Three Reasons Gay Guys Are More Likely To Contract HIV
As a gay or bi guy, you’re much more likely to acquire HIV through unprotected sex than your average straight guy. Ever wondered why?
Here's why gay & bi men are over represented in HIV diagnoses in Aotearoa.
1. It’s much easier to get HIV from anal sex
It’s been scientifically proven that anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex when it comes to HIV. Eighteen times riskier to be exact. There are two reasons for this. First, the cells in the ass are much more susceptible to HIV than cells in the vagina. Second, both semen and rectal mucosa (the lining of the ass) carry more HIV than vaginal fluid. Combine this with the fact that gay and bi guys have much more anal sex than straight guys, and you’ve got yourself a lot more risk right there.
2. There are already a lot of gay and bi Kiwis living with HIV.
In a recent Auckland study, 1 in 15 gay and bi guys were found to be living with HIV. So, if you’re a guy hooking up with other guys, you’re more likely to meet someone who is living with HIV.
It's important to understand that having sex with someone living with HIV isn't the issue - because if they know they're living with the virus, chances are high that they're on treatment and have an undetectable viral load. This means HIV can't pass on through sex. If they don't have an undetectable viral load, you can protect yourself by using condoms or taking PrEP.
According to that same study mentioned above, there’s a 20 percent chance that a person living with HIV in Aotearoa doesn’t know it yet. This is where the risk of HIV transmission lies, and is why it's so important to protect yourself with condoms and PrEP.
Statistically, it's safer to have condomless sex with someone who is living with HIV and has an undetectable viral load, than it is to have condomless sex with someone who says they're HIV negative, but hasn't tested recently.
3. We’re more closely connected than you might think.
The reality is that there are fewer gay and bi guys than there are straight men and women. So when you’re meeting a guy for casual sex, the pool of people you have to choose from is smaller.
This makes gay and bi guys much more closely connected, sexually, than the rest of the population. It also allows HIV and other STIs to spread quickly among us.
Now go get tested!
Knowing your HIV status means you can get access to treatment and support, as well as prevent yourself passing it on to others.
Using condoms and lube every time you have anal sex is the most wide-spread, effective method we have to prevent HIV. The more times you have anal sex without condoms, the more often you should test.
If you find you can't consistently use condoms, you should be taking PrEP.
Book a free and confidential HIV rapid test, with results in 20 minutes.