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FS119_COVER.qxd:FS 17/07/2010 11:20 Page 2

North West

ThE FIT anD SEXY gaY Mag ISSUE #119 SUMMER 2010

Down but not out

Find out how to beat depression

Pick me up, Scotty

Discover the secrets of the GMFA cruising course

6

ThIngS YOU ShOULD knOw abOUT hIV

SORT OUT YOUR

SEX LIFE

Find out how inside

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“I slept wIth my best mate’s boyfrIend and now I have hIv” meet davey wavey


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FS119_P03_INTRO.qxd:FS 17/07/2010 11:26 Page 3

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the fIt and sexy gay mag Issue #119 summer 2010

Welcome Calling all hIV-positive guys... Here at GMFA HQ. we are currently working on a very special feature for an upcoming issue. We are looking for HIV-positive guys of all ages to share their experiences of living with the virus. Every year there are more and more gay men in the UK who are living with HIV, but at the same time more and more gay guys are reporting that they don’t know anyone who is HIV-positive.This feature will tackle the issues of HIV invisibility and stigma. We want to find out how they affect all of us and uncover the role they play in the spread of the virus.You will be asked to take part in a short interview and if you are willing, a quick photo shoot. Are you up for it? If so, email fsmag@gmfa.org.uk to let us know you are interested. Meanwhile, enjoy this issue!

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Cary James x Editor Do you think you’ve got what it takes to write for FS? If so email fsmag@gmfa.org.uk to find out how to apply to be a freelance writer for the mag. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fsmag. Come on... do it now!

Brought to you by

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FS119_P05_Upfront:FS 17/07/2010 11:30 Page 6

Images: www.breaktheillusion.com

Upfront

We love Davey Wavey! In case you haven’t discovered him yet, Davey Wavey is a super-hot gay blogger and fitness guru who has definitely won our hearts. Could it be because he has such a positive attitude towards life, that he gives such good advice, or because he never seems to have a shirt on? Well, we reckon it’s probably a combination of the three. You can find his blog at www.breaktheillusion.com and of course he also has a YouTube channel and the rest of all those internetty things you need these days. Check him out.

Need something to do? EMIS is the largest ever survey of gay men in Europe. It asks questions about your relationships, sex life, the risks you may take when you are having sex, how you protect yourself against HIV and other STIs, and your use of health services. One of the goals is to see whether gay men and other men who have sex with men have access to HIV testing and what they need to protect themselves from HIV. The information collected can be used to show the needs of gay men and how they can be met. It does take a few minutes to do, but it’s strangely entertaining as well.

To be part of it visit http://tinyurl.com/fsmag-emis. [Sorry, we won’t be able to arrange for our tasty model to fill it in for you.]

www.gmfa.org.uk

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FS119_P06-07_page 6half:FS 17/07/2010 11:31 Page 6

Page six Six things you should know a

1

Almost all gay men who have HIV caught it from fucking without a condom. The more times you put yourself at risk, the more chances you have of catching HIV.

2

There are more gay men living with HIV now than ever before. Every year more men are infected with the virus and the success of anti-HIV drugs means that far fewer men are dying from the disease nowadays. So if you are having sex with different sexual partners, chances are you will encounter more men with HIV every year, whether you know it or not.

3

You can’t get HIV from having your cock sucked by an HIV-positive guy. There is a small but real risk of catching HIV if you are the one doing the sucking, especially if an HIV-positive guy cums in your mouth.

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FS119_P06-07_page 6half:FS 17/07/2010 11:32 Page 7

w about HIV

4 5 6

Getting fucked by someone with HIV without a condom and him cumming inside you is the riskiest sex you can have when it comes to HIV, but there is also a high risk if you are the one doing the fucking.

One in four people with HIV don’t know they have it. That means that even though someone believes he is HIV-negative, he may actually have the virus. If you have risky sex, you could put yourself or your sexual partners at risk without even knowing it.

You are better off knowing if you have HIV. Around a quarter of HIV deaths in the UK each year are among people who didn’t know they had HIV until they were sick, and it was too late. Having an HIV test means that you can make informed decisions about your health that could save your life.

For more information, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.

Never miss FS again! Don’t you hate it when you miss an issue of FS? We’ll make sure that never happens again... Just email your name and email address to fsmag@gmfa.org.uk or join us on Facebook. We’ll let you know when the next issue is available online and other cool stuff.

Do it Now! www.gmfa.org.uk

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FS119_P24_Groupwork:FS 17/07/2010 11:40 Page 9

Health

Get some cruise control GMFA’s Confident Cruising course will help you pick up guys as easily as catching a cold. We talk to course creator Barrie Dwyer to get the scoop... Can you really learn to cruise better? Of course you can. No one has inbuilt cruising skills. You had to teach yourself how to do it in the first place, so you can always improve on those skills. Think back to the guys who have cruised you. The guys who have more confidence when they are cruising are the guys you respond to. You probably don’t even notice the guys without much confidence who are cruising you. Can anyone really learn it? Yes, anyone can learn how to do it. Cruising is all about finding out if the other bloke is attracted to you, and you’ll never know that until you try. Don’t let your fears about not being attractive get in the way of other men finding you attractive. What is the secret to confident cruising? Being aware of the signals that other blokes are giving you, and not thinking they are mad or meant for someone else. Having the understanding that sometimes you will be successful and sometimes you won’t, and that if you don’t get lucky it’s not going to kill you. You need to try or you are never going to be successful. You can stand around all night waiting for someone else to make the first move, but if everyone does the same thing then what is likely to happen? Nothing.

“Ifyou don’tg et lucky goingit’snot tokill you.”

