The Mixed HIV-Status Love Match of the Spin Class Fiancés
You may have noticed a certain spin inspired wedding proposal on your Facebook newsfeed. With almost 2 million views in less than 24 hours, #TeamJadam has taken the internet by storm with this moving act of love. What you might not know is the story behind this dynamic duo and their powerful proposal: they’re a serodiscordant, or mixed-status couple.
No, I don’t just mean the physically palpable chemistry between them that had almost every one of those viewers and those of us in the studio for the occasion in tears. I mean that one of them is living with HIV and the other is on PrEP. These two guys not only share their love of spin, but they have asked me to share this unique part of their story.
When Adam first met Jared at that fateful spin class, you’d better believe Jared immediately started gushing to me about this new guy coming into Joyride for a job. At the time we were both working on some grassroots work for a local AIDS service organization so our conversations would bounce back and forth between that and Adam. Not too far into the first debriefing Jared’s excitement gives way to nervousness.
He’s not sure how to tell Adam about his HIV status, fearing stigma will stand in the way of this new romance. Putting on my advocacy hat, I remember telling him “The right guy won’t care about your status and will take the steps to protect himself, like PrEP.”
The fact of the matter is that HIV is a condition that carries with it a lot of stigma, and many positive individuals (myself included) experience just this type of anxiety over disclosure every time it comes up. Double or triple it if you’re really into the person. I know for me as a single positive guy, I always wonder about the effect of my disclosure on someone new, and if they’re not on PrEP whether access will be an issue.
Thankfully Adam was not only receptive to learning (asking me and others for information, advice, and guidance ultimately leading him to start PrEP) but wanted to find a way to be a more vocal supporter of Jared and the positive community. Yesterday, seeing the way the world has responded to their proposal we felt sharing this part of their story was the perfect way to start. About this, Jared says, “PrEP lifted a huge weight off our shoulders as far as making sure we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves, I want to share that too.” As far as Adam’s concerned, “I think we’re just two guys in love who won’t let something like status stand in the way.”
I was lucky enough to be in that room and be close to both these men and I can tell you that they couldn’t be better ambassadors for the cause.
# TeamJadam is just getting started, so stay tuned!