Sexually Transmitted Infections or (STIs) can be a common and unfortunate consequence of being a sexually active man. You can get them through close body contact (touch), and through exchanging bodily fluids, including cum, blood, mucus and spit.
Sucking, fucking, fingering, fisting, licking, sharing toys and some touching are all ways in which infections can be spread. But this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have fun, it just means we need to be smart about how we do it and to have the information to keep ourselves safe.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's) fall into four categories: Viruses, Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi. Each produces different symptoms and need different types of treatments.
Don’t stress. You just need to follow the straightforward advice to keep yourself and your partners safer and minimise the risks.
The advice is sound and has been the same for a long time but we are not all using it.
Data from 2014 shows that in the UK, approximately 9 gay men will test positive for HIV EVERY DAY, with the majority of them being London lads and that’s not even thinking about all the other STIs
It is estimated that there are 26,100 people living in the UK with HIV that don’t know it.
To keep yourself and your partners safer simply follow these basic steps and remember, no one is immune to catching an STI, peoples luck does sometimes run out:
1. Use Condoms - sick of hearing it you maybe, but the message hasn’t changed. Condoms are the most effective barrier to avoid getting another guys cum, blood, or shit near any of your bodily entrances, this includes arse, mouth, eyes. The most risky thing you can do is to bottom without a condom, this puts you at 7 times the risk for HIV!
If you are a Greenwich, Bexley or Medway resident you can order condoms for free
2. Test regularly at least every 3 - 6 months - detect STIs earlier rather than later, then either kill them or control them
3. More fucking = More testing: it’s simple the more people you have sex with, the more you need to test for STIs
If you are a Greenwich, Bexley or Medway resident you can order a home test kit which you can use to send samples back to us by post for testing. You'll get your results by text, or on our website, so you don't need to do anything more than just take the samples for us and put the kit in the post.
If you are not from the Greenwich, Bexley or Medway areas, here are the clinics you can visit for a STI test. METRO Pitstop clinic is a pretty good choice. It's an evening/weekend walk-in clinic at either Greenwich or Woolwich, for people who don't yet have any symptoms and it's specifically for gay, bisexual and trans people. Anyone can visit the clinic regardless of where they live or work. After testing, you'll get your results by text, (and also online if you register with this website), or will get a phone call asking you to call in for your results and any further advice you may need.
4. Know about PrEP. PrEP is a medication that negative guys can take to prevent HIV from entering the body - to learn more about PrEP check out the link to our Health and Wellbeing page.
5. Know about PEP. PEP is a medication that can be taken up to 72 hours after exposure to help prevent you contracting HIV – The sooner you get PEP, the better chance it has of working. PEP is available at GUM clinics and A&E departments.
6. Get your partner/s tested – Love doesn’t stop STIs, a lot of guys contract HIV and other STIs from partners they love and care about. Roughly 1 in 3 guys with HIV believe they caught it from their boyfriend. Your heart can be dumb – use your head (the one on top of your neck) and get your partner/s tested before you decide to ditch condoms. Even then, remember, he may not have the same ideas about monogamy that you do.
Some STIs will be ‘in your face’ and there is no avoiding that something ain’t right down there – while others will silently do damage behind the scenes without you even knowing they are there AND allowing you to infect other people at the same time.
This is why you need to test regularly for STIs, even if you have no obvious symptoms.
Generally speaking the longer you have an STI and don’t do anything about it, the worse it’s going get. Kill them or control them to minimise the risks for you and all your partners.
Symptoms can include:
- Dribbly willy, any smelly cloudy or yellow discharge coming from your dick or pain when you pee
- Any blisters, sores, warts, itchiness, rashes, lumps, or bumps around your dick and arse
- Fever, swollen glands (especially in your groin), flu-like symptoms.
Don’t self diagnose – just get tested as soon as you have any concerns or if you know you have been exposed to risk.
If something doesn’t seem right, don’t worry yourself sick over it, just go and get it checked out.
If you have symptoms go to a GUM clinic to get it checked out
Time periods between the time when you have sex and potentially contract an STI to the point where they become detectable by a health screening are called Window Periods. These time periods vary depending on the type of infection you may have contracted.
Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea
Normally this infection can be detected in your urine, throat or arse after 2 weeks
This infection is normally detectable in your blood after 4 weeks (although if you have been exposed during the last 72hrs, you need to go to a GUM Sexual Health clinic or to Accident & Emergency and get PEP immediately).
We recommend you test about 6 weeks after you believe you may have been infected with Hepatitis B, again this is by blood test. Hepatitis B is preventable by vaccination and we offer this service in our Pitstop Walk-In Clinic on Wednesday evenings.
After 6 to 12 weeks, Hepatitis C infection can be detected in your blood samples.
Blood tests for Syphilis infection are most reliable after 12 weeks has elapsed, beyond the point where you became infected.