How do you gain these skills on the course? The course teaches you a method that helps you to turn round any bad or unhelpful thoughts you have, either about yourself or the situation (i.e. cruising someone) so that you can be more positive and confident. You’ll also learn and practise an easier way of chatting with people and continuing conversations. What’s an example of one of the exercises from the day? In one exercise, we ask you to imagine you are at a party and have to find out a couple of things from the other guys about themselves. Afterwards, everyone shares how easy or difficult this was for them. The facilitators then take you through some useful information and tips about beginning and continuing conversations, and then you go back to the party to put those tips into practice and see the difference they make. What kinds of guys go on the course? All sorts, from blokes just out of long-term relationships going back on to the scene, via guys just coming out, to guys who have been on the scene for a while and want to improve their skills. Have a look around the bar the next time you are out. Those are the kind of guys that go on the course. How would you sum the course up in one sentence? A fun, intelligent and thought-provoking way to help you increase your confidence and your cruising skills. The Confident Cruising course is on a national tour starting in September. For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/national.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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FS119_Cover Story:FS 17/07/2010 11:53 Page 10

Coverstory

Is your sex lIfe workIng for you? Three guys reveal all about about their sex lives and HIV expert and professional counsellor Andrew McDonald gives his advice on what they are up to.

Jamie is 19 and from Essex: “I still live in Essex with my mum and dad but come into London almost every weekend. I love it. My friends say I am a bit of a tart because I snog a lot of guys when we go out, which I do, but I don’t have sex with all of them. I probably have a proper shag once or twice a month. It can be tricky since we obviously can’t go back to my place. I always try to use condoms. If a guy asked me to shag without condoms, I would say no. But sometimes you just get carried away, you don’t want to stop and go through the whole condom business. Sometimes

I feel bad afterwards, sometimes I don’t. I don’t know anyone with HIV, although I know lots of people do. I’ve never had sex with anyone who has it. It’s like I know lots of people get other things like gonorrhoea, but I never have. I don’t want to catch anything, but if it happens I guess I will deal with it. I think going to a clinic would be embarrassing and I wouldn’t do it unless I thought I had something. Until then, I am just enjoying myself.”

Andrew McDonald says: Obviously nobody wants to catch anything, but the strategy “I don’t want to stop and go through the whole condom business” is not a good one in the long run. Having a clear strategy when it comes to sex makes it easier to cope with those difficult times when you'd rather not talk about it and you allow yourself to take

“Mymates sayIam abitofatart because Isnogalot ofguys”

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“Sometimesyou justgetcarried away,youdon’t wanttostop.”


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Coverstory

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www.gmfa.org.uk

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unnecessary risks. You wouldn't just suddenly jump out of a plane without a parachute because you got carried away in the moment, would you? The same applies to the belief that Jamie has that he has never had sex with someone who has HIV. Perhaps he thinks he’s never sat next to anyone on a train with diabetes or the flu, but he probably has. You can still enjoy sex without putting yourself at risk. Always wear condoms and don't assume that everyone you have sex with is telling you their whole life story, or even knows whether or not they have HIV or another STI.

FastFacts: Almost all gay men with HIV caught it from fucking without condoms. Since few people die from HIV/AIDS in the UK any more, every year there are more men around with HIV, so you are more likely to sleep with someone with HIV if you are having sex with lots of guys. Waiting until you have symptoms of an STI before you go to the clinic means that the damage may have already been done. Regular check-ups are the best way to take care of yourself. If you do have HIV, the sooner you know the better. If you wait until you are sick, you increase your chances of serious medical problems or even death. If you are shagging different guys, get tested every six months to be sure you’re in good health.

“Always wearcondoms anddon'tassume thateveryoneyou havesexwithis tellingyoutheir wholelife story.”

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Coverstory

“Iamusually atopsoit’sno bigdeal.” Danny is 23 and from Manchester: “I have been working as an escort for about a year. I don’t mind it really although sometimes it can be hard. Most of the guys are nice and clean, but sometimes they aren’t. I have had mates that have had some trouble. Luckily nothing has happened to me that I “Itrytogo couldn’t getcheckedover handle. I attheclinicevery always use condoms coupleofmonths when I am butsometimesI working, forget.Idon’thave even for oral. It’s betHIVandIdon’t ter than wantit.” catching gonorrhoea in my throat or in my cock and not being able to work, which has happened to me before. Some clients don’t like it, but I don’t really care. They wouldn’t thank me if they caught an STI from me, would they? Outside work, I tend to go for scally types my own age – so fucking horny. I usually use condoms with shags, but if they look clean and healthy, I have fucked without them. I am usually a top so it’s no big deal. I try to go get checked over at the clinic every couple of months, but sometimes I forget. I don’t have HIV and I don’t want it. The condom broke with a client once after he came inside me and he told me he had HIV. I totally freaked out and had to wait three months to know if I was in the clear.”

Andrew McDonald says:

t

Working as an escort is a risky business when it comes to STIs and HIV, and Danny is right to insist on always using condoms. But why would you treat the other guys you shag any differently? Most people with HIV or other STIs look “nice and clean” and won’t have any signs that they are infected. Though being the top

www.gmfa.org.uk

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Coverstory may be slightly less risky, there is still a very big risk of catching HIV as well as other nasty things like gonorrhoea or syphilis. Most kinds of sex can be low risk if you take the right precautions, like using condoms and lube for fucking. By the way, saying that people who are HIVnegative are “nice and clean” suggests that men with HIV aren’t, which is rather insulting.

FastFacts: If you are HIV-negative and you’ve been exposed to HIV, like when a condom breaks or you didn’t use one, there is a treatment available called PEP that may stop you from becoming infected. You can get it from GUM clinics and A&E units. You must start the treatment as soon as possible (within 72 hours). For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/pep. There is no safe way to fuck without condoms when it comes to casual sex. Whether you’re top or bottom, there is still a huge risk that you will catch the virus. If you don’t want to catch HIV, the safest way to fuck is with condoms and lube – end of story. You can’t tell if someone has HIV from what they look like, their age, where you met them or what tattoos they have. A quarter of guys who have HIV don’t even know they have it, so if you ask them, they may say they are HIV-negative. The only way to be safe when fucking someone you don’t know (or even someone you do), is to use a condom.

“Mostkinds ofsexcanbe lowriskifyou taketheright precautionslike usingcondoms andlubefor fucking.”

