Sex and the sex you want
October 30, 2013
SOME SEXY FACTS
According to participants of the Male Call Canada study (2013):
Over 67% of men reported casual sex in the past 6 months
Just over 36% of guys had had 2-5 sex partners in the last 6 months
Urban men are more likely to connect online than rural men
Guys who were more “community engaged” were more likely to know their HIV status
Mobile apps (like Grindr) are the fastest growing way for guys to connect sexually
It is VERY important that, as gay men, we have access to smart, sexy, stigma-free information that understands our needs and responds to ALL of us – mind, body and community…
Are you looking for the SEX you WANT?
Have you ever wanted to know if “it’s safer to top”? Have you been thinking a lot about PnP (party n play)? Want to learn more about undetectable viral loads? Our (GMSH) #thesexyouwant resource goes above and beyond the basics: www.thesexyouwant.ca
Your anal health and your anal pleasure
Many of us are hungry for really good information, tips and techniques about anal sex….well, here is a really informative webinar hosted by the MSM Global Forum: http://www.msmgf.org/html/webinars/AnalPleasure/lib/playback.html
Tired of the same ol’ fuck positions – try this tantalizing book from KalebSutra: http://kalebsutra.com/books/starting-positions-92-sex-positions/
Here are some essential TIPS for better sex (KalebSutra): http://kalebsutra.com/sutra-sex-life/sutra-sex-tips/never-forget-these-23-sex-tips/
Our friends at the Gay Men’s Health Project (AIDS Coalition of Nova Scotia) developed this informative annual checklist for dudes banging dudes called “Check Me Out” – so….check this out:
Sexually active guys (who have sex with guys) should test for HIV at least once a year – if you’re having casual sex with multiple partners, consider increasing your testing to every 3-6 months.
Recommended STI tests – HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B and C, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and parasites
Recommended vaccinations – Hepatitis A, B and HPV
For guys over 21 – testicular exam and check for lymphadenopathy (LGV)
For guys over 40 – early detection of prostate cancer
For guys over 50 – rectal exam and colorectal cancer screens
For poz guys – rectal exams
Male Call Canada research study: www.malecall.ca
Check Me Out (ACNS): www.acns.ns.ca/Check-Me-Out
HIV poz guys:
For younger poz dudes, check out “My Sex Life” here: www.actoronto.org/mysexlife
Thinking about starting HIV treatment? Here is a comprehensive, up-to-date resource listing from CATIE: http://www.catie.ca/en/webinar-series-building-blocks/starting-hiv-treatment-resource-list
For information about HIV sex, intimacy, disclosure and relationships, sex work, STIs and so much more check out this site from our friends in Australia: http://www.hivpozgaysex.org.au/
IF you’re HIV negative and think you’ve RECENTLY come into contact with HIV, read this:
PEP (post exposure prophylaxis) is a prescription of HIV medications that are taken over 30 days to try and prevent HIV infection
You’d be eligible given the following circumstances = condom break or fail, condomless sex with someone who is HIV positive or status unknown, needle stick injury
The sooner you take meds, the better – 72 hours is the max!
Medications must be taken as prescribed, side effects may occur
PEP is not 100% guaranteed
PEP is neither free nor cheap – can cost approximately $900-$1300 month. Some insurance plans can/will cover, otherwise you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket
If you cannot afford, you can always ask for them free-of-charge
You can contact your local AIDS service organization for help: www.hiv411.ca
Here are two little videos that explain more:
- 1) We Ho Life’s “The PEP Song” (Los Angeles) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEnewrwJOQs
- 2) Fenway Health’s “Exposed to HIV – time to talk PEP” (Boston) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YeHLiJIy8DI
Where you can go:
Visit your local hospital emergency department (in the GTA; we recommend St. Michael’s hospital downtown) http://www.stmichaelshospital.com/ you could also get in touch with any local HIV clinic
Call your primary care doctor (if you have one)
Contact your local AIDS Service Organization www.hiv411.ca
If you’re in Ottawa, contact Gay Zone Gai – 613-580-2610 or http://www.gayzonegaie.ca/
For much more information (FAQs, considerations, other resources):
If you live in/around the GTA – check out more information here: http://www.actoronto.org/pep
If you live in/around the Ottawa area – check out more information here: http://www.aco-cso.ca/gayzonegaie/pepatgayzone.html
Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange (CATIE): http://www.catie.ca/fact-sheets/prevention/post-exposure-prophylaxis-pep
Have you heard about PrEP?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is an HIV prevention tool. PrEP is a long-term prescription for HIV medications. PrEP is prescribed to HIV negative guys who make this informed choice or who might be considered at higher risk for HIV for a number of reasons. PrEP has not been developed as a way to stop condoms use. Also, PrEP HAS NOT been approved by Health Canada; however, one type of PrEP (daily oral Truvada pills) has been approved in the United States (as of July 2012). This form of PrEP may be available in Canada from doctors who are willing to prescribe it “off-label.” Truvada as PrEP is only considered effective when taken as prescribed (CATIE, 2013). If this prevention tool interests you, you might want to explore this in a conversation with your primary doctor.
