The discussion of HIV status has always been an important part of the barebacking process to help reduce the spread of HIV. Some barebackers prefer to avoid the discussion of HIV status and actually experience sexual intercourse rather than talking about it. There can sometimes be an association where discussing HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections removes the eroticism from bareback sex and replaces the experience with a medical element. The discussion does not need to be clinical, but it should take place prior to engaging in unprotected sex to protect those involved from both a health perspective and a legal perspective.

This discussion is not just an important aspect of barebacking, discussing HIV status is also a legal requirement in a growing number of countries, as an HIV positive person failing to reveal their HIV positive status to a potential unprotected sexual partner could be considered intentionally or recklessly infecting another person. People who are considered to be recklessly transmitting HIV to other people can be charged with criminal transmission of HIV, murder, manslaughter, attempted murder or assault. Criminal transmission refers to those knowingly transmitting HIV to other people, it usually does not usually refer to those who are unaware of their HIV status, but this is why it’s important to get tested for HIV on a regular basis to best maintain awareness of your HIV status. To learn more about criminal transmission of HIV, please read the article at Wikipedia.

The discussion to establish HIV status prior to engaging in bareback sex is important for guys who choose to use the process of serosorting to match HIV status as a way of helping to reduce the spread of HIV. The aim of serosorting is for HIV negative guys to only have bareback sex with other HIV negative guys and for HIV positive guys to find other HIV positive bareback partners. If the discussion about HIV status does not take place before engaging in unprotected sex, then the two (or more) partners are taking a risk because they may have different HIV statuses and seroconversion may take place if they have unprotected sex. Serosorting can also be used for other Sexually Transmitted Infections to help reduce the spread in the same manner as serosorting for HIV, but it’s important to remember that serosorting cannot guarantee against the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections.

It is also important to think about the consequences of having unprotected sex due to some legal cases which have taken place or are underway about HIV transmission, because it can become complicated. If a guy meets another guy online at a bareback website and their HIV status is clearly displayed and a guy contacts him through the website with the view of having unprotected sex, then you might believe that HIV status disclosure has been made available, so the discussion of HIV status may not be had verbally. If the guys met at a physical place, then the health status information is not available visually, so a verbal discussion would need to be had to establish HIV status. It seems that legal issues could arise if verbal disclosure of HIV status has not taken place regardless of whether the information can be found online or in a different location.

There are a number of bareback hookup sites on the internet and these sites display useful information about the members who create bareback profiles. Each site is slightly different in appearance, so I will examine a number of bareback websites to ascertain the sexual health information which is made available to visitors and members, along with the profile questions relating to sexual health. I have also include a screen capture for each website to show you where it’s important that you regularly update your HIV status and even though you include this information in your bareback profile, you need to still have a conversation about your HIV status prior to barebacking to help protect yourself from being involved in a criminal HIV transmission legal case.

Bareback.com

This is one of the original bareback profile sites to appear on the internet and includes an excellent sexual health discussion on the main page and it also discusses the risks involved through barebacking and the importance of honesty. Bareback Michael is the webmaster who ensures that visitors are aware of the issues concerning HIV status and risks by including this information on the main page for everyone to see. This site includes Negative, Positive and No Answer options to the HIV Status question and the Their HIV Status question includes the following responses: Must Be Negative, Can Be Positive, Must Be Positive, Either and No Answer. To help a profile viewer ascertain whether the member wishes to use condoms, there is a Safe Sex question with the following options: Always, Sometimes, Never, Let’s Talk and No Response.

Bareback.com

Bareback.net

Health information cannot be found easily at this site, but there are disclaimers putting the onus of responsibility back onto the site members and removing responsibility from the operators of the site. This site provides search options for bug chasers and gift givers to find each other through profile options which assist with search results. The HIV Status question has the following options: Ask Me, HIV-, HIV+ and Not Sure. The question Guys I’m Seeking includes a number of responses including: Bug Chasers, Gift Givers, Poz Guys and Safe Only. The question My Fetishes includes a number of responses include Bug Chasing, Conversion, Gift Giving and Russian Roulette.