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“Myfileat myclinicislike aYellowPages.” Adam is 20 and from London: “I didn't set out to get HIV. It was the result of having bareback sex, nobody’s to blame but me. I'm still having sex, and I'm more aware of what I do with people. I almost always tell people I'm positive before sex, but sometimes I don't.

must be negative too. People have gone to jail for not telling their partners they are HIV-positive, so hopefully you stick to this strategy all of the time. Bareback sex between two guys who are both HIV-positive is quite common, but there are risks involved there too. Hepatitis C is becoming a problem in the UK and being co-infected with both HIV and Hep C can mean that your HIV drugs may not work as well, and cause liver problems later on. HIV-positive guys who bareback report much higher incidence of sexually transmitted infections. And though they are often easily treated, they can cause damage to your already compromised immune system.

“Ididn’t setouttoget Fastfacts: HIV.Itwasthe If you have sex with lots of and don’t use condoms, resultofhaving guys chances are you will catch HIV. bareback Most guys with HIV don’t always tell a new partner they sex.” have it but most HIV-negative What's the point if you're using condoms. They MUST have slept with other positive people with condoms, it's a given fact, more and more of us are living with it. I do have bareback sex still. If condoms aren't being used I always discuss my status. The other guy being positive makes it more comfortable. It's easier, especially if you're having a long session. There's the possibility of catching other STIs and being re-infected, but that’s my own personal risk and a choice I make. It sounds destructive, but so is smoking, and I'm on twenty a day. I know pretty much everything there is to know about sexual health - mainly because if it's out there, I've had it. My file at my clinic is like a Yellow Pages. It's a little embarrassing.”

Andrew McDonald says: Adam’s outlook is probably one that a lot of HIV-positive guys adopt. Unfortunately, a lot of HIV-negative guys think that if you agree to have unprotected sex with them then you

guys expect them to tell. Don’t assume anything when you’re with a new partner - you could be wrong.

“Bareback sexbetween twoguyswhoare bothHIV-positive isquitecommon, butthereare risksinvolved theretoo.”

Wheretofind outmore: The GMFA website is packed full of useful information on sex, how to keep it safe, courses, clinics and lots of other things a gay man needs to know. Visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.


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FS119_Depression Feature:FS 17/07/2010 12:02 Page 16

Life

Down

But not out

Depression can take many forms, from feeling a bit down to thoughts of suicide. FS magazine discovers the extremes that depression can lead to and how to overcome them.

16

Jacob’s story Jacob from Brighton had a history of depression in his family. “My 97-year-old granny has always had what she calls her ‘blueies’, which is when she retreats and does not want to talk to anyone. My mum, before she died, had periods of great highs and then periods of quite bad lows. She had a particularly bad bout of postnatal depression and was hospitalised after having me,” says Jacob. “My worst bout of depression was triggered by the sudden death of my boyfriend. He fell down some stairs, hit his head and died two days later. I spent days in my room crying, not sleeping. From the outside I was surprisingly quite fun to be with, but I was entering a manic stage. I was drinking a lot and began to think that sleeping wasn’t necessary. Everything was very loud, like the world was amplified times ten. I started having visions and hearing voices. I thought I was Jesus. I thought I was an MI5 spy.” Jacob’s friends and family were trying to get him help, but it wasn’t easy. Eventually the doctors and authorities did take them seriously after Jacob started having epileptic fits. “I was to be sectioned on a Section Three, which is rare. It meant that the

police and social workers had the right to enter my house and take me to hospital for an assessment. I was diagnosed with bipolar depression with psychotic effects and was sectioned for a month to recover. ”

Suicide As Jacob found out, left unchecked, mental health issues can spiral out of control. Severe depression can lead to suicide and gay teens are the most affected. A London-based survey showed one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual youth had attempted suicide. A survey by the Royal College of Psychiatrists found that 50 percent of gay men were at increased risk of considering suicide and, of those surveyed, 26 percent of gay men had attempted suicide at least once. The authors of the study found that the predictors of a history of considering suicide and suicide attempts included: recent physical attack, being bullied at school, and lifetime use of drugs: issues many of us have or will face.

t

We all get in a mood once in a while, but according to a worldwide survey conducted by Gayhealth.com, depression tops the list of health concerns for lesbians and gay men. It even surpassed HIV, with a third of gay men ranking it number one. A study in America found that gay and bisexual men experience major depressive disorder (MDD) two and a half times more often in their lifetime than straight men. Another study found that we are over four times more likely to suffer from panic attacks. There are several factors that can contribute to depression including family history, stress, medication and illness. Once experts thought that depressed people used alcohol, nicotine and mood-altering drugs as a way to ease depression. But studies show that using these substances may actually contribute to depression and anxiety disorders.


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Asurveyby theRoyalCollege ofPsychiatrists foundthat50percent ofgaymenwereat increasedrisk ofconsidering suicide

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Life

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McMikey’s Story

“I have limited strength in my hand and I use a writing prop, and I was bullied about that to start with. It got really bad in year eight. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t want to go to school. I would self-harm and had suicidal thoughts. I would have happy days, but there were days when I would just sit in my room and cry.” As he got older, the bullying began to focus more on McMikey’s sexuality. Homophobia is widely blamed for higher rates of depression and suicide in gay men. Dr Ilan H. Meyer of Columbia University’s Center for LGBT Health says: “The higher rates of mental disorders and suicide among gay people likely result from the extra stress associated with living in a homophobic society.” Luckily McMikey found someone at school, a teacher, who he could talk to. “She really helped me through it. When the time came to go to sixth form, I decided I’d had enough and changed to an independent college. After that, everything changed. The bullying didn’t follow me there. I made more friends and now I am happier and more content.”

Getting better For many milder forms of depression, it can melt away as your life or circumstances change. For others, counselling along with a change in lifestyle is the answer. “I had sunk into a depression that I just couldn’t shake off. So I started to see a psychotherapist, which really helped,” remembers James from South London. “Just being able to talk to someone objective helped me

18

Luke,22

fromAustralia

What do you do to help yourself when you are feeling down? Get stoned! I also relax and clear my mind by wandering around and exploring London. Meditation also helps. And I go to festivals – I’ve got 45 to go to this summer. Do you think being depressed or stressed affects your sex life? Yes. I’m not really into sex when I’m feeling down, so I’m like “are you finished yet?”.You gotta make sure you can see theTV and change the channel so you don’t get too bored. Hey, it’s multi-tasking. Has it ever affected the choices you make in the bedroom? Yes, if I’m feeling depressed, I don’t feel like being so active. I wouldn’t say I’ve made any choices I regret. What is the best advice you have heard about what to do when you are depressed? No one actually knows you so you can be whoever you want to be. You can re-invent yourself. That’s what my best friend Carmen always tells me.

