whats going on down there?
There are many identities that fall under the umbrella of Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) - including, but not limited to: bisexual, cis, curious, gay, male, non-binary, queer, questioning, straight, trans, two-spirit, and all other guys-who-like-guys.
For the sake of simplicity, we will use the acronym MSM in this topic.
For many MSM, sex is an important part of life. The MHI can supply you with the resources, information and education to maintain a fun and safer sex life.
Using condoms correctly and consistently can significantly reduce your chances of passing or getting HIV and other STIs. There are two types of condoms available. The external condom (sometimes known as the male condom) is a sheath made from polyurethane, latex or polyisoprene that covers the penis during sex. The internal condom (sometimes known as the insertive or female condom) is a pouch made of polyurethane or a synthetic latex material called nitrile that can be inserted into the vagina or anus.
PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is an option for those who are HIV-negative to prevent HIV. It typically involves taking one pill every day. While PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV, it does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis.
Undetectable = Untransmittable (U=U)
People in BC who have tested positive for HIV have medications available to them for free through the BC Centre for Excellence. As such, while on medications, these people can achieve and maintain an 'undetectable viral load' which has proven to not only help their health, put prevent the spread of HIV. Basically, a person living with HIV who is 'undetectable' cannot transmit HIV. However, exposure to other STIs is still a risk with unprotected sex.
The Government of Canada stand behind the science and statement of U=U, for more information visit preventionaccess.org.
PEP or NPEP
Non-occupational Post Exposure Prophylaxis can potentially prevent you from contracting HIV within 72 hours from being exposed . This is not 'safer sex' but it is option available at any hospital emergency room in BC.
For a full list of Emergency Centres in BC visit healthlinkbc.ca
HOMOPHOBIA, DISCRIMINATION & STIGMA
Access to MSM-friendly health services is an important component to men’s health. Fear of discrimination and homophobia has made it difficult for some men to disclose their sexual orientation, sexual practices and/or health concerns to their healthcare provider. This may seriously compromise the quality of care they receive.
Here are some suggestions for healthcare providers to help make their services more accessible to MSM:
- Avoid making assumptions about sexual orientation or behaviours of your patient. MSM are of all ages, cultures and backgrounds.
- Acknowledge that it takes a degree of trust for a man to disclose his identity or sexual behaviors to you. If you cannot support your patient’s identity, please refer them to a practitioner who can.
- Be aware that confidentiality may be a concern. Discuss documentation and access to records.
- Take an active role in educating yourself about gay men’s health.