Gay Men’s Health and PrEP during the COVID-19 Pandemic
In June, the Australasian Society for HIV, viral hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) released some harm reduction approaches to casual sex during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The approaches are merely suggestions around how to reduce the risk of contracting or passing on COVID-19 during sexual activity. Harm reduction is exactly as it sounds – it doesn’t completely make your risk zero. For your risk to be zero you would need to step into your Hazmat suit before you get Jiggy with it!
We all have different levels of tolerance for risk – we are humans, and we are made up differently. For men who identify as gay, and for other men who have sex with men, another area where there are different harm reduction strategies adopted is with regards to Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). One of the newer strategies available PrEP, which involves HIV negative people taking HIV medication to help prevent contracting HIV. It’s not for everyone, but it is proving an effective tool for some people in preventing HIV infection.
Another important preventative strategy against STIs is being tested for them even when you don’t have symptoms. This is important because a lot of STIs don’t cause any symptoms.
Both PrEP prescribing and STI screening generally takes place in General Practice here in Australia and during the COVID-19 Pandemic we will continue to provide this important service.
Dr Tim Staunton Smith MBBS, FRACGP, MPH
Ph: 9077 9912 Fax: 9077 9695