BAREBACKING: KNOW YOUR RISKS, CHOOSE YOUR RISKS
Some things you should thinking about before choosing to bareback
Every sexually active person needs to be aware that he is always at risk when having sex—sometimes small, sometimes large. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to give up sex, you just have to be aware and take control of your health. The following are some quick points to be aware of when you are getting ready to jump in the sack with that sexy someone.
Condoms are no guarantee
- Condoms can break or come off but, at the same time, they significantly lower your risk of getting or passing on HIV. To reduce the risk of condoms breaking, make sure you’re using new condoms and a fresh (unused) one every time you have sex.
If you don’t have HIV, you can’t pass it on
- In order for HIV to be passed during sex, one of the people involved has to already have it. If your partner or partners do not have HIV and you don’t have HIV, you can’t get it by fucking, even without a condom.
- If you or your partner(s) think you might have been exposed to HIV for whatever reason, the only way to know for sure is to get tested for HIV and to do so more than once.
Every new partner presents a new risk
- The more people you have sex with, the greater your chances of getting HIV. Get tested before sleeping with a new partner.
It is safer to give than to receive
- Studies have shown that it is safer for the person with HIV to bottom than to top as it is more difficult to pass on HIV bottom to top. However, this is no guarantee, and transmission can still happen.
A gentle wet fuck vs. a hard dry fuck
- Gentle anal sex with lots of lube reduces HIV infection if you have no condom.
- Rough anal sex with a condom reduces HIV infection.
- Using lots of lube and a condom reduces the risk of HIV infection no matter how gentle or rough anal sex is.
Cumming outside is safer than inside
- Cumming outside a person's ass or mouth will reduce risk of HIV infection.
- Pre-cum can still carry enough HIV to infect a person.
Clean equipment lowers your risk
- Keeping your dick, ass, and sex toys clean will lower your risk.
- Washing up before and after will also help lower your risk.
- Use care when using enemas or male douches; these can tear the anal lining making it easier to get HIV.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increase your HIV risk
- If one partner has an STI and the other has HIV, the risk to both of you is quite high.
- Having an STI makes getting HIV easier.
- HIV can advance very quickly if one catches an STI.
HIV with a high viral load creates easier transmission
- However, HIV can be transmitted at any level of viral load.
Talk to the Guy
Your most effective tool in managing your risk is your voice. Talk to him. Even if it is a casual or one-time encounter you can still tell him your limits and ask him about his. If the one night stand grows into something more—a regular fuck-buddy, steady boyfriend, or something else—talking about your limits once makes it easier to do so again. You can explore new things or take another look at old things. There is no law saying that your limits can’t change, even mid-fuck. Respect yourself by respecting your own limits.
Condoms and the “ick” factor
You may be unconcerned about HIV or STIs if you and your partner(s) test negative. However, the Ick Factor is another reason to slip on a condom. Despite what you see in pornos, anal sex is not neat and clean. Porn star bottoms douche heavily before an anal scene is filmed. Using a condom makes cleaning up after sex much quicker. A condom will keep your dick fairly clean of shit. You will still need to wash up afterwards, but it will be much easier to do so.
Be up front with him
Adding a few extra inches or subtracting a few on your chat room profile is one thing, not being honest about your HIV/STI status is another. It puts you and your partner(s) at risk. Controlling your risks means being ready to say what you need to say and ready to hear what they have to say to you.
HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO) states that, if there is a “realistic possibility” that you will pass on HIV to your sex partner during sex, you have a legal duty to tell your sex partner that you have HIV before you have sex. The criminal law about HIV non-disclosure is strict and the consequences can be severe. Refer to their pamphlet, “HIV disclosure: a legal guide for gay men in Canada” for more information.
In general, weigh all of the risks and then choose which ones you do and no not want to take. See the following resources for more information.