Everyone has health concerns and problems that they face, but there are certain health concerns that are specific to gay men only. Health risks faced by people are independent of their sexual orientation, but there are some issues that gay men face, for which they need to take preventive measures.
Getting Protection Against STIs
Men who have sex with men are at a higher risk of contracting STUIs, HIV, as well as AIDS. In order to make sure that you remain protected, visit AIDS Council of NSW website and read the tips we have shared below:
Make Sure You Use Protection
It is important that you use a new condom every time you have sex, because STIs can be transmitted orally as well as through anal contact. It is recommended that you use only water based lubricants, because oil based ones can cause the condom to break.
Stick to One Partner
Another way to avoid STIs is to have only one sexual partner, who is free from any infection.
Don’t Go Overboard With Alcohol
It is often seen that people tend to take questionable sexual risks when they are under the effect of alcohol and drugs. If you like injectable drugs, make sure that you don’t share the needle with anyone else.
Vaccinations will give you protection against Hepatitis A and B. It is important you know that not all infections can be prevented with the use of vaccines. Hepatitis C for example, can’t be prevented with vaccines and can cause issues like liver failure and cancer. Make sure you also get vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as it is associated with anal cancer in gay men.
It is important that you and your partner get tested to make sure that you don’t have any STIs, if you want to have unprotected sex. A lot of times people are unaware that they are infected, and unknowingly play a part in infecting their partners.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is recommended for people who don’t have HIV but want to be protected against it. They take a drug called emtricitabine-tenofovir (Truvada), which reduces the risk of getting the HIV infection. The drug is also used to treat patients with HIV. If you don’t have HIV, your doctor will test you for hepatitis B and assess your kidneys before prescribing Truvada that is to be used in combination with other preventive measures.
Make Your Health a Priority
A lot of time, gay men don’t seek help because of the social stigmas and homophobia, and choose to suffer in silence. It is important that you find a doctor who understands you and performs routine checkups and screening like checking for testicular, colon, and prostate cancer. If you are not in a monogamous relationship, it is recommended that you visit your doctor frequently in order to stay safe from STIs.