“Iwould havehappy days,butthere werejustdays whenIwouldsit inmyroom andcry.”

Spencer,28

Operationsmanager fromLondon What do you do to help yourself when you are feeling down? I get drunk, get laid and go out partying. Basically I try to distract myself from whatever’s bringing me down. Who do you speak to when you are feeling depressed or there is something on your mind? I usually speak to my brother or my friends. My brother’s ten years older than me and gives good advice about being myself and being free. But I find that the best advice comes from myself when I acknowledge what I’m feeling and face up to it honestly. Do you think being depressed or stressed affects your sex life?Yes, I want more sex when I’m feeling depressed. It makes me feel better – wanted, desired and sexy. What is the best advice you have heard about what to do when you are depressed? Be yourself. This especially applies if your depression has to do with finding a partner. If you’re looking to fall in love, you want a guy who likes you for who you really are, rather than some image of you. My friend Simona, who’s training to be a psychologist, gave me this advice.

t

McMikey is a 19-year-old lad from Liverpool. He was bullied from a very early age because of a physical disability and later because of his sexuality. His depression led him to self-harm and to think about suicide.


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Life Is depression affecting your sex life?

work things through. Then I started going to the gym. That made me feel loads better about myself and I started to come out of it. I feel great now and Many guys think that the only way have lots of supportive friends. I still that depression affects their sex life get down about things now and then, is that if they feel down they won’t but now I know how much just talking want to have sex, but it can affect about things can really help.” it in other ways as well. For some with more severe cases Studies have shown that men like Jacob, daily medication is who are depressed are needed. Jacob takes medication more likely to take to level out the extreme risks in sex that they wouldn’t highs and lows that you “Gethelpas take if they get when you have weren’t bipolar depression. He soonaspossible depressed. also has other ways to ifyouarefeeling This means cope. “Exercise really you may be does help and things low.Talkingis less likely like yoga. When I know good,butyouneed to use I am slipping back into condoms or a depressive phase I go totakeaction more likely to back to doing exercises yourself.” have sex that that I learnt in hospital and you don’t really physical exercise. Sleep is want to have. really important to me. I never used to enjoy sleeping, but now it Depression can also is the best weapon against becoming lead to isolation and loneliness. It’s ill again. I really enjoy it now and find easy to get shags online with men you wouldn’t normally have sex it is important to my general mental with because you are feeling lonely. well being. If I do have any problems And if you are taking drugs as well, I go to my GP or back to the Bipolar you may end up putting yourself at Organisation.” risk of HIV or other STIs. Jacob’s advice to others who are If you are feeling down and suffering from depression is simple. taking risks that you know you “Get help as soon as possible if you shouldn’t, talk to someone about are feeling low. Talking is good, but it. Check out the listings at the you need to take action yourself. back of the mag for counselling With depression you can only get better when you decide to do and support services that can help. something about it. You need to work The Samaritans: hard, but when you do you feel that www.samaritans.org. you’ve achieved something.”

8 ways to ward off depression:

Voxpop

Derek,35

Generalmanagerof acarbusiness,from England What do you do to help yourself when you are feeling down? Exercise makes me feel better – going to the gym or going swimming. Or doing something outdoors, like having a picnic. Have you ever been to a see a counsellor? No, but I would if I needed to. I respect people who go to counselling. If you recognise you’re having problems, that’s half the battle. By going to see a counsellor, you’re being proactive about resolving the problem. What is the best advice you have heard about what to do when you are depressed?To acknowledge what you’re depressed about. In other words, to accept you’re feeling down and tell yourself “I’m depressed (for whatever reason)” and allow yourself that emotion. It’s OK to wallow for a bit. Tell yourself “today I’m feeling low but I’m not going to feel that way tomorrow”.

1. Exercise regularly. Serotonin is released in your brain after exercise, making you feel happier. 2. Talk about it. Chatting to mates about how you feel is a great stress reliever. 3. Take up a hobby. Join a social group or play an instrument. It will get you out of the house, take your mind off things and you will meet more people. 4. Eat a healthy diet. Foods rich in folic acid and vitamin B-12 like leafy green vegetables, some fruits, and juices like orange juice are thought to ease depression. 5. Avoid alcohol and drugs. 6. See your friends and socialise as much as you can. 7. Spend time on grooming. Try to look your best. Buy a new outfit that makes you feel more positive. 8. Don’t let yourself get stressed. Nothing is so bad that it can’t be sorted out with help.

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Voxpop

Life

Voxpop Voxpop

Bobby,33

Marketingmanager fromthePhilippines What do you do to help yourself when you are feeling down? I go out and see friends. We’ll have dinner together or go see a movie. Getting together in a group and having a laugh is a good way to distract yourself when you’re feeling down. Have you ever been to a see a counsellor? No, I wouldn’t consider it as I have a good support network of friends. They know me really well. I can count on them and they give me sane advice. They’re objective and non-judgemental. Going for counselling is definitely a good thing to do if you need help – it takes guts to admit there’s a problem and take steps to sort it out. Do you think being depressed or stressed affects your sex life?Yes, if you’re depressed, you don’t feel sexy, confident and outgoing. Has it ever affected the choices you make in the bedroom? Yes, I’ve probably slept with people I wouldn’t normally have slept with. It’s happened more than a couple of times! Once this led to me having to stop seeing someone who was a good friend – I’d prefer not to have done that to them. What is the best advice you have heard about what to do when you are depressed? “This too will pass.” Although this applies to happy times too! Basically, everything has an ending, so the tough times you might be experiencing at the moment aren’t going to last forever. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Stick with your principles and hang in there.