In recent news, at the #AIDS2014 conference in Melbourne, Australia, a US-based research study (iPrEx) found that most study participants used PrEP as an additional tool versus giving up on condom use altogether. Also, younger gay men in the sample reported using condoms more often after starting PrEP. Many also reported feeling less stressed, afraid and guilty (about sex) after using PrEP.
Read more here: http://www.aidsmap.com/page/2894961/?utm_source=NAM-Email-Promotion&utm_medium=conference-bulletin&utm_campaign=English
For more information visit/sources:
AIDS Committee of Toronto: http://www.actoronto.ca/home.nsf/pages/act.docs.2293
Daily Xtra article from February 2014: http://dailyxtra.com/toronto/ideas/features/canadians-already-prep-drug-sits-in-regulatory-limbo
PrEP facts (San Francisco): http://men.prepfacts.org/
What does an undetectable HIV viral load mean anyway?
HIV treatment or medications are the best way for us to achieve an “undetectable viral load”. For some of us it can take longer to get to than others. An "undetectable" viral load means that the amount of HIV in the blood has been reduced to such a low level that the particular test used to measure viral load cannot find the HIV, BUT it does NOT mean HIV is gone.
The Bottom Line(s):
- 1. HIV treatment/meds work to reduce the effects of HIV – keep us healthy
- 2. The European PARTNER study represents evidence that HIV meds can reduce the risk of HIV transmission for sero-mixed gay guys – this is exciting and significant news!
- 3. STIs can have an impact on the risk of HIV transmission
- 4. Plan ahead; what's your risk reduction strategy and how will you bring it up? This might include condoms and/or viral load and/or testing and/or PrEP/PEP and/or sero-sorting….make sure you are informed about your strategy of choice
- 5. Take care of yourself and each other, regardless of your HIV status
For more information:
CATIE/PositiveLite.com – “a conversation with James Wilton, (June 2014)” http://www.catie.ca/en/news/partner-study-conversation-james-wilton or http://www.positivelite.com/component/zoo/item/howdy-partner
CAITE (April 2014) http://www.catie.ca/en/catienews/2014-04-10/insight-hiv-transmission-risk-when-viral-load-undetectable-and-no-condom-used
When should you test for HIV?
When someone who is HIV negative becomes infected with HIV, this is called seroconversion. The HIV "window period" is the time between when a person first gets an HIV infection and when the test will show that they have it. In some cases, HIV can be detected a few weeks after infection; but in other cases, the window period can take up to three months. A person with HIV who is in the window period may test negative, but they still have the infection and can transmit it to others. If you think you have been infected with HIV, but are in the window period, you can still get tested. Many people are diagnosed with HIV even if they have a test before the end of three months. Either way, it is best to be tested within a few weeks of an HIV high risk activity and if you have symptoms of HIV sero-conversion: fever, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, rash...
Even if your test is negative, have a second test three months after the sex act you are concerned about. In general, we recommend that sexually active gay guys get tested 1-2 times a year.
Want to know your RISK? Calculate that here (Health Initiative for Men, Vancouver BC): http://checkhimout.ca/testing/know-your-risk/know-your-risk/
For more information call the AIDS and Sexual Health Info Line at 1-800-668-2437 (English and multilingual line) or 1-800-267-7432 (French line)
Click here for the “Come On In” HIV testing campaign to review news, resources, symptoms, etc…. http://www.come-on-in.ca/index.html
More information about sexually transmitted infections (STIs):
Sexuality and U http://www.sexualityandu.ca/stis-stds
Need HELP immediately?
For emergencies call 9-1-1
If you feel like you’re in distress go to: http://www.dcontario.org/help.html
AIDS and Sexual Health Info Line at 1-800-668-2437 (English/multi) or 1-800-267-7432 (French)
LGBTQ Youthline – www.youtline.ca or 1-800-268-9688