Pozitively Healthy: A Gay Man's Guide to Sex and Health in Canada
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can affect your health. But there are things you can do to protect your health. Some people use the term "sexually transmitted disease" rather than "sexually transmitted infection" -- each term means the same thing.
The Bare Essentials About STIs
Be practical but not paranoid about STIs and your health. Speak with your doctor about making STI testing a regular part of your health care. Information on STIs is available from many sources -- some sources are listed at the end of this guide.
The most common STIs include:
Most STIs can be treated and cured with common antibiotic medications.
Genital herpes is different. Herpes sores and blisters can be treated with medication. But the viruses that cause herpes stay in your body. These viruses can cause flare-ups of herpes blisters and sores from time-to-time.
Special Information for HIV Positive Guys
HIV positive guys don't get chlamydia or gonorrhea any easier than HIV negative guys. And the treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhea -- antibiotic pills -- is the same whether you have HIV or not. But HIV positive guys (compared to guys without HIV) may:
If you have an STI that has not been cured it is easier for you to pass HIV to your partner during unprotected sex. This is true even if all your symptoms are gone. Just because your symptoms are gone it doesn't mean the STI is cured.
HPV, Anal Warts and Anal Cancer
HPV means human papilloma virus. HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact and can cause warts. These warts appear most often on the ass hole, inside the ass or on the cock. They usually look like tiny cauliflowers. These warts can be treated. But HPV can stay in your body. So even after the warts are treated they can re-appear in the same place, or appear in another place.
Certain types of HPV infections inside the ass can eventually lead to anal cancer. Compared to other people, HIV positive gay men have a higher risk of developing anal cancer. However, even if you have anal warts you will not necessarily get anal cancer.
Your doctor can give you an anal exam to check for abnormal lumps or bumps inside your ass (and check your prostate for cancer at the same time).
HCV means the hepatitis C virus. It is the virus that causes hepatitis C disease. HCV can be transmitted sexually. Guys with HIV are more likely than HIV negative guys to be infected with HCV.
You can't count on any symptoms to let you know you've got HCV. The only way to know for sure is to get a blood test. You should get tested for HCV regularly (probably at least once a year), especially if you are fucking without condoms, having rough sex, sharing sex toys or sharing needles if you inject drugs.
For More Information About Gay Sex, Cruising, Dating and Relationships
For Information About HIV, STIs and the Law
For Information About HIV, Hepatitis C, Other STIs and Your Sexual Health
For Information About Safer Drug Use and HIV
*Available through the CATIE Ordering Centre, available online at www.catie.ca or by calling 1-800-263-1638 [if you're in Canada]
This guide, originally developed by Toronto People With AIDS Foundation through a partnership with Ontario's Gay Men's Sexual Health Alliance (GMSH), has been adapted and reprinted in partnership with CATIE (Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange). Thanks to members of the Poz Prevention Working Group of the GMSH for their contribution. Thanks also to the medical / scientific reviewers.
Funding provided by the AIDS Bureau, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Government of Ontario, and the Public Health Agency of Canada. The views expressed in this resource do not necessarily reflect the views of the Government of Ontario or the Public Health Agency of Canada.
A companion guide, HIV disclosure: a legal guide for gay men in Canada, is also available. Both guides are accompanied by a manual for service providers, Poz Prevention: knowledge and practice guidance for providing sexual health services to gay men living with HIV in Canada. Copies of these publications can be ordered through the CATIE Ordering Centre, available online at www.catie.ca or by calling 1-800-263-1638 [if you're in Canada].
Decisions about particular medical treatments should always be made in consultation with a qualified medical practitioner knowledgeable about HIV-related illness and the treatments in question.
Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and CATIE, in good faith, provide information resources to help people living with HIV/AIDS who wish to manage their own health care in partnership with their care providers. Information accessed through or published or provided by the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation or CATIE, however, is not to be considered medical advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information published by the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation or CATIE. Users relying on this information do so entirely at their own risk.
Glenn Betteridge, Managing Editor
© 2009 Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange
New Publication Transcends Language Barriers to Share Untold Stories of Gay Men Living With HIV Around the World
This article was provided by Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange. Visit CATIE's Web site to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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