McGlothlen's Tips

Publish Date: January 30, 2014

Photo: Mark Woolcott.

Activist and writer for “Out Front Colorado” Scott McGlothlen shares these tips for discussing HIV status with a potential sex partner – or anyone.

1. Sometimes it’s best to just go at it point-blank; simply ask the last time – if ever – someone has been tested for HIV. People often worry that this will kill the mood in the heat of the moment. But usually, unless there is something of concern to disclose, just the opposite is likely.

2. Sharing your personal testing experience will usually put the person with whom you are discussing HIV status more at ease. Talking about any stress that may have been triggered by the process or events following the results will help create closeness and alleviate fear.
3. Use media stories and current events surrounding HIV to segue into a discussion of status. If you haven’t read or seen anything previously, a simple on-the-spot Internet search will provide a story to use.
4. Reminiscing about what each of you was taught regarding HIV in school can easily be turned toward a chat regarding more recent experiences, tests and status.
5.  A more academic way to instigate the conversation is to talk about social stigmas, prejudices and racism in relation to HIV. This can be a bit touchy, but it is a great way for people of similar social groups to discuss how issues surrounding the virus affect them.

Engaging the topic of HIV status can be difficult. The important part is just to ask – in any way possible. Keep in mind, it will be easier to inquire about someone else’s status if you’ve been tested and know your own first!