GAY AND BISEXUAL MEN'S SEXUAL HEALTH
In the U.S. during 2014, HIV infections attributed to male-to-male sexual contact accounted for 92% of diagnosed HIV infections among male adolescents and 92% of diagnosed HIV infections among young adult males. (CDC). Similarly, at least 75% of male Sailors and Marines diagnosed with HIV during 2016 reported sex with a man during the 12 months preceding their diagnosis. (NMCPHC, 2017).
National Gay Men's HIV-AIDS Awareness day is 27 September (AIDS.gov).
Telling Your Partners - If you do have an STI... How do you tell your partner?
If you have an STI, telling your sexual partner(s) is definitely the right thing to do. They need the same medicine you received. Your doctor or local Navy preventive medicine technician can work with you to get testing and treatment for your partners while protecting your privacy
Can't tell your partner face to face? Not sure what to say? For tips about phone, text and e-mail conversations, -- and an anonymous e-mail service -- check out SoTheyCanKnow.org.
Another, anonymous, way to "tell" via an E_CARD is InSpot.
Getting Tested for HIV
- CDC recommends that gay and bisexual men who are not in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship should be tested for HIV at least once each year. Talk with your doctor about HIV testing. Gay and bisexual men are at increased risk for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia, and CDC recommends that all sexually active gay and bisexual men be tested annually for these STIs.
- Free, confidential testing is available at military medical treatment facilities.
- Get more information at " Testing Us Makes Stronger"
- Find a Confidential HIV Test (HIVTest.org).
- Read about the FDA approved OraQuik In-Home HIV Test Kit
- If you learn you have HIV, it's important to tell your military doctor right away, so you can benefit from HIV care as soon as possible
- Never donate blood just to get an HIV test
About HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men
Each year, 85-100 active duty sailors and marines are infected with HIV – one every 4 days.
Men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly young, African-American MSM, are disproportionately affected by HIV. MSM make up only 2 percent of the total U.S. population, but account for 63 percent of all new HIV infections, according to statistics from the CDC (2010 data).
The risk - In the U.S., MSM are 44-86 times as likely to be diagnosed with HIV compared to men who have sex with women only. A recent study found that 1 in 5 (19%) MSM in 21 major US cities were infected with HIV, and nearly half (44%) were unaware of their infection.
Every person has:
- the right to protect your health.
- a responsibility to protect your health.
- a responsibility to protect your sexual partner.
- a role in ending the HIV epidemic in America.
There are three essential ways to reduce your risk:
- Don't have penetrative sex (anal, vaginal, or oral). People can express affection in other ways.
- Only have sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) if you're in a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner you KNOW has the same HIV status as you.
- Use - and insist that your partner uses - a condom every time you have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Correct use of a male latex condom - every time you have sex - greatly reduces your risk of getting HIV
Note - Unprotected receptive anal sex is the sexual behavior that carries the highest risk for getting HIV. For gay and bisexual men who have sex outside a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship, avoiding anal sex (especially receptive anal sex) may significantly decrease the risk of getting HIV (and some other sexually transmitted infections).
PEP: If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, ask a doctor promptly (within 72 hours) about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The CDC does not recommend taking PEP in the event of repeated unprotected sex with an HIV-positive partner because the side effects of the meds could put a strain on your immune system and make you more susceptible to HIV infection. Interested? Contact your local military health care provider.
PrEP: Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is a prevention option for people who are at high risk of getting HIV. It's meant to be used consistently, as a pill taken every day, and to be used with other prevention options such as condoms. Find out if PrEP is right for you. Interested? Contact your local military health care provider. If you are in the Portsmouth, VA area, call Naval Medical Center Portsmouth at 757-953-5179, Monday through Friday from 0730-1600.
Oral sex: The risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex is much lower than that of anal or vaginal sex. But oral sex is not risk-free. Oral sex can result in the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Withdrawal (pulling out before ejaculation) is much riskier than correct and consistent condom use for HIV prevention.
Living with HIV? If you are HIV-positive, tell potential sex partners about your HIV status before you have sex.