Yes, I’m HIV positive.” Then that would put us in the awkward position of having to either be cool with it or to disappear and never respond to that person’s texts and calls ever again.
  2. We think we’re invincible. There is honestly that feeling that bad things happen to other people, not ourselves. We’re actually temporarily surprised when misfortune befalls us.

There are a couple other possible answers as well, HIV is not the “death sentence” as it once was so many people may possibly fear it less now…Lastly, many gay men are just horny mindless whores, uncaring of contracting sexually transmitted diseases until after it actually happens.

My money’s on the latter. But at the end of the day, we all make choices that we have to live with, good or bad.

– Nick

About the Author
Nick Delmacy

Nick is a founder, editor and the pop culture expert at Cypher Avenue. Serving as the designer and webmaster of the site, he is the architect of The Cypher Avenue Matrix.

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22 Comments Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. Ocky | July 2nd, 2013

    Yo this shit was crazy…dude should have stab his naked ass.

    • August | July 2nd, 2013

      You so missed the point if you think that is what should have happened. It’s wasn’t about harming him it was about getting his attention. Trying to change the conventional way of thinking by giving the man a wake up call. The point of him being blind was to illustrate that it wasn’t about his looks. He could have been a fat slob or an Adonis. It didn’t matter. He wanted something more than casual sex.

  2. Derrik | July 2nd, 2013

    Damn.. loneliness itself .. Da shit we put ourselves thru to have some company or 2 make ourselves feel like somebody cares..

  3. Dorian Gray | July 2nd, 2013

    Wow so good!!!

  4. Chocolate37 | July 2nd, 2013

    Wow that was so good, I think we’re all like that. When shopping on line you began to create a pattern of how you meet, what you’re going to say and what unsaid action will take place. I loved how the guy got naked and challenged everything he knew the other blind guy wanted. Then the blind guy knew everything the naked guy wanted but was to hurt to give.

    I think the naked guy respected the blind guy because he just didn’t settle for the expected he stood up for what he knew he could offer. More than getting high, fucking and moving on. He challenged the naked guys motives and thoughts wow, I just love this. How moving it’s amazing how much talking goes on when nobody is talking.

  5. E-RED | July 2nd, 2013

    DAy-yum?? .I’ve never posted an online ad before, but if I thought THIS dude would answer it … where do I log on?!? LOL. Watching this scene kinda affirms my decision to not online “date.” Cuz I’d be the dude wanting to caress and hold a nigga, meanwhile Mr. 420 would be pulling his dick out immediately upon arrival. Seems like most kats are just looking for a quick hookup and don’t appreciate intimate companionship. But I do agree with bruh who said “it’s amazing how much talking goes on when nobody is talking.”

    • MOzbaby | July 2nd, 2013

      after 14 years my last relationship ended on 12.31.2004. after a couple years of casual dating i became celibate for 6+ years. i ventured back to the “sites” in 2012. after less than a year of off and on again flirting i IMd a guy and we agreed to meet for lunch and have been “dating” ever since. my profile didn’t mention “masculine” (but this brotha IS a man). i let it be known i don’t sex on the first date AND we STILL haven’t bumped bodyparts yet (although it’s not easy resisting him). we have, however, been extremely intimate w/ our clothes on (holding each other watching the basketball game) and i am loving it!!! guys, it is so possible for two guys to date and romance each other and keep your clothes on. thanks for this short that reinforces the “other side” of out like…there are still some of us guys out here that still want romance & dates!!!

  6. Ero11 | July 2nd, 2013

    Interesting. I must admit that I haven’t watched the whole clip yet(keeps cutting off and stalling and I’ve only gotten so far as dude asking ‘ what was her response to my reply?’ )…but so far so good. However I am curious to know why you described the men as being ‘somewhat’ masculine. Hyper, over-exaggerated masculinity…maybe not….but in my opinion both characters are depicted as men who are comfortable being just that–men. Does the disclaimer come from the fact that one of the bruthas is in the kitchen cooking as opposed to playing Sega or Playstation and wearing a Pacers jersey and a snap back with the tags still attached? These are grown men for Christ’s sake. Maybe I’m wrong, but it sometimes seems as though we in the Black community equate masculinity with what.should really be considered arrested developement

    • Nick D | July 2nd, 2013

      Ero11, Its very clear that the young man cooking would be considered “Soft” by most standards. That’s what I meant by him being only (somewhat) masculine, lol.

      • tm | July 2nd, 2013

        @Nick D: Just found this site today & know that I found a cyber brother by another mother in you. I’m 56 yo, bi, unclockable & agree with most of the posting I’ve seen attributed to you. Regarding this short, however, I think that you’re reaching when you suggest that the blind guy is soft. To me, the actor does a great job at portraying a man who can’t see what’s culturally expected of us to be perceived as masculine. In other words, if he were str8 and walking down the street with his woman, I think that most people would see him as blind and not think of him as soft. We’ll probably disagree here & there, but thank you for being part of this wonderful site.

      • Ero11 | July 2nd, 2013

        …now granted
        Ol boy doing the cooking may be lacking a little bass in his voice here and there…but what does that shit really mean anyway?

        Masculinity doesn’t necessarily have to look like Fiddy Cents to be valid

  7. Derrick | July 2nd, 2013


  8. Demetrius | July 2nd, 2013

    This was great, the end almost made me cry, but in the end, just wanting companionship and wanting to be enjoyed by someone else company, very good short film. But i agree that it does show different avenues of what gay males go through, lonliness, danger, addictions, physical ailments, etc.

  9. Wes | July 2nd, 2013

    WOW!!!!!! This by far, has been the BEST I’ve seen of any of the LGBT/type of movies that depict a real-life situation but with a twist! I wasn’t expecting dude to be BLIND! And yes I agree with Nick, the ending is a bit far fetched…but overall, great cinematography, good acting (very believable!) it was done tastefully!!!
    Only thing, I wished it had been a whole movie, maybe done in a vignettes sorta style that furthered into what really goes on with dating online/hookups!
    Great Review Nick!!!!

    • Wes2 | July 2nd, 2013

      I agree with the previous two comments. Really well done, but, I too, would like to see this film expanded. Nevertheless, very good performances, quality film. Always happy to see gay/bi men of color represented in films that are targeted to the community itself. Very well done. Kudos to all.

  10. Darrian | July 2nd, 2013

    Speechless…The silence spoke so loud and the characters were so vivid. Great short, I wish there was more.

    • Ocky | July 2nd, 2013

      You and me both!

  11. XtremeDL | July 2nd, 2013

    real shit…felt all kinds of emotions in the short 13 mins.

  12. Xzavier | July 2nd, 2013

    This was very emotional and relatable is so many ways. WOW is all I can say

  13. E-Double | July 2nd, 2013

    Damn, this was amazingly disturbing, yet provocative and realistic. I really felt like a fly on the wall. Even felt a lil’ guilty for watching. Hard to watch this brothah be so vulnerable tho. In a way they were both naked at the climax of the film as they slowly revealed their true selves to each other. All dude wanted was a little companionship. He couldn’t even convey what he really wanted when confronted. The tall red-boned dude was a truly committed actor going full frontal for this role. I can see that it called for it. Excellent piece Darius. Thanks for sharing Ocky.

  14. ptseti | July 24th, 2013

    loved it….good acting, good camera work, good lighting. There were some editing problems however it was believable. Cooking dude is strange….seems almost psychopathic…I would not have stayed to dine or eat ice cream!

  15. blackzw
    blackzw | February 21st, 2014

    Eerily good.

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