Enjoy Sex, Play Safe!
Even though HIV is far less visible than it used to be, the number of gay men living with HIV is increasing. It may be easy to forget the problem, but the truth is that with increasing infection rates, HIV must remain at the forefront of our minds, and the safe-sex message reiterated, especially to the younger generation of gay men who missed out on the AIDS concious 80s.
That is why, we at TZENG HAO have made a conscientious decision to back the safe-sex campaign and prove how sex can be still unbelievably horny with condoms. This decision has been partly fueled by the huge boom in bareback porn which, alarmingly, seems to have become the norm in any gay DVD shop. And why not, its a very lucrative market so why should producers care, after all we’re all responsible adults able to make our own decisions… aren’t we?
Porn may only be a ‘fantasy’ but like any media, its power in influencing its audience is very real. Expose an audience to something enough and it will become normality. And it doesn’t hurt when the models in the movie are these hung, muscled guys fucking a perfectly clean bottom guy. Of course this may be a hot scenario but its nothing more than a glamorized fantasy. The reality would be closer to a drunken or drug-fueled messy encounter with an easy stranger, and at best a few weeks of constant worrying and regret.
HIV may not be the death sentence it once was, but it is by no means an easy existence. Apart from the health issues it is now illegal and punishable with prison in many countries like the UK and certain states in the USA for a positive man to infect a partner if they have not disclosed their HIV status.
Yes, condoms are not ideal, and we would love to be able to fuck without them but the truth is we can’t, not if we value our future. So before you decide to go ‘raw’, please ask yourself, “Do I trust this person with my life?”. Anyone can be HIV positive so lets just assume that everyone is.
Thank you for reading.
Enjoy Sex, Play Safe.
The Tzeng Hao Team
Getting tested if you think you could be infected is important – the earlier someone is diagnosed the more successful their treatment is likely to be and the less likely they are to pass the virus on to others.
Evidence shows that over 90 per cent of people show symptoms of HIV in the first few weeks after infection. Normally flu-like symptoms, it is easy to see how they can be missed. But three symptoms – a fever, a rash and a sore throat, all occurring together are actually unusual. If you’ve put yourself at risk recently these symptoms are clear warning signs you should get an HIV test.
The danger is that after these early symptoms, which disappear naturally after a couple of weeks, a person infected with HIV may have no symptoms for years. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be putting their health or partners’ health at risk. There is treatment today that means someone living with HIV can live a long life, but its success relies on starting treatment early. And without treatment people with HIV are more likely to infect others. Knowing your status also means you can start adapting your lifestyle to cope with living with a long-term condition– from doing more exercise or deciding how you might tell partners.
Even if you have no symptoms or don’t think you’ve put yourself at risk, all gay men should have an HIV test at least once a year. It’s all part of respecting and protecting yourself and each other. You can get an HIV test at your local sexual health clinic; the test is free and confidential.
New types of tests mean there is even less reason to wait. The old myth of a ‘three month window period’ is not true. The most current tests (the fourth generation assay test) available in many sexual health clinics can detect HIV within one month if infection.
Find out more and get involved at www.nat.org.uk/
To find your nearest Sexual Health Clinic for a HIV test visit www.fpa.org.uk/finder
Below are some links where you will be able to find safe sex & HIV related advice:
- General Advice & Information
- Gay Mens Health Charity
- www.stayingnegative.net.au (Australian Website)
- www.gaymenplaysafe.com (Canadian Website)
Risks of transmission
- AVERT www.avert.org/trans.htm
- NAM www.aidsmap.com