HIV + STI Risk Reduction

Whether you consider yourself a top or a bottom (or versatile), single or in a relationship, it’s important to understand how to minimize your risk for getting or passing on HIV or STIs. While condoms continue to be the primary way of reducing risks for most gay and bisexual men, there are a variety of other tools and strategies that you should be aware of to help protect you and your partners.

What is PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)?

PEP is a tool that could prevent you from picking up HIV. It involves taking powerful anti-HIV drugs for four weeks and may involve side effects. PEP must be started as soon as possible after a risk incident. You must take PEP within 72 hours of exposure to HIV.

PEP is not a cure for HIV and is not guaranteed to work. The best way to avoid picking up HIV is to use condoms while having anal sex with a partner whose status you aren’t sure of.

When should I get PEP?

If you’ve had a high risk incident, such as:

> A broken condom or condomless anal sex with a guy who is HIV positive or whose status you aren’t sure of.

> Sharing injection needles.

> You may have been exposed to HIV. You should visit a pilot project site (see below), your doctor’s office, or the emergency room as quickly as possible.