A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a visitor asking me for advice. I responded by email and I am hoping that what I wrote was useful. I figured that other guys may be in a similar situation, so I have published the question I received below, but I have removed the identifying information to protect the person who wrote the message.

I am now thinking about publishing a regular advice column here at my blog about all things related to barebacking, so if you have a question you would like to ask me, then follow this link to submit your question and I will do my best to respond to every question received and I’ll also provide my personal response via email as well.


I love your blog and was wondering your opinion about something.

I am 26, my partner is 42 and we’ve been together 5 years. He is HIV+ while I am still neg. We practice safe sex, but he is ready for me to take the plunge and bareback with him. I already bareback him when I top but make him play safe when he tops me and he’s tired of it.

I want a monogamous relationship and he has given me the option of letting him bareback me or letting him play outside the marriage with someone that will let him bareback. Now at this point I have no reason to ever wear a condom inside him again, and I sometimes think it would only be fair to give him the same respect.

His argument is that we will be together forever and bareback is a way to bring us even closer together (literally and figuratively) and if I happen to become poz, it would give me a better understanding of his life and make our bond stronger.

I go back and forth with the idea, thinking he’s right and if I do become poz, we will have each other and can take care of each other, then I think if he really loved me he wouldn’t pressure me for something like this.

What would you do in this situation if you were me.

Thanks for the advice.


Here is my response:

Thank you for contacting me seeking advice to your barebacking issue. I appreciate you trusting me with the issues you have written to me about and I hope I can provide you with a response which will help you reach a decision which is right for you. It’s important for you to make the decision which is comfortable for you, so there’s no need to rush into making a decision and you might find that seeking advice from several people will be helpful to you.

I don’t want to alarm you, but if you are HIV-negative and your partner his HIV-positive, then you having bareback sex with your partner when you top him is not actually safe. It has been found to be safer than being a bottom in a bareback situation, but there are still risks involved. I would recommend having an HIV test as soon as possible as a precaution to ensure that you are fully aware of your HIV status. Regular HIV testing is important for every barebacker.

I can appreciate you wanting your partner to also experience the pleasure of bareback sex. My boyfriend and I do not use condoms when we have sex, so I understand the need to enjoy skin on skin pleasure. You mentioned that your partner is ready for you to take the plunge to have bareback sex with him, however, in this particular situation, your decision is more important, because it is your health which could change as a result of entering a riskier barebacking situation, so are you ready to take the plunge and take that risk? You need to be fully aware of the consequences of being HIV-positive, from a health perspective, financial perspective and even a social perspective. I am not HIV-positive, so I cannot comment on this from experience, but I have considered the risks involved because I am a barebacker and I made myself aware of what I was getting myself into by having bareback sex.

Something you need to consider is that you are already having bareback sex with your partner, so you are at risk of contracting HIV and other STI’s if applicable. If you decide to give your partner permission to have bareback sex outside your relationship, he has the chance to contract other STI’s or strains of HIV and possibly pass them on to you if you continue to have unprotected sex with him. If you decide to remain monogamous and have full-on bareback sex with your partner, then you may become HIV-positive yourself.

This is a complex matter and it’s relevant for all barebackers. Bareback sex is such a wonderful experience, yet it also has the ability to be destructive. While I can only respond to your message based on the text you have written, you did use the words that your partner is pressuring you and this disturbs me, because he has nothing to lose in this situation and only something to gain. You have far more to lose, you have your HIV-negative status. I can also understand what your partner says about experiencing HIV together, however, it’s important to understand that each of us has different immune systems, so one person may struggle with HIV more than another. It’s not a simple issue and HIV itself is complex because of how it replicates in the body (it mutates).

I am not a doctor or health professional and I am not able to provide you with specific advice because that requires a better understanding of your situation, however, hopefully what I have written will be useful to you and perhaps a starting point for you to consider some things and maybe access further resources and opinions from others. Perhaps contacting a sexual health counselor or health care professional would be useful to help you work through some things in your mind to ensure that you have considered everything that is necessary in this situation. If there is anything else you wish to ask me, please let me know. I wish you the very best with this matter and please take care.

