So we’ve covered PrEP, we’ve covered condoms (no pun intended), and we’ve covered TasP. What does that leave us? Lots of types of sex where HIV transmission just isn’t a concern. Just like we have more HIV prevention options than ever before, there are lots of kinds of sex that don’t involve any real risk of passing HIV. Some guys who like group sex might go to jack off nights, where they can enjoy a group sex experience without engaging in types of sex where HIV can be passed. Decades of research have consistently demonstrated that oral sex without condoms, even when someone ejaculates in someone’s mouth, is very low risk for HIV transmission. In a bathhouse, you might choose to jack a guy off or give him head instead of letting him fuck you- these can be great options if you have a hard time talking about condoms, because they’re not activities that condoms are necessary for. Sex toys can also be a great way to have sex without the risk of HIV or STIs, but remember that toys should ONLY be used by yourself- if you’re sharing toys with others, they can transmit HIV and STIs. And, one more time, remember that sex that is low risk for HIV prevention does not mean it’s low risk for STI transmission.
Regardless of PrEP, TasP, Condoms, or lower-risk sex, one thing we want to remind you guys about is this: none of these things will prevent STIs, even though condoms and lower-risk sex can be a huge help. PrEP and TasP only work to prevent HIV transmission, and some kinds of STIs (gonorrhea, for example) can be spread through touch (so even condoms might not prevent transmission). The most important thing to remember is this: if you’re having sex- any kind of sex- you need regular testing for HIV and STIs. STIs are easily treated and usually don’t cause lasting complications if they’re caught early. And if you catch them early, it helps prevent you unknowingly transmitting them to someone else. At HIM, our rule of thumb is simple: we advise ALL people that if they are having any kinds of sex, they are at risk for contracting an STI. Test early, test often, and take control of your own sexual health!