Prevent, Test, Treat and Enjoy!
Page last reviewed 17.1.2022
Three ways to take care of your sexual health and then enjoy sex even more
PrEP is effective way to prevent HIV infection. Prep is aimed at people who are HIV negative and more at risk of HIV infection. Prep is a preventive medicine that needs to be taken before being exposed to HIV. Prep does not give protection against other STIs. Prep can be taken daily or “on demand”. Prep treatment should always be under doctor’s supervision including HIV and other STI tests every three months.
Prep does not protect you from other STIs. “Use a condom” has been heard over and over again but it is still relevant. Condom is still the most efficient way to prevent STIs. There are many types of condoms: different sizes, shapes, materials etc. Finding one that fits and matches your preferences is an important step for safe and pleasurable sex. In anal intercourse water or silicone-based lubricant should always be used with a condom. It prevents the condom from breaking and makes sex more enjoyable.
Testing is a very important part of preventing HIV and other STIs. All the STIs including HIV can be without symptoms, so only way to find out if you have been infected is to get tested.
When you get tested, you should mention what kind of sex you have had so that you get tested right and the samples are taken correctly for STIs. In case of chlamydia and gonorrhea, you need a urine sample, a throat swab or/and an anal swab depending the way you have had sex. HIV and syphilis tests are taken from blood samples. Make sure you get tested and treated correctly.
If you have been infected with an STI, it is important to get treatment. Most of the STIs are curable and all are treatable.
People living with HIV should have HIV treatment. HIV medication is called antiretroviral therapy, or ART. Taking ART means that people living with HIV can live healthy and long lives. If taken HIV medication as prescribed, it reduces the amount of HIV in the body (viral load) to a very low level, which keeps the immune system working and prevents illness. With effective treatment and regular monitoring the body can suppress HIV to an undetectable level – meaning HIV is not affecting person´s health and there is no risk of transmission. People on effective HIV treatment cannot pass on the virus!
And most of all, enjoy having sex!
The reason to have sex for the majority of the people is to get pleasure and enjoyment. There is no simple answer to a question: how to enjoy sex? But we believe that the more people have knowledge and tools to take care of their sexual health less they have stress and anxiety affecting their sexlife. You can decide which one is the best way for you to protect yourself against HIV and STIs. Enjoy!
About HIV and other STIs
STIs are infectious diseases which are transmitted through sexual contact. STIs can be transmitted in both anal sex and oral sex if a condom is not used. Other STIs are much more common and easily transmitted than HIV, but it’s good to be aware of the fact that HIV is more common among gay and bisexual men than among other people.
The highest risk of HIV is in anal sex without condom. In oral sex, the one who performs it and has a possibility of getting sperm in their mouth has a small possibility of HIV transmission. Other STIs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) can be transmitted in both anal and oral sex (including rimming). Hepatitis C can be transmitted if there’s bleeding during unprotected anal sex. You can read more about HIV here and other STIs here.
STIs may remain asymptomatic for years, but they can nevertheless be transmitted.
Left untreated, STIs can lead to various kinds of complications, such as infertility (both in men and women), different kinds of infections and joint problems. It is important to test and treat sex partners as well. An untreated STIs significantly increases the risk of HIV transmission.
If you have had unprotected sex and you want to know whether you have an STI or if you have developed symptoms, get yourself tested.