is 'serosorting' a reliable prevention method for HIV?

Darrell's picture

Unfortunately, 'serosorting' is not a reliable method for preventing HIV transmission. There are examples of how it doesn't work all around us, and unfortunately more every day.
I'll use myself as an example. Between the time that I became positive, and before realizing that I was, I had sex with one person. It was a casual situation, but we had been chatting for several weeks before we got together. During that time I initiated my usual barrage of questions regarding status and sexual health, and told him of my presumed negative status at the time. Because I brought the conversation up in the first place, and furthermore because I was completely forthcoming and frank (and completely believed myself that I was negative) there was absolutely no reason that he doubted what I said. He was obviously completely willing and hoping to have unprotected sex - fortunately for him, I was not, and we didn't. Not only was I positive at the time, I was about two months into the progression of the disease - at one of the most virulent (and contagious) phases. It was about a month after that encounter that I got tested and my viral load was in the hundreds of thousands.
Even within the confines of a committed relationship 'serosorting' unfortunately fails too often to prevent transmission. I read recently that around 50% of all new infections of gay men are occurring within committed relationships. The couple decides to forgo protection because of their trust/love, etc., only to find out down the line that one party was either dishonest or unaware of their status.
The only truly reliable method for preventing HIV is, as ever, practicing safe sex.