Mark,21

Marketingco-ordinator fromSouthEast London Have you ever been to a see a counsellor? No, although members of my family have been and found it very helpful. It’s a good service for people who can’t speak to their friends or family, or when their friends or family aren’t the right people to speak to. Do you think being depressed or stressed affects your sex life?Yes, you lose your libido. Has it ever affected the choices you make in the bedroom? I think you feel more needy so you might do stuff you wouldn’t normally do, in order to get affection and attention. Do you think it’s possible to be addicted to sex? Yes. For some friends of mine, it’s their driving force. It encroaches on every part of their life – both going out and looking for sex and talking about it constantly. You can be having a conversation with them which is nothing to do with sex, and they’ll bring it into the conversation. What is the best advice you have heard about what to do when you are depressed? Thinking of people worse off is helpful. It puts your own problems in perspective. Also, I believe strongly in fate and it can help to think that bad things happen for a reason and might lead to better things in the future.

Pedro,27

BartenderfromLisbon What do you do to help yourself when you are feeling down? I speak with friends to try to cheer myself up. I make an effort to go out and socialise with friends, rather than staying in and isolating myself. Who do you speak to when you are feeling depressed or there is something on your mind? Out of my circle of friends, I have a couple of very close gay male friends, who I always turn to as they give very good advice. They’re my best friends. Have you ever been to a see a counsellor? No, although I have considered it. Nowadays you don’t have to be having a nervous breakdown before you seek help from a counsellor. Even if your feelings of depression are much less extreme, seeking help if you feel you need it is a healthy and valid thing to do. Why do you think some gay guys drink so much and take so many drugs? Going out and socialising is very much a part of the gay lifestyle, which revolves around bars and clubs. With drink and drugs, one thing often leads to another. Because I work in a bar, I see people getting drunk every night. Often it’s because they’re trying to find a partner, and drinking lowers your inhibitions.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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FS119_P21_Health:FS 17/07/2010 12:03 Page 23

Health

Is it time to test?

We all have an HIV status: it’s either HIV-negative (you don’t have HIV) or HIV-positive (you are infected with HIV). When you take an HIV test it won’t change your HIV status, it just tells you what your HIV status already is. But lots of guys put off HIV testing, not realising the damage they could be doing. If you do have HIV, the sooner you find out, the better. The earlier you get tested, the more problems you can avoid.

that it puts them in control. It gives them a chance to make positive decisions about their life, health and relationships. As well as getting your physical health looked after, an early diagnosis can help your mental health in the long term too. If you know you have HIV you can get support from family, friends or the many charities and groups devoted to helping people with HIV.

Ifyoudo haveHIV, thesooner youknow, thebetter.

Live longer Not knowing is no good. Even though it’s recommended that you take an HIV test every year (or every six months if you’re having sex with lots of different partners) many guys don’t. In fact, as many as one in five gay men who find out they have HIV only realise after they’ve had the virus for many years. By then it has already caused serious damage to their health. If you do have HIV, the sooner you know, the better.

You can make better choices If you know you are HIV-negative, you can take steps to stay HIVnegative. If you test HIVpositive, you can make sure you’re getting the right medical care to keep you healthy. If you do have HIV, you’ll find out eventually. You could find out now by testing, getting your health monitored and getting anti-HIV drugs at the right time to protect your health, or you could find out in years to come when your body has already taken a major battering from the virus and you get sick.

Take control Guys who know their HIV status – whether it's positive or negative – say

It’s easier than ever It’s easier than ever before to have an HIV test. Many clinics are now open in the evening or at weekends. There are places you can test that are separate from hospitals and GUM clinics. And the tests give results faster and can tell you if you have HIV sooner after any risk you may have taken. For more info on HIV testing, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/testing.

STI Corner The place to come for STIs (not literally of course).

Thismonth:

Chlamydia How do you get it? Chlamydia is a bacterial infection most commonly passed on by fucking or getting fucked without a condom, but it can also be passed on by sucking cock or rimming. The most common places to catch it are your cock, throat and arse.

How do you know you’ve got it? After one to six weeks, it can cause a yellowy white pus to come from your cock or sometimes from your arse or throat. It may hurt when you wee and you may feel the urge to piss more than usual. Many infected guys don't show any symptoms at all (especially if they have it in their throat or arse), but can give it to other sexual partners without knowing it. If left untreated, the infection can spread from the cock to the prostate gland, balls, and other parts of the body which can become tender and inflamed. LGV is a form of chlamydia and is more common in HIV-positive guys.

How do you treat it? Chlamydia is usually treatable with antibiotics. Avoid sex until the treatment has taken effect.

How do you prevent it? Using condoms when fucking will prevent many cases of chlamydia. If you wanted to reduce the risks further, you would have to use condoms for oral sex. Sucking cock carries a risk even if he doesn’t cum in your mouth. For more information on chlamydia and other STIs or to find a clinic near you, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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Health

Hey GMFA, I’ve got a problem! The team at GMFA answer questions from their website that you may be too shy to ask in the flesh...

How risky was that? I had sex two days ago with a man and I don’t know his HIV status. I was fucking him without a condom and afterwards I realised he was bleeding and there was blood on my cock. I washed it off immediately with soap and water. I checked if my penis had any sores or cuts but I didn’t see any. I am worried I have put myself at risk of catching HIV. And if I have, is there anything I can do about it now? Although fucking someone without a condom carries less risk than getting fucked without a condom, it is the second most common way gay men catch HIV. HIV can be transmitted to the man who fucks either from blood or from anal mucus. The best advice is to have an HIV test and discuss the circumstances with the sexual health advisor. They will help you decide whether you will need to test now as well as in a couple of months to make sure of your status, and they may even provide you with a supply of condoms.

Is changing bad? During sex the other day, we changed positions while my partner was still inside me. The

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condom did not tear, but I am curious as to how dangerous it is to turn with a condom still inside you. We are not aware of any research that indicates that there is any greater risk of a condom breaking from changing positions whilst someone is inside you than in the usual motion of fucking. The research that we are aware of indicates that condom failure is most often a result of putting the condom on incorrectly or of using the wrong kind of lube, or none at all. It is important to remember though that it is recommended that the condom gets checked every ten to fifteen minutes whilst being used, and changed after thirty minutes to lessen the chances of the condom failing.

for what you describe. You could have a STI or other infection and not realise it. And if you are washing it frequently with soap, this could be irritating it more (or could even be the cause of the infection in the first place). Visit your local GUM clinic and they will help diagnose the issue for you, and prescribe any treatment that might be necessary. It could just be a natural smell that you are particularly sensitive to and not a problem at all. The only way to know for sure is to have it checked out.

