Now more than ever it is vitally important that everyone, barebackers especially, adopt the concept of sero-sorting when choosing sex partners. Not only does sero-sorting help reduce the risk of transferring HIV, it makes uninhibited sex even more exciting.
More simply put, you canít get a disease that your partner doesnít have. By the same token, you canít infect someone with a disease if they already have it. In the big picture, the way to stop HIV from spreading is simply to prevent it from getting the chance to spread. Playing exclusively with others who share your HIV status ~ sero-sorting ~ is the best way to do that, regardless of whether you use condoms or not.
If you bareback, consider this: for every 100 bareback partners you engage with, at least 50 of them are likely to knowingly be POZ (regardless of what their profiles say). 20 to 30 of your partners will probably not know they are HIV+Positive, and the remainder will probably be negative. By sero-sorting, the HIV-Negative man has the opportunity to reduce his risk of becoming infected by anywhere from 40 to 100 percent. And the HIV+Positive guy can reduce the risk of causing new infections by an amazing 100 percent as well. Those are encouraging numbers, and they are also achievable through practices such as sero-sorting.
Another good reason to start seeking out only other HIV+Positive men after a new POZ diagnosis is that they can help you adjust to the new requirements of your life. Seek not only uninhibited sexual encounters from them, but also their experience in dealing with HIV. They can help you in ways that most HIV-Negative men cannot.
Start by avoiding people who engage in behaviors that put them at higher risk of becoming infected. Say "no" to anyone who advertises he is into partying and playing or getting high before sex (buzzwords: pnp, parTy, tweak, meth, go fast, Chrissy, Tina, booty bump, butt rocket, etc.). Tweakers (parTiers) are notorious for being dishonest about their status while being quick to engage in the riskiest sexual behaviors, and most reluctant about getting tested regularly. People who habitually use party drugs are 400-600% more likely to become HIV+Positive. Even if YOU donít feel the need to get high prior to sex, you can become infected by someone who uses. Cross partiers off your list of eligibles.
Refrain from going to bath houses or sex clubs (and from hooking up with those who routinely go to those places) as honesty isnít one of the hallmarks of men who frequent such establishments. These are places where STD's of all varieties get a foothold in the community. Bath house sex is mostly sought out by men interested in getting their rocks off anonymously. Theyíve paid money to get into the place, and most are interested in getting what they paid for. Many are high or drunk and not in the best frame of mind for discussing HIV status or being truthful about it with someone who they think can give them their moneyís worth. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure... especially when it comes to something that can't be cured.
When you chat online or person to person with a prospective sex partner, ask specific questions ~ ĎDo you party?í ĎWhat is your HIV status?í ĎHow often do you get laid?í and ĎHow do you screen your partners?í are a few good questions to ask. Pay close attention to the answers. If things he says donít add up, politely refuse to hook up. Try setting up fuck dates with eligible candidates for some time in the near future. A man is less likely to lie if thereís no reward of immediate gratification available. And most of all, trust your gut reaction. If that little voice in your head says "no" follow it, regardless of how hot the guy may seem at the moment. If youíre really serious, you can (and should) ask for proof on paper of his HIV-Negative status. Ainít nothing wrong in asking him to prove his claim. If heís really negative he has nothing to hide.
Consider looking for a fuck buddy or two who meet your criteria. HIV-Negative men who sero-sort are perhaps more likely to want to find a small number of men they can trust to hook up with on a regular basis. You can also see if thereís an All-Negative sex group in your city (or a nearby city), or consider starting one of your own (see " Making Your Bareback Party Safer For All"). Expect to be required to prove your Neg status with a recent test, and remember that thereís still a risk involved even though everyone may have recently tested negative.
Also keep in mind the following: Nobody is immune to HIV. Some people may be resistant to the virus, but it is not confirmed that anyone is actually immune. Additionally, "undetectable" still means "POZ". Someone who claims to be Undetectable POZ can still infect you if you are NEG. Claims of immunity or undetectability should send ip a red flag that the person making the claim is not looking out for your best interests.
Sero-sorting is not perfect or foolproof. It cannot encompass the range of protection needed to prevent transmission
of other STDís. It only works as long as the persons involved are honest with each other, and are committed to
practicing sero-sorting. It does not prevent re-infection or cross-infection of HIV strains among HIV+Positive men.
However when successful, sero-sorting does reduce the number of new HIV infections by lowering the percentage of
sero-incompatible partners. If you are like me, you will see the value and necessity in sero-sorting and youíll start
practicing it right away. The only way weíll overcome the AIDS crisis is by working together to contain the virus.
As barebackers we have as much if not a greater responsibility for HIV containment. Sero-sorting is one of the best
tools we barebackers (as well as routine condom users) have for achieving that goal.