STI rates have been increasing among gay men in recent years. Untreated STIs are not only bad for your health, they increase the chance of HIV transmission in some cases. So, what can you do about it?

While some STIs can be cured through treatment, others can only be managed. Either way, getting tested and treated regularly is key to your sexual health and is something that each of us can do to reduce rates of STIs in the community.

Having sex when you have an untreated STI increases the chance of HIV transmission, particularly through the area affected by the STI. For example, if you have an STI in your ass, then your body will fight that infection by sending a lot of immune cells to your ass. These are the cells HIV needs to enter in order to replicate. When there are more immune cells present, HIV has more opportunities to establish an infection. Some STIs can also cause lesions or sores that can act as a gateway for other infections.

PrEP, condoms, and undetectable viral load remain very effective tools in preventing HIV transmission even when there is an STI present, but for people who aren’t using these strategies, having an STI can make HIV transmission more likely. STIs can also just be downright uncomfortable. Getting tested and treated regularly is important. With the emergence of mpox in queer men’s sexual networks, we need to get vaccinated and keep an eye out for symptoms. Learn more about mpox here.

Preventing STIs

What can gay guys do to avoid acquiring and transmitting STIs?

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Testing for STIs

Getting tested for STIs might involve a few different tests. Getting tested regularly means you’ll be able to treat them as soon as possible.

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Treatment and Talking About STIs

Although there are lots of effective treatments for STIs, talking about them with sexual partners isn’t always easy.

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Testing for Trans Guys

Everyone’s testing routines look different, and there are a few things in particular that trans guys might want to think about when it comes to STI testing.

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Each year in Ontario we hear of increases in syphilis among guys into guys. Good thing there is something we can all do about it!

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