STI testing

Throughout this site we refer to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) a lot. That’s because they’re a real health concern for guys who have casual sex, bareback sex, and multiple partners. The demands on our immune system increase the more partners we have sex with. Barebacking adds another layer of significant risk. The more stressed your body is, the more susceptible you will be to infections. Tina stresses your immune system further. Use less and be extra careful if you’re feeling tired or run down.

There is renewed concern about HIV. Many strains of HIV are now circulating, including ones that are drug resistant. If you have HIV, please stay current with your viral load status and other immune system markers. If you have HIV, be aware that it can be more difficult to treat some STIs. If you have HIV and another STI, you’re more likely to transmit HIV. If you're HIV negative and have an STI, you're more likely to become infected with HIV if exposed.

Familiarize yourself with STI symptoms. Be aware of what is normal and abnormal for your body. Don’t delay seeking a health professional’s assessment when you notice suspicious symptoms.

Some STIs show little or no symptoms. So just because everything seems fine doesn’t always mean it is. Regular testing will help you stay healthy and decrease the chances of passing STIs to playmates. What is regular? It’s going to depend on your exposure. Every 6 months might be a good guideline. Discuss with your health care provider. Free counselling, testing and treatment for most STIs is available in Toronto. Infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Bacterial infections can be cured with antibiotics. Viral infections can usually be treated, but can't be cured. The impacts of not following through on our responsibility to ourselves and each other can be enormous.

Please know that there is currently a Syphilis outbreak in Toronto and the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) continues to spread. Now, more than ever, let’s be communities that care for ourselves and each other.

These Tests Are Recommended:

• Urine testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea if you get sucked or if you fuck.

• Throat swabs for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea if you suck cock.

• Rectal swabs for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea if you bottom without condoms. (A genital and external anal exam, and if appropriate an internal anal exam.)

• Blood test for Syphilis.

• Blood test for HIV.

• Blood test for Hepatitis A, B and C.

• If you see a ‘sore’ you should to get it swabbed before it heals over to test for herpes.

• You might also need to get tested for LGV; consult with your health care provider.

Ask your doctor to monitor liver functions and blood pressure as well. It’s important to monitor potential health implications of Tina use.

Get Vaccinated For Hepatitis A, B.

The Hepatitis A virus (HAV) is transmitted from ass play to your mouth. Rimming (oral-anal contact) and barebacking can expose you to fecal matter and put you at risk for HAV transmission. Even if you don’t rim, it’s a good idea to get your Hep A shots. The cock and balls are not that far away from the ass. And you don’t need direct mouth-ass contact, cock or fingers to ass, then to mouth is enough.

The Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is easily transmitted through barebacking and vaccination is encouraged for anyone with multiple sex partners.

The Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is transmitted primarily through sharing needles and contact with infected blood. There is no vaccine for HCV.

TIP: For more information about STIs and our HCV page please check out our series of articles under the section ‘Multiple infections

Post Exposure Prophylaxis

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is treatment that can be used after possible exposure to HBV or HIV through sex, injecting drug equipment or injury such as needle stick injury. PEP is given to decrease the risk of infection with HIV or HBV. It does not reduce the risk of other STIs or infection with blood-borne viruses like HCV. If you think you have been exposed to HIV or HBV, access your health care provider ASAP, preferably within 24 hours for a consultation to see if treatment makes sense for you. If the delay is longer than 3 days, PEP is not effective.

Sources: Hassle Free Clinic and Toronto Public Health

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