Valera, 32
salesman

I personally don't know anyone in Novosibirsk who has AIDS. It's not something that we really worry about, because it's so rare here. There is a problem with other sexually transmitted diseases, though, so people do try to have safe sex.

AIDS is a bigger problem in Moscow, since there are so many foreigners who go to the clubs. I have a friend here whose lover went to Moscow for a while; after he returned, my friend refused to sleep with him until he had been tested for HIV. It's not difficult to get tested here, and also not expensive.

I got married 12 years ago, and even though my wife and I separated only two years later, we haven't gotten divorced yet. She lives with my 11-year-old son in Moscow, but neither has any idea that I am gay. I think my wife might suspect, but we have not ever talked about it.

The one thing I want is to have a good, solid long-term relationship. That is the only thing that really matters. The longest relationship I've had, besides being married, lasted for one and a half years. We separated only a month ago, and I'm still so upset about it. I really miss him. But he's younger than I am, and wanted his freedom. Maybe we'll get back together after a while; who knows? If not, he's got no one to blame but himself.

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