Posted on: 19 January 2022
HIV can affect all people, regardless of sex or gender. However, there is a somewhat increased risk of contracting HIV if you are a man who has sex with men. As such, you will want to be vigilant with your efforts to prevent HIV infection. Here are a few key strategies to keep in mind.
Ask partners to be tested
You may not always be in a position where you can ask your partner to be tested for HIV prior to engaging in sexual activity. However, when the situation allows for it, this can be one of the best ways to prevent HIV from being spread. You should also be tested to make sure you're not unknowingly spreading HIV to your partners. Free HIV testing is available at various clinics in most larger cities. If you have health insurance, there is a good chance HIV testing will be fully covered if you have the test performed at your regular doctor's office.
Wear a condom
Condoms are not 100% effective at preventing the spread of HIV, but they do decrease the risk of spreading this virus. So, it is a very good idea to wear one, especially if you are someone who has sex with multiple partners. If you find condoms uncomfortable, it may be because you have not found the right brand or size yet. Try a few different brands and sizes to find a variety you're comfortable wearing, not only for protection against HIV, but also for protection from other diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.
PrEP is a pill you can take for HIV prevention. Most men who have sex with men do not need to take PrEP every day. Rather, your doctor will recommend that you take it for several days before and after a sexual encounter. PrEP is affordable, and in many cases, free. It is quite safe and doesn't cause serious side effects. (Some men experience minor nausea and fatigue the first day or two, but this passes in time.) PrEP is about 99% effective if you take it as directed, which makes it the premier option for HIV prevention. Talk to your partners about taking it, too.
HIV treatments have come a long way, but it's still best to protect yourself against this disease in the first place. If you are a man who has sex with men, adhere to the tips and advice above.Share