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I'm a gay man and have several sexual partners, some regular and some just one night stands. I've learnt how to use condoms but they never feel good. Neither me nor any of my partners use them. Are there any other ways we can reduce our risk of getting HIV?

Hi

One way you can reduce your chances of getting HIV is by having different types of sex. For example in regard to HIV risk, having unprotected oral sex is much safer than having unprotected rectal sex. Have a look at our “Know your chances” web page, it provides information on your chances of getting or passing an STI depending on how you are having sex.

PREP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is another way to reduce HIV risk. Prep is when someone without HIV takes HIV medication everyday to reduce the chance of having it pass to them. The only problem with PREP in Canada, is that the medication has not been approved to be used this way, which means many doctors are not comfortable prescribing it. It is also not covered by the provincial medical plan which means you would need to pay for the approximate $900 per month unless you have extended medical insurance that will cover the cost. For additional information have a look at the Health Initiative for Men (HIM) website on PREP. They have detailed information about its use in Canada.

Having certain STI like syphilis could increase your chances of HIV passing to you. Given that many STI do not show symptoms we recommend that people go for regular STI and HIV testing. Have a look at the HIM website for testing guidelines and test reminder.

Sometimes it can be easier to talk with someone in person about your individual situation in regard to lowering your risk of having HIV pass to you. They could help you explore what method would work best for you. HIM has clinics in Vancouver, New West, Surrey and Abbotsford. Have a look at their website for clinic details.

If you’re not in the Lower Mainland you can always have a look at our clinic finder for a clinic in your area.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

This answer was posted on October 22, 2015

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