Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Horny Net


So there’s this new app targeted to gay men that wants to unseat Grindr. Hornet is available on both OS and Android, and its interface is easier to navigate compared to Grindr.

But what sets it apart from other gay hook-up apps is this:

Ooh yeah, a gay hook-up app with a conscience! Actually it just encourages you to know your status, a.k.a. have yourself tested. But going beyond it, it has a feature wherein you can announce your HIV status on your profile: positive, negative, or not sure. You also have the option to leave it blank.

So I take Hornet out for a spin, and so far it’s all very Grindr-like. But aside from a few who placed “negative,” most everyone kept quiet about their HIV status. How come? That led me to think of several possibilities:
  1. The person hasn’t taken the test yet, so he doesn’t know his status. But because he doesn’t want people to know that, he keeps it blank instead of declaring, “Not sure.”
  2. He knows he’s positive, but doesn’t want people to know.
  3. He knows he’s negative, but doesn’t want people to know.

In example #1, why would he prefer to keep mum instead of outright declaring, “I don’t know”? By stating clearly that he is “not sure,” he may give one of two impressions: (a) he’s scared of taking the test and knowing his status; or (b) he prefers to be ignorant because ignorance is bliss. One makes him look like a coward, the other makes him look stupid. Despite the fact that it’s very human of us to be scared or to be ignorant, most people will want to avoid being tagged as either.

In example #2, it’s likely that he’s afraid of the stigma associated with people living with HIV. Fearing such stigma from others, he chooses not to declare anything.

In example #3, perhaps he doesn’t want to flaunt his negative status. Or perhaps he doesn’t want to pressure others, thus he’d prefer to keep his negative status to himself. It can be seen as a form of humility, regardless of whether it’s genuine or misplaced.

Either way, I am disappointed though totally not surprised that many choose not to state their status. For the positives, perhaps it is not yet time, given the current stigma surrounding HIV. But for the negatives, it is an opportunity to encourage others that having themselves tested is both necessary and, given the opportunities for free testing these days, not a big deal. It also helps lessen the stigma if HIV is discussed out in the open, whether in local media or even in your smartphones.

What’s my take on all this? Until all the #3s start declaring their negative status, I will take the cautious approach and assume that everyone else is either positively scared or blissfully ignorant. And it’s still a personal responsibility to always play safe.

2 comments:

pinoyadonis K said...

What if there are positives that want to 'target' negatives?

joelmcvie said...

Target, meaning get them to have sex with them?

Well, it takes two to tango, and no unsafe sex can happen without the consent of the negative. (Barring, of course, a change of mind, or a change in values, or a temporary incapacity to think straight.)