Being gay is already a bit like doing squats in a tight pair of jeans â€“ a bit of a challenge - but now chuck being more susceptible to genital warts and HPV related anal cancer (than our hetero-brethren) into the mix, and a gay man just wants to toss all his A&F vests out of his gym bag! Itâ€™s just too much! Why us? HOW MUCH MORE CAN WE TAKE?
Condoms and lube have been around for a while because they work!
Fewer guys are using condoms these days, and there are a few reasons why this is not a good idea. Some guys that are HIV-negative are taking PrEP and feel that they no longer need condoms to prevent becoming HIV-positive, and other guys just prefer the sensation of condomless sex. But here’s the clincher: Having sex without a condom puts you at risk of more than just HIV.
Now, there is a solid argument about how much better it may feel to have sex that is skin-to-skin, but maybe we just need to see this in a new light. Perhaps we should make barebacking (condomless sex) the goal (exception) but not the rule, to minimise putting ourselves and others at risk. Maybe if we can save this very intimate and vulnerability causing way of having sex for special occasions. Occasions that we have prepared for and when we know the health status of our partner for sure.
Even if you are on PrEP, you need to have been taking it as prescribed for at least ten days for it to effectively prevent HIV transmission, and even then, you are still vulnerable to other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like gonorrhoea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes and hepatitis. Many guys who have these STIs have no symptoms at all. You wouldn’t be able to see that they have it.
The prevalence of STIs and the fact that they have not been treated effectively is what has caused dangerous drug-resistant strains of these infections to become very common. It’s bad enough to have an STI, but to get an STI that is persistent and very difficult to treat is even worse.
Good old-fashioned condoms and water-based lube is still the best way to protect yourself from unwanted STIs.
When you hook up with someone that you know little to nothing about, it’s not worth taking the risk and having unprotected sex with him, because chances are that he may not even know that he has HIV or an STI. 1 in 6 HIV-positive people have no idea that they are positive and the number of people who have other STIs, but have no idea is much, much bigger!
Why not try to save it (barebacking) for a special occasion? Delayed gratification is an amazing way to win at life. It’s when you put off giving yourself what you want right now so you can benefit in a big way tomorrow. Instant gratification is when you buckle under your wants and desires in the moment, sometimes to the detriment of your future. A good example is drinking way too many tequilas today when you know you’ll feel like crap tomorrow or eating every sweet and fatty food your heart desires when you would rather keep slim and trim.
Wait until you know for a fact what your partner and your STI and HIV status are and then you can go at it like rabbits.
How can you prepare for this kind of occasion? Get to www.health4men.co.za to find your nearest Health4Men serviced clinic, and you can both get screened for STIs there for free!
Bruce J. Little is the Content Creator for Anova Health Institute.