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MSM Fact sheets – HIV and STIs

In recent years there has seen an increase in rates of STI’s like Syphilis and Chlamydia among Black MSM and particularly among those who are already HIV positive. However, the vast majority of literature addressing sexual health and MSM is focused on HIV/AIDS. While this focus remains crucial, the majority of MSM are not HIV positive, and require culturally competent sexual health and wellness services. 

Your healthcare provider can offer you the best care if you discuss your sexual history openly. You should have a provider you are comfortable with Some STIs (like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis) can be treated with medication. If you believe you are at risk for contracting HIV or other STIs please get tested. (insert link: http://sexualhealthontario.ca/find-a-clinic/) 

Risk Factors

  • Homophobia, stigma, and discrimination can negatively influence the health of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men.
  • Certain behaviors such as not using condoms regularly and having anal sex increase the risk of HIV and STI’s.
  • MSM who engage in anal sex, especially those who are HIV positive, are at risk for contracting HPV, which contributes to the development of anal cancer.
  • Due to the focus on HIV, some MSM may not be aware that unprotected oral sex, which has a low risk of HIV transmission, can still be a source of other STIs, including syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes.
  • MSM are at greater risk for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and the human papillomavirus (HPV)

Safe(r) Choices

  • Use a condom correctly and use one every time you have sex.
  • If you know your STI status you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners.
  • Think twice about mixing alcohol and/or recreational drugs with sex. They can reduce your ability to make good decisions and can lead to risky behavior—like having sex without a condom.
  • It is important to remember that you are at risk for the same or a new STI every time you have condomless sex.
  • If you are diagnosed or fee that you are at risk, your partner should be tested and treated, too.
  • If you are ever treated for an STI, be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better.
  • That’s why you should be vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is also recommended for men up to age 26.

Adapted from http://www.rainbowhealthontario.ca/admin/contentEngine/contentDocuments/Sexual_health.pdf