Bareback.net

BarebackCITY.info

Created for the worldwide barebacking community, the main page includes an excellent warning about sexual health and this is accompanied by a warning inside the website to those who have an HIV negative selected in their profile about the seriousness of HIV and the possibility of infection. This site further emphasizes HIV by using a biohazard symbol throughout as a warning and also the AIDS ribbon. There are a number of sexual health questions offered, including an HIV Status question with the following options: Rather Not Say, Negative, Unknown and Positive. There is also a Viral Load, T Helper Cells (CD4 Count) and Sexually Transmitted Infections question to further help profile viewers decide whether the members profile interests them.

BarebackCity.info

BarebackRT.com

You will find thousands of profiles here, but only limited information about sexual health is available. The main page discusses legal liability and that the site operators are not responsible for the actions of its members. Even though the health resources are limited, members will find a number of health questions including the following options for the question My HIV Status: Positive, Poz + Other, Negative, Neg + Other, Other, Undetectable, Not Sure and Don’t Care. To match a person meeting the HIV status of the member, the question Looking for HIV Status has the following options: Ask Me, Negative Only, Positive Only, Positive Okay, Undetectable and No Preference.

BarebackRT.com

Some may argue that HIV negative guys should be responsible for asking questions about HIV status if they want to remain HIV negative and some may argue that HIV positive guys should reveal their HIV status to avoid having unprotected sex and accidentally infecting a HIV negative guy. Each individual needs to be concerned about their HIV status for health and legal reasons, so we all need to be responsible for disclosing our own HIV status and ascertaining the HIV status of the person we are about to have unprotected sex with. The trouble is when nobody discusses HIV status and later on seroconversion takes place, this is where both health and legal problems can arise.

Everyone may have their own views about whether it’s necessary to discuss HIV status before having unprotected sex, but to help reduce the spread of HIV, the discussion of HIV status is necessary and important. It establishes the HIV status of ourselves and those who we are considering having unprotected sex with, which then gives the information to decide whether to proceed with the the bareback encounter, whether to use protection such as a condom or to avoid the sexual encounter altogether. Because some guys may be afraid that the truth may result in the potential loss of a bareback encounter, they may withhold information or avoid discussing HIV status.

Because barebackers do not usually use condoms when having sexual intercourse, we need to verbally discuss HIV status prior to having unprotected sex, not only for health reasons but also for legal reasons, because we are not using what is considered to be a form of protection and we can expose ourselves and others to potentially harmful health outcomes. Maintaining an accurate HIV status in bareback profiles is also important, but because of the issues with the HIV window period and irregular HIV testing, the status maintained in profile data should only be used as a guide as the accuracy cannot be guaranteed (which is why a verbal discussion is essential). Bareback profile sites may wish to consider adding a field which includes a date when a person was last tested for HIV to help a person establish how accurate the information in the profile may be, or members could include this information in a free-text field. Based on recent issues in the media, relying on the profile data to avoid an HIV discussion isn’t enough and an actual discussion appears to be a requirement and may act as a form of legal protection.

Because some men deliberately infect other people with HIV (known as gift giving), the issue of HIV discussion is important and what is also important is being able to establish whether the truth is even being told when asking the question about HIV status. Some gift givers may choose to withhold information or even lie about their HIV status to give themselves an opportunity to infect a person with HIV. I have seen comments from some people who believe that all HIV negative barebackers are bug chasers, but this is simply not true. There are some HIV negative guys who are bug chasers, but most HIV negative barebackers do their best to remain HIV negative, even though they are aware of the health risks associated with bareback sex.

It is important to note that it is a criminal offense in a number of countries to intentionally transmit HIV to another person. Wikipedia provides an informative article about criminal transmission of HIV. This is why we are now seeing cases in the media where these instances are being reported to police and other authorities. Accidental HIV transmission will continue to occur in cases where the “window period” may have given someone a false negative HIV test result and in other situations such as blood donation, transfusions or syringes, but it is the intentional transmission which is the criminal issue.

Because of the legal cases which have taken place in the past and are currently in progress, it is essential to discuss HIV status before engaging in unprotected sex. It is also important to discuss other Sexually Transmitted Infections at the same time, as this can also work in the same manner as serosorting for HIV. You need to consider your own health, the health of others and you also need to consider legal issues as well. The webmaster is not a legal or medical professional, so it’s important to check the law in your part of the world and consult a legal professional for further information.

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