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FS118_COVER:FS 04/06/2010 06:28 Page 1

The fiT and sexy gay mag issue #118 summer 2010

risky Business Is it worth it?

6

Things To pack on holiday

21summer +

Things To do This

Crikey... it’s a Condom Competition! “i think i am too fat to be fanCied” Get a boyfriend with Gmfa


Charity no. 288527 (England & Wales, SCO39986 (Scotland)

If you feel that your sexual behaviours are having an overwhelming and negative impact on your life, then we may be able to help. Terrence Higgins Trust runs a weekly group for gay men who feel that their relationship with sex is somehow out of control.

FREE 8 week programmes run in the evenings in central London from 6.30-9pm

For more information, venue details or to book an assessment, call 020 7812 1773 or email groupworklondon@tht.org.uk


FS118_P03_INTRO:FS 04/06/2010 06:27 Page 3

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the fIt and sexy gay mag Issue #118 summer 2010

Welcome are you gay... your way? then you should be in fs!

There’s no right or wrong way to be gay - that’s one of the best things about it. Gay boys are as different as the stars in the sky. Some guys love Lady Gaga, some gag whenever they hear one of her songs. Sure, some of us like shopping, but a lot of us are happier rock climbing or racing motorcycles. FS wants to know about your way to be gay. We’re looking for guys to tell their stories, from hairdressers living life for the weekend to athletes aiming for the Olympics and unemployed guys volunteering in your community. We want to find out about you.There will be lots of ways to get involved including video blogs and interviews.You may even get your pic in the mag.To find out more, just email a bit about yourself to fsmag@gmfa.org.uk or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fsmag. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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Cary James x Editor Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fsmag. Come on... do it now!

Brought to you by

p26 www.gmfa.org.uk

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LLGS Advert for FS.pdf

18/10/2009

4:27:38 PM

You can talk to us about anything; safer sex, sexual health, perhaps you’re worried about a recent sexual encounter, HIV or AIDS. We’ll tell you what the risks are and what precautions you can take. C

Whatever the call, for confidential information and support you can talk to us.

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We have vacancies for the following VOLUNTEER roles: • TELEPHONE HELPLINE VOLUNTEERS (full training given, we particularly need people with day time availability) • COMMUNITY FUNDRAISERS • MEDIA RELATIONS MANAGERS • EVENTS CO-ORDINATORS • ADMINISTRATION WORKERS

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For more information about all the volunteering opportunities at LLGS call 020 7837 6768 or visit LLGS.org.uk

The nation’s LGBT helpline. Help us to continue to support the community by DONATING or JOINING OUR TEAM of award winning volunteers. To find out more visit LLGS.org.uk Funded by the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme


FS118_P05_Upfront:FS 04/06/2010 07:36 Page 5

Upfront

Got Pride? It’s that time of year again, when the sun is shining (fingers crossed), rainbow flags fill the air, and hot boys fill the streets – oh yes, Pride season is well and truly upon us. Here are some tips on how to make the most of the big day:

1. Get an early start – Pride is the gayest day in the calendar, so make the most of it. You can sleep for the rest of the year. 2. Don’t peak too soon – if you start out doing vodka shots with Bacardi Breezer and chasers before breakfast, chances are you’re going be passed out (or in A&E) by lunchtime. Remember Pride is a marathon, not a sprint. 3. Drink lots of water – being out in the sun, drinking alcohol and taking recreational drugs can all lead to dehydration. It is one of the main reasons people end up in the medic’s tent on Pride day, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. 4. Rub on some sun block – even if it’s cloudy, you can still get a nasty sunburn if you are outside all day. And a bright red face isn’t a good look for post-Pride parties. Put some SPF 15 on before you leave the house and bring some with you so you can top it up later. 5. Have a bloody brilliant day.

This year, Pride London’s theme is Paint the Town Ruby Red, Celebrating 40 Years of the Gay Liberation Front. It all kicks off with the Pride Arts Festival on 19 June with comedy, theatre, arts, sports and community events. Then on 3 July, the parade will strut proudly down Oxford and Regent Street to the Trafalgar Square rally, and the fun continues with a street party in Leicester Square and around Soho. For more info, visit: www.pridelondon.org.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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Page six

Six things to pack for h Medicine kit

It’s always good to have a few things in your bag for emergencies. A good kit will include: paracetamol or ibuprofen (for pain), Imodium Instants (for diarrhoea), antihistamine tablets or cream (for bites and hay fever), after-sun and sunburn cream, and water proof plasters. Also remember to bring any medication you are taking. Bring it in its original packaging and keep it in your carry-on in case they lose your luggage.