Smelly willy? Despite washing my penis often and well I have a problem with a strong smell that comes from the opening. It’s most unpleasant. What could be the cause and how can I cure this problem? There could be a number of reasons

For more info about sex and sexual health or to ask a question visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.

How risky are... frottage and wanking Frottage is just a fancy name to describe when you rub yourself against a partner to get off – like dry humping. It's very low risk. If you're unlucky, you could pick up crabs or scabies or, if you're extremely unlucky, it's possible to catch warts, herpes or syphilis from skin to skin contact. Having a wank by yourself is about as risk free as sex can get. Wanking with a someone else (shag, lover, partner, whatever) isn’t much riskier. Nobody has caught HIV from wanking. The biggest risk is if you or your friend really go for it and pull too hard or you wank too much. This can damage your urethra (the tube in your cock where piss and cum come out) and lead to an infection called NSU.


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Advice

Sort it out! FS readers and a trained counsellor give their advice on how to tackle one of life’s problems. back the ability to protect his own

health. Otherwise he may be your friend, but you won’t really be his. Steven from Croydon

This month’s problem I have a big problem. A couple of months ago, I had sex with my best mate’s boyfriend. It wasn’t planned or anything. We were all on holiday together. My mate went back to the hotel early, and one thing led to another and we ended up in the dunes. Needless to say, we didn’t have any condoms and we went all the way. Last week I went to the clinic for a checkup and found out I am HIV-positive. I told my mate’s boyfriend and told him to get tested, but he said, “no way”. I know he and my mate don’t use condoms when they have sex, and I’m afraid that we will all end up being infected. Although I don’t know what the chances of that even are. I don’t want to tell my mate what happened if I don’t have to in case he ends our friendship, which means a lot to me. But I don’t want him to catch HIV either – help! Confused via email

Dear Confused I have a lot of sympathy for the difficult situation you find yourself in. You are coming to terms with a diagnosis of HIV and the implications it might have for your friends' relationship. You have to focus on your own needs first, rather than worrying about all these other guys. Shouldn’t they be looking out for themselves? Secondly, you do have some responsibility to your friends - who may or may not know their own status. Again, in this day and age, I would wonder exactly what that responsibility is but, as a friend, you should encourage them to get tested - which you have done. Your friend’s boyfriend said, "no way”, but maybe you didn't feel you could point out the need for the test. What he should know is that if he is positive, your friend will benefit from an early diagnosis and treatment.

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You have a long journey of your own to make, which means other people rely on you to make good choices in life and sex. It takes some of us miles and miles to get there but you sound as if you have got there already. Ian via email

Dear Confused I understand the situation you have got yourself into is difficult, but the answer to your question is very simple. If your mate really is your mate, then you will tell him about this, without delay. Even if your mate’s boyfriend isn’t already HIVpositive, with his attitude to his own and other people’s health, there is every chance that one day he will pick up HIV and pass it on to your mate. Yes, your mate may end your friendship because of what you did, but if that friendship means as much as you say, you will be prepared to let him do this by trying to give him

Dear Confused Wow, that’s a nightmare scenario, but there is still one last chance to do the right thing. Tell your friend what happened. This is not really about you any more, or your feelings or what you want – it has to be about what is best for him. You’ve acted incredibly selfishly up until now. This is your chance to be a man and to do the right thing. The guilt of sleeping with your mate’s boyfriend will be nothing compared to the guilt you will feel if your mate is diagnosed HIV-positive and you didn’t tell him about what happened. Remember it may not have been you who brought HIV into this situation. It could be your mate’s boyfriend or even your mate. This isn’t about who infected who, but it can be about being an adult and taking responsibility for your actions. Gill via email

A counsellor’s opinion Joshua Bradley of the GMI Partnership says:

Dear Confused I can see why you are in a dilemma. You want to stay friends with your mate and fear that telling him the truth about what happened between yourself and his boyfriend will mean you lose his friendship. And you know what? That might well be the case. However, can you feel happy about putting your best mate at potential risk of HIV infection by not being honest with him? I can hear the fear that you have about losing his friendship, and telling your


FS119_P26-27_Sortit:FS 17/07/2010 12:08 Page 27

best mate what has happened could risk the relationship that you have. What you do need to remember though is that a good friendship is often based on honesty between people and, hard though this sometimes is to believe, honesty is the best policy You don’t say why your mate’s boyfriend is refusing to go for a check-up but it could be that he is scared of going to a hospital or a clinic. There are lots of places to take an HIV test now, not all of them in traditional clinic settings, so try and see if he will think again and change his mind about getting tested. If he is in London he can see all testing options at the GMFA website (www.gmfa.org.uk) or he can contact THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200. You don’t say if your mate’s relationship is open or closed and this will have some bearing on the concerns that you and his boyfriend have. Either way, chances are that your mate was not expecting you to have sex with his boyfriend. That in itself is likely to be a shock which will only be compounded by the news of possible exposure to HIV. I can’t say that telling him will be easy, but I think that you realise that being truthful with him is the best option for all of you, not least your mate. The trust that he has in you as his

friend will be lost, although perhaps he will be able to acknowledge that you are due some credit for being honest with him after the event. He could feel that he has been betrayed by the two people he feels closest to, his boyfriend and his best mate, and that is again something that you will need to be prepared for. You say that your fear is that you will all be infected with HIV and I am pretty sure that within yourself you know that you need to be honest with your mate about all that has happened. Although this will be

tough on all of you, as I said earlier, honesty is the best policy and the sooner that people are tested for HIV, the better. It won’t be easy to have this conversation with your best mate but I feel that the only thing which will allow you to move on from this place of fear and guilt is to be open with him. If you think that you may want to see a counsellor, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/counselling or go to page 28 for information on where you can get free counselling.

