When we PnP we’re often using drugs and having sex with multiple partners. For this reason, it is important that we take care of our sexual health. This page has brief information about some strategies that you can use to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and look after your sexual health. Information on this page has been taken from Ending HIV and Trans Hub.
There are now several strategies that you can use to prevent HIV. These strategies when used in combination with frequent testing can help us end HIV transmission for all.
Condoms can prevent infected fluids passing from one person to another when fucking. Condoms can make sex safer by preventing the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). A good thing about condoms is that they can be used last minute or on the go. Condoms also prevent pregnancy. Read more about condoms on Ending HIV.
PrEP is an acronym that stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis. It involves HIV negative people taking drugs to protect them against HIV. When used as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective at preventing HIV. There is more information about prep for gay guys on Ending HIV and for trans people on Trans Hub.
Undetectable Viral Load means someone who has HIV has taken treatment and has reduced the amount of HIV in their blood to a level undetectable by tests. Not only does this improve their health but also means that they can’t pass on HIV during sex. There’s more information about this on Ending HIV.
PEP is a four-week treatment program that is taken after someone thinks they may have been exposed to HIV. If you have had sex with casual partners and you do not know if you used any of the risk reduction strategies listed above, you should start taking PEP within 72 hours of an unprotected sex event. To get PEP Contact your local sexual health clinic, hospital accident and emergency department or the PEP NSW hotline 1800 PEP NOW (1800 737 669). You can read more about PEP on Ending HIV.
Preventing other sexuality transmitted infections (STIs)
The best way to prevent STIs is by using barrier protections like condoms and gloves. It’s always important to use a new barrier with a different person or a different body part, e.g. Using a new condom when moving from anal to vaginal/front hole sex or using a new glove when putting your hand inside a different person.
This page on Ending HIV has a handy overview of the different sexually transmitted infections.
All about lube
Lube, which is short for lubricant, is a substance that reduces friction (making things more slippery). Lube is a tool in your kit that can make everybody’s sex better. Remember, sharing bottles of lube can carry a risk for hep C.
There are three main types of lube:
Water: The most common type of lube, water-based lube is much easier to clean up. It will be safe to use a good water-based lube with any toys, condoms or body parts, and comes in a range of consistencies (from watery to thick and gooey). Water based lube washes away easily, so isn’t recommended for any kind of play in water.
Silicone: Silicone lube is made from silicone and is not only very slippery, it sticks around a lot longer than water-based lube. Silicone lube is recommended for anal play or longer sessions, or for any play in the shower or bath (as it won’t dissolve in water). Silicone lube is safe to use with condoms but can cause silicone toys to degrade over time.
Oil: Oil based lubes are used for heavier play, including fisting and large insertion. Products like olive oil, coconut oil and shea butter are natural oil lubricants, but be careful as they can break down latex condoms, other barriers, and some toys. Oil based lube can also stick around in a vagina/front hole longer than it’s wanted and be an infection risk.
Free condoms and lube are available at many sexual health services, but it can be more difficult to find free gloves and dental dams.
ACON also mails out kits including gloves, condoms, lube and Viraclean to any LGBTQ+ person in NSW, if you get in touch.
Remember to test
Routine testing is important, not only because it allows you to know your HIV and hep C status, but also because most STIs don’t cause symptoms. A lot of cases of HIV transmission are from people who think they are HIV negative but have HIV and aren’t aware of it.
Testing guidelines recommend that if you’re having sex with multiple people, or if you’re partners are having sex with multiple people you should test every three months. If you’re only having sex with one or two people, or you and everyone you’re having sex with haven’t slept with anybody new in over 9 to 12 months, screening every 6 to 12 months is just fine. If you’re in a long-term relationship with one person, or a closed group of several people, you can test once per year.
Also in this section…
- Party and Play Peer Chat
- Party and Play Self-Reflection Resources
- Party and Play Drug Info
- Mixing Drugs and Safety
- Preparing for Party and Play
- Knowing your limits
- Injecting, shafting, smoking or snorting
- Hep C Prevention Testing & Treatment
- GHB Overdose
- Crystal Overdose
- Party and Play Emergencies
- Caring for each other
- Calling an ambulance
- Hook ups and safety
- Ensuring consent
- Responding to sexual assault
- Support for sexual assault