Melvin’s a playful charmer with a bright grin. Geoffrey’s a serious thinker with a soft, compassionate center. They’re two opposites who loved and supported one another, right from the start.
“Whenever we’d be around each other, it was always good vibes,” remembers Geoffrey. The couple met through mutual friends, and it didn’t take long before they both felt something click. “We didn’t have that awkward feeling you get when you first meet somebody. Everything was just smooth.”
Try your best to protect yourself so you can protect others.
That easy-going vibe is just part of who Geoffrey and Melvin are as a couple. The two spend their days off just lounging around the house, cooking and listening to music. They like to go with the flow—except when it comes to taking care of each other’s health.
“Knowing your status? It’s the key,” they say. Talking about HIV and safer sex with someone you’re interested in isn’t always easy—especially when you’re in the middle of a casual but exciting “something’s happening but let’s not put labels on it” romance. But for Geoffrey and Melvin, protecting their health (and each other) was more important than a little embarrassment. So they jumped right in.
“I don’t know if I brought it up or he brought it up, but we just talked about it,” says Melvin. “I don’t think it was awkward for us, not that it’s not an awkward conversation. It was kind of like we were having a date at Starbucks, just having a cup of coffee and talking.”
The couple discussed their HIV statuses, their views on safer sex, and different ways to stay healthy—like taking PrEP. “I don’t like taking pills, but this is something that can get us to zero new infections,” says Geoffrey.
Their talk helped Geoffrey and Melvin care for each other. And, says Geoffrey, it’s something anyone having sex can do. His advice? “Don’t make a big deal out of it. You can just come out and ask ‘Hey, do you know your status?’ and then go from there,” he says. “Don’t think about it too hard. Just talk about it naturally, the way you would talk about anything else.”
Just talk about it, says Melvin. Because “if we keep pushing [HIV] under the rug, it’s not going to get better.”