Sero-sorting: Poz or Neg?

Some men try to make anal sex without HIV/STI preventative tools safer by trying to find a sex partner—casual or regular—of the same HIV status. This is often done by:

  • Asking potential sex partners their HIV status
  • Guessing from what they look like
  • Guessing from whether or not they ask to use a condom

NONE of these are reliable methods for reducing the risk of picking up or passing on HIV during condomless anal sex.

If someone tells you they are HIV negative, it may not be true, even if they believe it.

There are many men around who assume they are HIV negative because their last HIV test result was negative—but how long ago was the test, and what have they been doing since?

Even if a potential sex partner knows he is HIV-positive, you cannot assume he will tell you, especially in a casual encounter. He may be afraid that you will tell other people, reject him or think it’s none of your business.

Guys who do not have HIV may also seek out partners who have an undetectable viral load, knowing that when a guy is undetectable he cannot pass on HIV.