The case of Daryll Rowe, the 27-year-old hairdresser who has been convicted of deliberately infecting men with HIV, shows how effective condoms are when used properly and how infectious someone can be when not on treatment.
Rowe moved to Brighton shortly after being diagnosed with HIV in April 2015. He stopped turning up for health appointments and wasn’t on medication to treat the virus. Believing instead that drinking his own urine daily and taking herbs and oils would cure him.
In what must have been a period of about two years he infected at least four men with HIV and overall seems to have targeted men who he met on Grindr.
Over the years there has been speculation about what the risk is when having unprotected sex with someone who is positive and not on medication. We’ll never know how many partners Rowe had or how many became positive and didn’t come forward to the police.
But we know there are at least four victims out of how many instances of sex? Even if he had one sexual encounter every week that is four infections in about one hundred encounters over a two year period.
In the 80s and 90s, gay men who had HIV+ were not “undetectable” for the virus as most are now. Yet many of us who were around then and were careful to always use a condom effectively (and still do) are HIV negative today.
There have been around 50,000 cases of HIV among gay men since the epidemic started in the early 80s. Overall maybe around 7% of gay men in the UK have the HIV virus, though it’s always difficult to know how many gay (or bi) men there are. Compare to some US cities where 50% or more of gay black men are positive due to condoms not being adopted to anything like the same extent. A failure in safer sex education.
There are some twisted people online, posting comments that claim condoms never worked. But it’s quite obvious they have been highly successful at preventing more cases of HIV in the UK.
HIV only needs to get through one time.
Sadly, Rowe deliberately damaged condoms when his intended victims insisted on them being used.
You can avoid a situation like this by helping the top put on the condom and checking it regularly during sex. Keep the lights on and avoid fucking when under the influence of alcohol or anything else that might make you less alert.
Liberation isn’t about “chemsex” or shagging in the dark when drunk. If you can only face sex when you’re “out of it” then it’s time to take a break from it and sort out your head as far as being gay is concerned.