Next month’s problem... I have been seeing this guy for about a month and the sex is fantastic and we’ve always used condoms. But now he says he really wants to fuck me without one. He says he wants to get closer to me and having sex without a condom is part of it. Even with a condom he always cums inside me, so I guess it would be the same without one and I know that’s dangerous. I don’t mind using condoms and would rather be safe than sorry, but he is being really persistent and I don’t want to lose him. I think I’m falling in love with him. What should I do? Jake – Bermondsey

If you have some advice to give, or you have a problem that needs sorting, email it to: fsmag@gmfa.org.uk or search for ‘FS magazine’ on Facebook, become a fan, and post on the Sort It Out forums.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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Listings It’s all about the groups and services in the North West... Clinics Manchester The LGF Outreach Clinic: operates from four different locations in Manchester city centre and Chorlton. Phone: 0161 235 8035 or visit: www.lgf.org.uk.

Walsall WMHP Clinic: monthly clinic held at the Green House Health Club, Willenhall Rd, Darlaston WS10 8JG. First Tuesday of every month 29pm. Phone: 01922 613 141.

Condoms by post

the Armistad Project, run courses in Manhester and Liverpool including The Arse Class, Confident Cruising, and Getting a Boyfriend. For more information visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/national or phone: 020 7738 3712.

Drop-in centres Birkenhead

Liverpool

THT: sexual health drop-in for any man with need, but particularly for men infected with or affected by HIV. Fridays 4.30-6.30pm. Phone: 0151 666 9890.

Counselling and support group: Sahir House offers counselling sessions for individuals, couples and young people with or affected by HIV and a HIV-positive men’s support group. For more info phone: 0151 708 9080/ 707 0606 or visit www.sahir.uk.com. Drop-in: Sahir House host a drop-in foer all members Monday to Friday 10am-5pm. For more info phone: 0151 708 9080/ 707 0606 or visit www.sahir.uk.com. Gay & Bisexual men’s HIV-positive group: group for HIV-positive men over 20years-old. Phone Phil 07789 927 276 or Paul 07887 657 128.

Cheshire BPCNW-Outrite:Weekly drop-ins in Macclesfield & Crewe for Gay & Bisexual Men. Visit: www.outrite.org or phone 01270 653 156.

Cheshire

Liverpool

BPCNW-Outrite: free and condoms and lube for men in Cheshire . Call 01270 653 156 or email info@outrite.org with your name and address.

The Armistead Project: Drop-in for LGB and trans gay people.Tuesday and Thursday 2-9pm, Saturday 4-7pm. For more information phone: 0151 227 1931 or visit: www.armisteadcentre.co.uk. Queer Notions at the Armistead Project: Weekly mental heatlh drop-in. Tuesdays 7-9pm. For more information phone: 0151 227 9977 or email: queernotions@hotmail.com. Saturday youth drop-in: weekly drop-in for LGB and trans gay people 13 to 19years-old. For more info phone: 0151 227 1931.

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT): free, discreet condoms and lube service for men who live on the Wirral. Phone: 0151 666 9890.

Counselling and advice Cheshire BPCNW-Outrite: free and confidential counselling service for issues important to you. Call 01270 653 156 or visit www.outrite.org.

Liverpool The Armistead Project: support on drug and alcohol matters.Phone: 0151 227 1931 or 07796 265 814. LGB and T counselling: The Armistead Project offers a counselling service. Phone: 0151 227 1893 or or call into the centre.

Manchester LGF: provides support on various issues. Phone: 0161 235 8035 or visit: www.lgf.org.uk.

Wirral THT: offers counselling and one-to-one support on aspects of sexual health, HIV-concern, sexuality and relationships. Phone: 0151 666 9890.

Courses GMFA, along with LGF, and

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Cheshire BPCNW: : support, info and guidance, counselling, advocacy, drop-ins and therapies. For more info phone: 01270 653150 or visit www.bpcnw.co.uk.

George House Trust: free condoms by post to HIVpositive men in NW England. Visit: www.ght.org.uk or phone 0161 274 4499.

Wirral

HIV services and support

Manchester The George House Trust: Gay Men’s Space is a weekly drop-in for gay men with HIV on Mondays 5-8pm. If you have never been before phone Dunkan or Jill on: 0161 274 4499.

Walsall

Manchester The George House Trust: offers services for people with HIV including: advice, counselling, drop-ins, financial help, courses for men who have recently been diagnosed with HIV, retreats for gay men living with HIV and more. For more info phone: 0161 274 4499 or visit: www.ght.org.uk.

Preston Central Lancashire HIV Advice Support Service CLASS: a confidential free service for those living with adn affected by HIV. Phone: 01772 253 840, helpline: 01772 825 684, email: class-enquiries@ druglinelanc.co.uk or visit: www.druglinelancs.co.uk.

WMHP Drop-in: condoms, coffee, computer-time and chat. Saturdays 2-5pm at 42 Eldon Street. Phone: 01922 613 141.

Support groups

Helplines

BPCNW-Outrite:Monday Men's Group in Crewe from 7pm- 930pm, Tuesday Men's Group in Crewe from 7pm930pm. For more information call: 01270 653 156.Liverpool BOLD: support group for people with learning disabilities at the Armistead Project. Phone Phil on 07789 927 276 or 0151 227 1931. 50+ Group: group for men over 50. Phone Gareth or Kathy on 0151 227 1931. Parents & Carers Group:

Cheshire BPCNW-Outrite: 01270 653 156.

Liverpool The Armistead Project Helpline: 0151 227 1931. Mersey AIDSline: 0151 709 9000.

Manchester LGF: 0845 3 30 30 30. 6-10pm.

Cheshire

support for parents and carers of LGB people at the Armistead Project. Phone Phil: 07789 927 276 or Paul: 0151 227 1931.

