Gay Men and HIV/AIDS: Where to Turn for Information and Advice

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There's plenty to know about HIV if you're a guy who's gay or bisexual or who hooks up with other guys once in a while. But your search for information doesn't have to be overwhelming. The bottom line is that, in this day and age, HIV is a health condition that's easily treatable and readily preventable.

TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Gay Men pulls together an array of news and basic information about sex and risk, health considerations, national statistics and personal stories. Dive in and take a look at some of what this resource center has to offer.

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Just Diagnosed?

"I had to face some things about myself, face a lot of things. Like, what if I die? How am I going to tell my mom?" -- Martez Smith

Over the years, dozens of gay men living with HIV or working in the field have shared experiences and advice on TheBody.com with those who've recently tested positive.

TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for the Newly Diagnosed also features basic information about HIV, your health, and next steps -- along with even more stories and advice from people who've been there.

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Prevention With Positive Guys

Did you know that, in the vast majority of cases, people with HIV can completely stop transmission of the virus just by keeping up with their HIV meds? This isn't a myth or a fantasy; it's called "treatment as prevention" or TasP. And it works for those able to access HIV care, treatment and support for their health and quality of life.

So please, rest easy, be well, and enjoy life and sex to the fullest.

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Staying HIV Negative

A number of tools -- beyond abstinence, condoms and hope -- are now available to help HIV-negative guys stay that way -- including a once-daily HIV-blocking pill. This method is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.

The burning question for many guys is: "If I'm on PrEP, do I really need to use condoms?" There's lots to consider there, including rates of other STIs [sexually transmitted infections] such as syphilis and gonorrhea. PrEP does not prevent transmission of any STIs except HIV.

From videos and cartoons, to posters and online communities, tons of useful information is available about PrEP. And remember: "PrEP protects you from a thing -- an adaptive little virus called HIV. It should not be framed as something that protects you from HIV-positive people. It protects you from a what_, not a_ who_."_

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Magnetic Couples

Serodifferent or "magnetic" couples (one positive, one negative) have been getting down and sorting out safer sex since the HIV epidemic began. As you can see from the previous two slides, more support than ever exists for couples to have awesome sex with vanishingly low risk of HIV transmission. It may be challenging for some guys living with HIV to consider dating someone who is HIV negative and might be ignorant of the realities of HIV risk today. But there are many happy success stories, too.

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Which Gay Men Are Most Vulnerable to HIV?

In the U.S., men who have sex with men make up 2% of the population -- and 64% of all new HIV diagnoses, according to a November 2014 report. HIV has touched all our lives -- but some groups of gay men are more heavily impacted by this health condition.

Consider this:

Click here for more articles discussing HIV and STI statistics on gay men in the U.S.

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Perspectives

Every statistic is a collection of unique stories. Many gay and bi men living with HIV have shared their experiences on TheBody.com. Read or watch videos about:

Photo courtesy of Will Armstrong.


Substance Use

You've probably heard or even experienced what many studies have shown: Substance abuse of all kinds, and particularly methamphetamine abuse, is a major concern among gay and bisexual men compared with the general population.

If you're dealing with issues relating to substance use, know that you are not alone. Resources are available if you need support.

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Health and Wellness

There's more to good health than taking HIV meds or preventing transmission. Fitness guru Nelson Vergel, a gay man and a long-term HIV survivor himself, shares his wisdom on exercise, diet, supplements and more on his "Ask the Experts" forum on Nutrition and Exercise for TheBody.com. Mental health and stress absolutely have an impact on physical health. And if quitting cigarettes is a good idea for any smoker, it's particularly beneficial for people living with HIV, who are more likely to smoke and to experience negative health effects related to smoking.

Credit: David Duran.


Stigma and Homophobia

In an era in which there are numerous tools for fighting HIV, stigma and discrimination remain the most insidious barriers to slowing down and eventually stopping the epidemic. And while HIV is by no means a "gay disease," it does disproportionately affect gay men -- largely because of the barriers to prevention, treatment and care that stigma, homophobia and other interlocking systems of oppression erect, both externally in the structures of society and internally, deep within those affected.

Check out TheBody.com's Resource Center on HIV Stigma and Discrimination to learn more about stigma's effects -- and how to fight them.

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