STI rates have been increasing among gay men in recent years. Untreated STIs are not only bad for your health, they also increase the chance of HIV transmission. 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.
While PrEP and undetectable viral load remain very effective tools in preventing HIV transmission even when there is an STI present, we don’t yet know how untreated STIs affect the likelihood of HIV transmission for guys who are already using these strategies.
Since STIs makes HIV transmission more likely, and they can also just be downright uncomfortable, getting tested and treated regularly is especially important.