Manchester LGF Black LGBT Group: a support and social group for Black people who identify as LGBT. The group meets on the last Thursday of every month between 7.30-9pm LGF Ice Breakers: a selfhelp group for gay and bisexual men who are coming out, coming out of a relationship, feeling isolated or who are new to Manchester. Wednesdays from 8pm before moving on for a drink. LGF 40+ Gay Men’s Group: a group for gay and bisexual men aged 40 and above. Thursday evenings from 7-9pm. LGF Gay Married Men’s Group: for men who are, or have been, in a heterosexual relationship and are attracted to other men. Meetings are held every first and third Tuesday 7.30-9pm. Other LGF groups: include Biphoria (support for bisexual people), LGB Smoke Free (support for giving up smoking) and LGF Art Class. For info on all LGF groups visit www.lgf.org.uk or phone the LGF helpline on 0845 3 30 30 30.

Southport Sefton men’s group: group for gay and bisexual men over 20-years-old. Phone: 078794 265 814 or 0151 227 1931.

Youth groups Liverpool Armistead Youth Drop-in: for young gay people aged 1419 run by the Armistead Project. Saturdays 12.303.30pm. Phone: 0151 227 1931. Gay Knowsley: youth group in Knowsley for 13 to 19year-olds run bythe Armistead Project. Phone: 07748 140 275.0 Young Gay Sefton: youth group in Bootle for 14 to 19year-olds run by the Armistead Project. Phone Jo or Phil on 07792 316 156.

St Helens St Helen’s youth Group: for 13 to 19-year-olds run byThe Armistead Project. Phone: Darryl 078794 425 304 or 0151 227 1931..

Warrington GLYSS: a place to talk over any issues affecting


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Listings you. For more info phone: 07747 473 829, email: glyss@hotmail.co.uk or visit: www.freewebs.com/glyss.

Manchester M20 8LR Phone: 0161 611 4939 (appointments)/0161 611 4446 (health advisors)

Contact details

Manchester - West

The Armistead Project Phone: 0151 227 1893. Email: info@armsteadcentre.co.uk Website: www.armisteadcentre.co.uk The George House Trust Phone: 0161 274 4499 Website: www.ght.org.uk GLYSS (Gay and Lesbian Youth Support Services Warrington WA1 2NH Phone: 07747 473 829 Email: glyss@hotmail.co.uk Website: www.freewebs.com/glyss The Lesbian and Gay Foundation (LGF) Phone: 0161 235 8035 Helpline: 0845 3 30 30 30 Email: info@lgf.org.uk Website: www.lgf.org.uk Sahir House Phone: 0151 708 9080/ 707 0606. Website: www.sahir.uk.com Terrence Higgins Trust (Wirral) Phone: 0151 666 9890 Email: info.wirral@tht.org.uk Website: www.tht.org.uk Walsall Men’s Health Project (WMHP) Phone: 01922 613 141 Website: www.hivservices.co.uk

GUM Clinics Bolton Centre for Sexual Health Phone: 01204 390 771

Bury Fairfield Barlow Suite Phone: 0161 778 2800

Cheshire Leighton Hospital Crewe Phone: 01270 612 255 Countess of Chester Phone: 01244 363 091 Macclesfield Phone: 01625 264 116 Warrington Phone: 01925 662 476

Trafford Centre for Sexual & Reproductive Health Trafford General Hospital, Moorside Road, Davyhulme, Manchester M31 3SL Phone: 0161 746 2621

Oldham Phoenix Centre, Oldham Hospital Phone: 0161 627 8394

Rochdale Baillie Street Health Centre Phone: 01706 517 655

Salford GUM Department Entrance One A, Hope Hospital, Eccles Old Rd, Salford M6 8HD. Phone: 0161 206 4464 (appointments)/0161 206 4431 (advice).

Stockport Stockport NHS Foundation Trust Stepping Hill Hospital, Poplar Grove, Stockport SK2 7JE Phone: 0161 419 5370/0161 419 5377 (advice line)

Tameside Crickets Lane Health Centre Phone: 0161 339 2222

Wigan Royal Albert & Edward Infirmary Phone: 01942 822 277 If your area is not listed, ring THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200 to find a GUM clinic in your area. If you would like your group or organsation to be listed here, send your info to fsmag@gmfa.org.uk.

Manchester - Central Manchester Centre for Sexual Health The Hathergate Centre, 280 Upper Brook Street, Manchester M13 0FH Phone: 0161 276 5200 (male appointments). Phone: 0161 276 5204 (health advisors)

Manchester - North North Manchester General Hospital GUM Clinic Delauneys Road, Crumpsall, Manchester M8 6RB Phone: 0161 720 2681

FS is edited by Cary James. The FS team for issue 118 was John Adams, Barrie Dwyer, Stuart Haggas, Matthew Hodson, Frankie McPolin, Drew Payne, Shemmy, Gavin Smith, James Stafford, and Luke Tribe. Cover model: Sebastian. FS is part of the CHAPS Partnership. Appearance in FS is not an indication of an individual’s sexual orientation or HIV status. The views of our writers are not necessarily the views of FS, of the organisations mentioned, GMFA, or of the editor. You can subscribe to FS for just £7 per year. Phone on 020 7738 6872 or email fsadmin@gmfa.org.uk. You can view the current issue and past issues of FS online at: www.gmfa.org.uk/fsnation. Volunteers contribute to the planning, writing, editing and production of FS. To volunteer or donate, contact GMFA using the details below. Published by GMFA. Unit 43 Eurolink Centre, 49 Effra Road, London, SW2 1BZ Tel: 020 7738 6872 Email: gmfa@gmfa.org.uk Website: www.gmfa.org.uk Charity number 1076854 ISSN 1750-7162

Manchester - South South Manchester Sexual Health Withington Hospital, Nell Lane,

Design and layout by www.christiantate.co.uk

www.gmfa.org.uk

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Life

Last chance

Here are some things to remember from this issue...

CRUISING

improve your skills at the GMFA Confident Cruising course. Visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/national.

MATES who you should be spending more time with to fight depression.

BORED? then fill out the EMIS survey – the largest survey of gay men in Europe ever! Visit: http://tinyurl.com/ fsmag-emis.

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72 the number of hours you have to get PEP if you’ve been at risk of HIV. Visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/pep.

FROTTAGE not a French soft cheese, but the name for when you and a partner rub up against each other in a sexy way... like two gay puppies on heat.


ADS

21/11/08

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FS Issue 119 NW