4 Comments
Rob September 30, 2011 at 11:40 pm Reply

Your advice to him was sound, but somewhat incomplete. I am HIV+ since 1994. I only bareback, but a negative person should consider several things.

If his partner is consistent with his meds and has a viral load that is undetectable, the risk is close to but not quite zero.

If he is willing to ask a doctor for a cocktail that matches his boyfriends, he can take the meds prophylactically. Take a dose within twelve hours prior to sex and another dose every twelve hours or as instructed by the physician. He would not necessarily need to keep a 30 day supply on hand because the meds are very expensive. Without insurance I would be up shit creek as my three prescriptions total over $3000.00 per month for thirty day supplies. In any event, talk to a doctor who has considerable experience with HIV.

Once infected, it is irreversible at least for the time being. It is currently incurable. Treatment is best when started as soon possible.

The drugs available since 2000 have many fewer side-effects but that can vary from patient to patient. My primary doctor and the endocrinologist, who treats me for type 2 diabetes, believe my HIV medications triggered the onset of diabetes rather earlier than it typically appears in adults. I was not obese and was quite active. So keep in mind that HIV can cause changes in your body as can some of the medications.

HIV has also been linked to low testosterone in men. Testosterone levels drop for all men as we age starting around age 30. In some men, such as myself, HIV appears to accelerate the process so now, I use testosterone gel each day and inject myself in the muscle of my thigh every two weeks all under supervision of course.

HIV medications, as I mentioned earlier, are horribly expensive. Insurance providers sometimes interfere or try to, but if and when medications are started or changed, your doctor should have testing done to determine the drugs to which your particular virus has resistance. This allows your doctor to prescribe the drugs that will have the maximum amount of efficacy.

Always discuss any changes with your doctor and make sure you understand the reasons for changing any current regimen before you do it. Your doctor gives you the best adivce your doctor knows to give, but ultimately, you are the one who says yes or no.

Do not fall for all the scams for drugs or supplements that carry claims that sound too good. They are too good to be true. Alternative medicine has been undergoing much more rigorous testing and 99.9% is proving to be completely bogus. If ancient Chinese medicine was so superior, the Chinese ought to be the longest-lived people on earth and the healthiest. They are neither. If African shaman had such great medicine, the life expectancy amongst people in subSaharan Africa out to be very high rather than the miserable number it is.

Save your emotional adjustments for times when you are not making serious treatment decisions. Medical decisions, just like financial decisions, are best done from a Vulcan mindset. Easier said than done.

Brad Berrigan October 1, 2011 at 2:02 am Reply

Hey Rob, Thank you for your response to this particular post. Your contribution is greatly appreciate and I thank you for the information you have provided to help the young man who approached me seeking assistance. You have provided both personal and detailed information and this insight is sure to provide this young man, as well as others who may be in a similar situation with the resources to help them through the decision-making process. Thank you again Rob for taking the time to provide your comments.

jordan May 1, 2013 at 12:16 pm Reply

I just found bb impossible to resist, i knew i would eventually converting and I did. To me, it was worth it and just a consequence of living my sexual life in a way that was fulfilling for me. Do I have any regrets? Not really, it’s been a fun ride and I am doing fine. I can think of a million things worse than having hiv. I just thought you would like another perspective.

Brad Berrigan May 1, 2013 at 1:24 am Reply

I appreciate your contribution to this article Jordan and it’s great to be able to have your perspective included here. Bareback sex is completely natural and it’s the only way I have sex. As a barebacker, I am aware of the risks involved with barebacking and I’m prepared to take those risks to enjoy the benefits of having unprotected sex. I undergo regular sexual health testing and use the sero-sorting technique, but the risks are still present and I accept them. Anyone who has bareback sex needs to understand the risks involved and be prepared for any possible consequences. I think most barebackers are aware of the risks involved, but I still read articles where guys who have bareback sex and sero-convert are shocked that they became HIV-positive and are unaware of the risks involved with barebacking and this surprises me. Thanks again for participating in this topic and providing your perspective Jordan.

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