Insect repellent

If you are going anywhere hot, you never know when you are going to need it. Ever been to Milan in the summer? The mosquitos eat you alive in the middle of the city. If you go somewhere tropical, there’s an even higher chance you could be on the menu. Buy a variety with ‘Deet’ which is the best for repelling all sorts of critters and even works well in the jungle.

Papers

Having all the right papers can make your life so much easier. Make sure you bring: two photocopies of your passport (will speed up getting a new one if you lose it), travel insurance print-out, travel plan (especially if you have e-tickets), a note from your doctor or a copy of the prescriptions for any medication you are bringing. If you have a pre-existing health condition that may need treatment (like HIV), you need an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). You can apply by ringing 0845 606 2030 or apply online at www.ehic.org.uk.

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or holiday Condoms

A bit of holiday nookie is high on the ‘to do’ list of most gay boys. But finding condoms in a foreign country can be difficult and depending where you are, you don’t know if they are going to be any good or not. Make sure you bring plenty along. Packing polyurethane condoms like Durex Avanti or Passante Unique, means that you don’t have to use water or silicon-based lube. You can use whatever you have handy even if it has oil in it. Unique come in a handy, three pack shaped like a credit card brilliant. To buy low cost condoms online visit www.freedoms-shop.com.

Lube It’s hard enough trying to find water-based lube in the UK, much less abroad, so pack your own. You can buy a travel-sized bottle or you can even get little sachets at www.freedoms-shop.com.

Sun lotion It’s always best to bring your own suntan lotion on holiday – that way you will know that it will do what it says on the bottle. There are loads of stories about people selling watered down or poor quality sun-screen at holiday resorts and lads getting burned to a crisp as a result. Bring your own. It’s recommended you use at least 15 SPF. You may want to bring a few different strengths to use at different times during your holiday.

Never miss FS again! Don’t you hate it when you miss an issue of FS? Well make sure that never happens again… Just email your name and email address to fsmag@gmfa.org.uk or join us on Facebook and 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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Funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme. Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England & Wales (no.288527) and in Scotland (no.SC039986).

Use condoms unless you’ve both tested negative. And keep using them if you’re having sex with others.

For information on whether or not to use condoms in a relationship, visit gmfa.org.uk/relationships or call:


FS118_P09_FEATURE:FS 04/06/2010 07:05 Page 9

Life

Condomania! Condoms are just part of gay life. And if condoms are going to work for you, you have to make sure you do what’s right for them. Here are a few tips to make sure that you’re treating your condoms right so they won’t fail you when it matters. DON’T USE THEM WITH SPIT OR ANY KIND OF OIL FOR LUBE – they are much more likely to break because spit dries up too quickly and oil actually dissolves latex condoms – seriously. Only use wateror silicone-based lubes like ID, Wet Stuff, Liquid Silk or any other brand. You can buy good lube cheap at www.freedomsshop.nhs.uk. They also have cheap condoms so you can stock up on the whole combo.

don’t more use one C than on at on dom Ce DON’T LEAVE THEM – it’s n ot twic OUT IN THE SUN – e as safe just like your skin, if you leave . them in the sun they will dry up and will be more likely to crack. And no, sunblock doesn’t help.

DON’T KEEP THE SAME ONE IN YOUR WALLET FOR AGES – condoms have sell-by dates. Check it before you whack it on or it could break. If the same condom has worn a mark into your leather wallet, then it is probably time to change it (and to devise a new dating strategy).

DON’T WEAR THEM OUT – condoms aren’t made of steel (because that would be really uncomfortable obviously) so if you are having a marathon session… well first of all we don’t really want to hear about it you lucky bugger, and secondly (and more importantly) change it every half an hour or it could wear out and break.

DON’T STRETCH THEM – it’s a condom, not a jumper, so don’t try to pull it over your ‘head.’ Roll the condom down your cock instead.

DON’T USE MORE THAN ONE CONDOM AT ONCE – it’s not twice as safe. In fact, it makes it more likely that they will break or fall off. And it’s a waste of perfectly good condoms – it’s the age of austerity, dammit!

Crikey... it’s a Condom Competition!

