So what does all this stuff about HIV have to do with you and your next hookup?
What is HIV anyway? HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
It can be transmitted from person to person. HIV is historically associated with social stigma, but that is slowly changing. HIV is transferred through blood, cum, pre-cum, ass fluids, vaginal fluids and breast milk. Other sexually transmitted infections make it easier for HIV infections to occur. HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, saliva or urine.
Acts that can cause HIV transmission include condomless anal sex, vaginal sex, oral sex and sharing sex toys. It's rare to acquire HIV through oral sex, but it's possible to transfer other sexually transmitted infections -- like syphillis and gonorrhea -- and these can make it easier to transmit or acquire the HIV virus.
The most common way to get HIV is through condomless anal sex, especially when bottoming, because the inner wall of the ass is very thin, so it can be easier for the virus to get into the immune system. HIV enters the cells that make up your immune system which plays an important role in keeping you healthy. HIV replicates, destroying these cells in the process and weakening the immune system. The virus can replicate very quickly if left untreated, and over time, untreated HIV can lead to serious health consequences, including AIDs. So if you have condomless sex, you should get tested regularly for HIV.
For a few weeks after infection, the virus may not show up on tests but the amount of HIV in the body is at it's highest -- and so is the likelihood of transmission to sexual partners. Some people experience flu-like symptoms or a rash during this time, but many people don't.
If you test positive for HIV, you should access HIV care as soon as possible. The medicines used to treat HIV are called antiretroviral therapy, or A.R.T.. If you take your medicines as prescribed, you can reduce the amount of HIV in your system, this keeps you healthy and reduces the likelihood of transmission.
There is still no cure for HIV, but with an early diagnosis and effective antiretroviral treatment, most guys living with HIV are able to live long and healthy lives.
When it comes to sexual transmission of HIV, there are tools available to reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission -- like condoms, PrEP, Undetectable Viral Load and knowing your HIV Status -- that can help you have the sex you want!
For more information on HIV prevention and treatment, visit TheSexYouWant.ca.
If you’re having sex, or you’re planning on it, knowing how HIV is transmitted can help you make decisions and give you peace of mind.