Community health centre

A Checkpoint is a health centre for gay and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The Checkpoints Vaud and Zürich also counsel transgender people and their partners.

Questions about risks

How can I recognise the HIV status of my sexual partners?

An HIV status is not so easily detected. You alone are responsible for your health; do not rely on others! Even if you are in a relationship don’t wait for your partner to tell you about his HIV status and that you should protect yourself. A lot of the time the partners themselves don’t know and can’t or don’t want to tell because they are afraid of destroying the relationship.

How do I know that I’m HIV positive

With an HIV test.

If you have had an unprotected sexual contact; antigen and antibody tests can determine whether you have become infected roughly two weeks after the risk situation. If the test turns out to be negative, it should be repeated again to be on the safe side, 3 months, at the latest, after the risk situation.

The fact is: you are only HIV negative for sure, if you have not entered a risk situation during the three months before the test and up until the result. The same goes for your sexual partner. Because one is highly infectious in the first weeks after infection (→ primary infection), many infections occur among men who believe that they are HIV negative.

It is for this reason that it is very dangerous to have unprotected intercourse with someone who claims he is HIV negative. Especially those who have had unprotected intercourse with others who have claimed to be HIV negative.

I have fucked without a condom or the condom burst,; do I now have to wait for three months before I can do anything?

No! Depending on the situation there are the following possibilities:

Within 48 hours

The faster you react the better! Regardless of whether it’s day or night; go immediately to a Checkpoint or the nearest hospital. Within 48 hours after the risk situation there is a possibility of taking a PEP (Post-exposure prophylaxis). Here; a medicinal therapy must be absolved for a month, similar to the therapy of people who are HIV positive.

After the 15th day

From the 15th day, after the risk situation, you can take an HIV test. Positive results of an HIV test are very reliable. However, in the case of a negative result, a further test should be carried out after 3 months to confirm this.

I am afraid that I have been infected but I don’t dare to have a test. What should I do?

Living with fear and doubt is not worth it! The antiretroviral therapy (ART) medication has markedly improved over the years and makes it possible for you to lead a healthy life with a normal life expectancy. It is for this reason that you should be interested in maintaining your health and to have regular HIV and STI tests. If you are aware of your HIV status you can also protect your partner better.

Does medication cure the HIV infection?

No.

An HIV therapy only prevents the virus from multiplying and developing itself further. People with HIV undergoing a functioning HIV therapy have a quality of life and a similar life expectancy to that of the general population.

Is the risk of being infected smaller if one is active when fucking?

Yes, the risk is lessened. If you fuck without a condom the risk of infection is less high than if you are being fucked. The risk of infection, though, is high nevertheless. Many exclusively active gays have been infected with HIV. Active or passive is therefore no criterion in assessing the risk, not to mention reaching a conclusion about one’s own behaviour.

Can I become infected with HIV if someone doesn’t come inside me?

Yes.

Not having sperm in the anus does indeed reduce the risk but does not eliminate it. You can also be infected with HIV even if your partner does not ejaculate.

Is it dangerous to give my partner a blow-job? And what if pre-ejaculatory fluid enters the mouth?

No.

If your partner doesn’t come in your mouth, you can give him a blow-job without any risk. The viral count, in pre-ejaculatory fluid, is too low for one to to become infected. Receiving a blow-job is also without risk.

Is my partner taking a risk, if I am HIV positive, undergoing therapy, do not have a detectable viral load and he doesn’t use a condom?

No, not within the framework of a faithful relationship and under the following conditions:

  • ART medication is taken conistently and as prescribed
  • the viral load has not been detectable for a least 6 months
  • no other STI’s are present
Is it true that circumcision minimalises the infection risk?

Yes, but only for the active partner. Various studies among heterosexuals have shown, that the risk is reduced by up to 60%. This is, however, no free ticket to refrain from safer sex.

Are there pills or gels which can replace a condom?

No.

Research is working on such products but none of these have proven to be effective enough.

Bareback (BB)

Basically the term barebacking is used amongst men who have intercourse without a condom. Bareback does not however encompass all types of unprotected intercourse, for example in a stable relationship, rather more the strong desire to fuck without a condom. This practice can, under the circumstances, carry with it a high infection risk.

A lot of gay and bisexual men, who for the most part protect themselves, have now and then the desire to have sex without a condom. In the end, they are exposing themselves to risks in a strongly affected group: 15% of gays in Switzerland are HIV positive, one should not forget that!

Discuss this with your doctor or the doctor at Checkpoint.

• «As seen on television»

The development of porn films in past years really mirrors the sexual fantasies of homosexual eroticism. The trend in refraining from using a condom is very widespread. This is why high-risk practices are staged so that sperm is ejaculated inside the mouth and the arse without interruption.

Now though, all studies show that sexual risks among gay and bisexual men are on the rise, that the epidemic is progressing and that, in the end, the practices shown in porn films are not well advised.

You accept the consquences of a risk, because…

You don’t think that HIV is so bad.

If you are HIV negative…

The HI virus stays in the body of the infected person forever. The therapy only prevents the multiplication of the virus. Side effects such as diarrohea, tiredness, lipodystrophy, depression etc. can be very debilitating. The risks to your health should not be underestimated! Added to this, according to the current level of knowledge, medication must be taken for a lifetime.

If you are HIV positive…

You underestimate the danger of other STI’s (Syphilis, Tripper, Hepatitis C, etc.), which in the case of an existing HIV infection, can become more acute and which are more difficult to treat.

You renounce «forced prevention» condoms and lubricants and you accept bareback…

Unfortunately only condoms can be used, with lubricants which are water or silicone based, in order to be protected from HIV and other STI’s.

An epidemic cannot be contained if people do not actively contribute. If you have sex without a condom, you are effectively contributing, directly, to the spread of the virus.

If you are HIV negative…

You risk being infected with the HI virus and having to take strong medication all your life. You also risk coming into contact with other STI’s, which will have a detrimental effect on you and which facilitate the transmission of the HI virus.

If you are HIV positive…

You risk infecting someone with HIV, coming into contact with other STI’s and thereby weaken your own immune system.