"Clean" Is For The Shower, Not Your HIV Status
"Are you clean?"
That's the way a lot of guys online are asking to see if another guy has HIV or not.
They ask because they don't want to get HIV, and perhaps because they want to fuck without a condom, but it's an offensive and unintelligent question.
First, it suggests that guys with HIV aren't "clean". That they're somehow dirty, and that's just offensive. Having the virus in your blood doesn't make you a leper that will infect anyone who touches you. Anyone with HIV is still an ordinary human, and treating them like less is simply reinforcing the terrible stigma our community is supposed to be fighting.
Second, it's not an intelligent question because there is no way you can ever be sure that what some random online hook-up tells you is the truth. Maybe a guy does think he is HIV negative and says “yeah I’m clean”. Maybe he had a test done three months ago, but how much sex has he had since then? And with who? And how often without condoms?
It’s a concern because HIV is often passed on by guys who don't know they have it yet. So they might say "Yeah I’m clean" but be genuinely mistaken. Some guys might think the question is going to keep them free from HIV, but it won't. In fact, it can have the opposite effect. If they get in the habit of unsafe fucking with guys, they’re opening themselves up to much more risk. Framing the question in such a negative light can also discourage other guys from getting tested, for fear of finding out that they’re not “clean” anymore.
But in the heat of the moment it's easy to get carried away - he's hot, you're horny, he suggests unsafe sex and you think "Well, I'll risk it, he said he's clean." Sometimes it's hard to think clearly when you've got a raging hard-on and he's offering to help.
So how do you deal with online hook-ups who push for unsafe fucking? You can say thanks but only with a condom, you can talk to a doctor about PrEP, you can say no, you can block them, you have lots of options. Just because he's really hot and you're really horny, don't think that's a good reason to not protect yourself.
Put "safe only" on your profile so it's clear and out front from the start. You can still have awesome, hot sex with another guy and keep both of you safe. And that's got nothing to do with being "clean".