What Gay Men Should Know About Sexual Health and STIs

Written by JosephAugust 20, 2015

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Having gay sex isn’t like it used to be in the dark ages. There are too many Sexually Transmitted Infections out there these days. The gay community needs to start paying attention with what goes on under the sheets. Though it seems like most sexually transmitted infections can be gone with a cream or a pill, the […]

Having gay sex isn’t like it used to be in the dark ages. There are too many Sexually Transmitted Infections out there these days. The gay community needs to start paying attention with what goes on under the sheets. Though it seems like most sexually transmitted infections can be gone with a cream or a pill, the truth is, some cannot be cured at all.
Because of this fact, it’s more crucial than ever to know not only the signs, but a detailed description in how they’re transmitted. If you’re going to be sexually promiscuous, taking your health into account is a must. There’s no excuse not to be smart when it comes to sex. Knowledge is power!

776,000  new infections of herpes happen every year, and it’s believed that 1 in 4 gay/bisexual men have it today. 20% of those have reported no symptoms, which means they’re carriers. Also, an overwhelming majority didn’t know they had it before they were diagnosed.
The most common forms of herpes are Simplex I and Simplex II, which appear as blisters appearing on various parts of your body in untimely outbreaks.
  • What Are The Symptoms? Blisters on the genitals, mouth, or anus – either inside or out. They last from 1 – 3 weeks, and can easily change areas. Tingling and numbing sensations may occur on the areas of each outbreak will occur.
  • How Does It Spread? Oral sex, kissing, dry humping and skin-to-skin contact, primarily through contact with blisters. It is NOT spread though hugging, shaking hands, sharing food/drinks. However, even though an infected person may not experience symptoms, it is still easily transmitted.
  • Is There A Cure? No. Once someone is infected with herpes, it’s for life. Though there are medications that help reduce the length, severity, and spreading of outbreaks, it will never act as a cure.
*Note: A healthy immune system is important in controlling herpes. Exercise, rest, vitamin C, and proper nutrition can be beneficial to an infected person.

Syphilis is caused by a bacteria and takes the shape of a sore. It has risen among the gay community in the last few years, especially among HIV-positive people. The sores created by syphilis make it easier for HIV to enter the body.
  • What Are The Symptoms? It happens in three phases..
1st Stage – Usually occurring within 10 – 90 days after exposure, a sore will appear on the testicles, anus, or lips (either outside or inside near the throat). They’re typically painless and have been known to go away by themselves, but the syphilis will still exist if left untreated.
2nd Stage – Usually occurring 2 weeks – 6 months after exposure, a rash will appear either on your torso or legs. In some cases, it’s shown up on the palms of your hand or the soles of your feet. Flu like symptoms are also bound to happen. They will go away by themselves, but will still exist if left untreated.
3rd Stage – This is the most severe. You might experience loss of hearing, mood swings, vision problems, dementia, numbness in muscles or uncoordinated muscle spasms. It can eventually make its way to the brain, where it will be irreversible.
  • How Does It Spread? Skin-to-skin contact with someone who has open sores or unprotected sex. If one is infected with stages 1 or 2, syphilis is more easily transmittable. It is NOT spread through hugging, food/drink sharing, toilets or touching objects in which an infected person has touched.
  • Is There A Cure? Yes. If you are experiencing the 1st or 2nd phases, penicillin injections will cure syphilis. People who have an allergy to penicillin might be prescribed oral antibiotics for a few weeks. People in the 3rd phase need to be hospitalized where penicillin injections will be daily.

A bacterial infection which occurs in your mouth, throat, anus, or urethra (aka: the tube inside our penis that we pee from). This is an often overlooked STI because the beginning symptoms are easily confused for allergies, the cold/flu, sore throat or diarrhea, depending on where the infection is.
  • What Are The Symptoms? Gonorrhea in the throat will bring pain around the infected area and may produce a discharge from time to time. Gonorrhea in the anus may bring discharge or uncomfortable bowel movements. Gonorrhea in the urethra could produce yellow or white discharge from the penis or burning sensation when you go to the bathroom.
*Note: Some people may not even have symptoms at all, but typically all symptoms show within 2 – 10 days after being exposed
  • How Does It Spread? Unprotected sex, oral sex, skin-to-skin contact. Gonorrhea doesn’t require the contact of semen or blood to be get infected. Doctors say that if someone is going down on you, and they have gonorrhea in the throat, it can easily get transmitted down your urethra tube.
  • Is There A Cure? Yes. It can be treated by a antibiotics, but they come in no short supply. It will need to be injected in your muscles or by taking a bunch of pills.

Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria and can infect the urethra or anus. In some cases, it can infect the mouth or throat. Almost half of chlamydia-infected people have no symptoms, which makes it hard to diagnose. Because of this, it’s easier to spread to others without knowing it.
  • What Are The Symptoms? Yellow or white discharge (watery or thick) from the penis. You may have to pee more frequently, and may have a burning sensation when you go to the bathroom.
  • How Does It Spread? Chlamydia is spread through a man’s semen (also in pre-cum) either in unprotected sex or oral sex. It is NOT spread through hugging, shaking hands, sharing food/drinks, toilets, or touching anything an infected person may touch.
  • Is There A Cure? Yes. Once you get diagnosed, you can be prescribed antibiotics and the infection will clear.

HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that exists in the body which uses our T-Cells to multiply. T-Cells are the primary cells in our body which fight diseases and help keep our immune system strong. Over time, our T-Cells will begin to decline as HIV destroys them, limiting the chances of our body to heal itself from colds, flues, and other sicknesses.
When our T-Cells reach an all-time low (less than 200 cells per cubic centiliter of blood), HIV will turn to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), which means that our once healthy immune system will no longer be able to fight anything without proper medication.
  • What Are The Symptoms? Not long after you are infected with HIV, you may experience flu-like symptoms (though many people have said they’ve never experienced this). Other than that, there is usually not many signs that may warn you of an infection, though some say they have experienced weight loss, fatigue, and diarrhea.
  • How Does It Spread?  HIV is transferred through the blood, so minor cuts or sores in the mouth or on the body of someone who is infected may be dangerous, since all it takes is another open crevice for it to transmit. The most common act of transfer is unprotected sex and sharing needles. Though transmission through oral sex is rare, it’s a very real possibility due to unseen cuts, sores, or even recent dental work.
*Note: Wearing a condom is nearly 98% effective in spreading HIV. If you are sharing needles (whether it’s for drugs or medical use), it must be sanitized. Bleach and hot water are a good way to clean needles, same with syringes – except with syringes you need much more labor behind it.

Is There A Cure? No. After discovering that you have HIV, a doctor will run a series of blood tests to configure which treatments will be most effective for you. Without treatment, HIV can transition into AIDS in a matter of 8 – 10 years.

Don’t be afraid to get tested!
Here are two great sources for you to find the best HIV & STI testing centers near you:

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