Speaking About Concerns Others Might Find Wrong or Taboo
Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me…..err no, just you actually. Coming to a sexual health clinic can be daunting; we know that. Admitting what you’ve been up to can be embarrassing. You may feel shame or guilt and worry about telling us all the facts; but please, don’t worry. The doctor or nurse you see may not seem the same as you – hey, some of us aren’t even gay men – but that doesn’t mean we won’t understand what you are talking about. We’re not here to judge and working in this field, we’re pretty hard to shock. All of us just want to help and to do this properly we need to know what you’ve been up to – warts and all!
Chances are you’ve probably had sex with more than one person. If you’ve been using chems you might not even know. In the heat of the moment you might not use condoms or know the HIV status of the person you’re fucking or who is fucking you. This is when you need to think about PEP (post exposure prophylaxis). If you don’t think about it at least come and see us and we can think about it for you.PEP is a course of treatment, taken for 28days which dramatically reduces your chance of acquiring HIV. But you MUST come and get it within 72 hours.Even better, get yourself on PrEP so you’re protected before you even leave home. PrEP isa medication, taken either daily or just around the time of sex, to prevent you catching HIV.It’s not currently available on the NHS so many people buy this online or direct from 56 Dean Street (http://dean.st/prepshop/). Further general info about PrEP can also be found at rhttp://i-base.info/guides/prep
Sharing Lube, Chems and Fisting
Having sex with multiple people puts you at increased of sexually transmitted infection.It’s logical, the more partners you have, the greater the chance one of them may have something. But also, prolonged sex can cause micro-trauma to the rectal tissues or penis. This means if you are exposed to an infection you have a greater chance of getting it. Multiple partners, fisting, sex on chems and sharing lube also put you at risk of Hepatitis C. We don’t routinely test everyone for Hep C in sexual health clinics so tell us if you think you’ve been put at risk.
We understand slamming and we know that many people slam recreationally; don’t be ashamed or worried to tell us if you do. If you’re slamming drugs, you need to be careful. Not only because of the effects of the drugs themselves but because of the problems associated. If you’re slamming yourself, or getting a friend to help you, it’s important to do this as safely as possible. Slamming incorrectly can lead to skin infections or abscesses or blood clots in the vein. Tell us if you’ve got issues related to slamming when you talk to us, we may not be able to help you directly but we can at least point you in the right direction of someone who can.
Don’t share the needles you slam with or re-use them on yourself. After just one use of the needle, it becomes blunted even if you can’t see it. Blunt needles can really damage your veins. The risk of transmitting infections is very high if you share needles. You can catch HIV, Syphilis, Hep B and Hep C if slamming. All MSM (men who have sex with men) should be offered Hep B vaccination. This is a course of three vaccines and will protect you from catching Hepatitis B. At our Chemsex support clinics http://dean.st/chemsex-support/ we can offer clean needles and take your old ones off you when you are seen for a consultation. Come and see us if you want help coming off, or managing your chems use.
Watersports, Scat and Rimming
You’re unlikely to catch any of the traditional STIs from watersports, scat play or rimming, but that doesn’t mean they are 100% safe. Hepatitis A and shigella can be contracted sexually. Shigella is a bacteria found in faeces (shit). If you ingest it during sex it can cause stomach aches, fever and watery or bloody diarrhoea, “the shits”. Unfortunately there’s no vaccine or way we can protect you so you need to tell us if you have these symptoms.
Hep A is a viral infection and can cause similar symptoms as well as giving you pain around the liver and turning your skin and eyes yellow. You can be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and currently Public Health England are recommending vaccination for MSM (men who have sex with men) against Hep A if you haven’t already been. Unfortunately national stock levels means this isn’t always possible. So when you visit your local sexual health clinic, be open with us, be honest with us andin return we won’t judge. After all, it’s good to talk…
Soho’s 56 Dean Street and Dean Street Express offer the full range of STI and HIV testing if you have symptoms or have been told that someone you have had sex with has an infection. Check out how the 56 Dean St team can help at www.dean.st
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