Yes that’s right, and do we have some cracking condoms for you. Mates Skyns are a new condom that is standard super thin, but just as strong as they condoms. We’ve tried them out and the And us. from up bs thum get a big erm... us six nice people at Mates have given can try boxes of 12 to give away so you le question: them too! Just answer this simp

s?

with condom What kind of lube is safe to use A. Water-based B. Musical C. Automotive

on our Facebook page at To enter, post the correct answer il your name and ema www.facebook.com/fsmag or d luck! Goo . g.uk a.or gmf ag@ address to: fsm

www.gmfa.org.uk

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FS118_Cover Story:FS 04/06/2010 18:57 Page 10

Cover story

things to do this

summer

This is our favourite time of year. Here’s how to make the most of it...

1

Go to a festival

The country has gone festival-mad in the last five years and there is now a staggering choice of festivals all around the country. No matter what your musical taste or taste in totty, there is sure to be something to put lead in your pencil. And the gay boys are out in force with stars like Johnny Woo and the Horsemeat Disco performing at many festivals, along with an army of trannies and performers. And

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don’t forget all the Gay Pride festivals around the country, as well as food festivals, poetry festivals... you name it. To find out more about what’s on and where, visit www.efestivals.co.uk.

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Do something sporty

No point sitting in the house when the weather is nice - you have the rest of the year for that. Why not take up an outdoor sport? There are loads of gay clubs covering just about every sport you can imagine –

football, rugby, volleyball, golf, walking, and the list goes on. It’s not just a great way to stay fit, it’s also a way to meet new people and have a lot of fun. Join now for an action packed summer. For information on how to find gay sports clubs, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/theguide.

3

Go for a check-up

Summer and shagging go hand in hand, whether you’re on holiday or just hot and bothered at home. Get


Are you looking for a boyfriend? Want a relationship that lasts longer than a night? ‘Getting A Boyfriend’ is a one day course to help you understand more about yourself and what you want in relationships, and how clear and honest communication is key to continuing your safer sex strategy whilst in relationships. COURSES FOR GAY MEN We are running ‘Getting A Boyfriend’ classes in cities in England. All places on the course are free of charge. The course starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm

Book your place online at www.gmfa.org.uk/national or call 020 7738 3712 BSL interpreters available by arrangement

Saturday 17/07/10 City Agency

Saturday 24/07/10 City Agency

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Bradford London Nottingham Sheffield

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Yorkshire MESMAC GMFA HGN Centre for HIV & Sexual Health

GMFA courses delivered nationally in partnership with

THT Armistead Project LGF Eddystone Trust GCHS

THT/HGL THT MESMAC NE


1

FS118_Cover Story:FS 04/06/2010 18:57 Page 11

Cover story yourself a full sexual health MOT to make sure you are fit and ready for action. And if you are bonking like the Energizer bunny all summer, it’s probably a good idea to get checked out at the end of the summer as well. To find your nearest GUM clinic check out the listings at the end of this mag or visit www.gmfa.org.uk/clinics.

4

Go to the lido

Swimming is always a summertime fave. Loads of lidos have reopened across the UK so there are more places than ever to have a dip. Plus they are always full of gayers, so they can be great places to hang out with friends or meet new ones. Oh, and it’s great exercise too. To find your local lido, visit www.lidos.org.uk.

5

Get on your bike

Let’s face it, trains and buses this time of year suck hard. They are hot, smelly, and you get off covered in someone else’s sweat and with your clothes crumpled (not always bad things but in this situation they definitely are). So why not wave public transport goodbye and get a bike? Not only will you save money, but you will probably get to work quicker and it’s a great workout. Plus you can use it to go on a cool lowcost gay cycling holiday as well – huzzah!

6

Tan safely

Always wear a sunscreen if you are headed outside (even if it’s cloudy) - SPF 15 and above

www.gmfa.org.uk

t

Recent information s y released by Cancer a Alw sunResearch UK confirmed that more men die of skin cancer ra weaen if you than women and the rate of d e e r skin cancer in men has doud c s hea ven if bled in the last three e r a Now we know that e (e dy). adecades. d i s lot of guys still want a tan, t u u o lo so if you do, do it safely. it’s c

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are best. Avoid the midday sun if possible. If you have moles on your skin, always keep an eye on them and if they turn darker or change shape, get them checked out at the GP pronto. For more information visit: www.cancerresearchuk.org.

7

Camp it up

Gay camping can be more than dancing around your living room to Lady Gaga. Get yourself a tent and discover the pleasures of an outdoor life. You can go hiking, cycling, rock climbing, kayaking, you name it. The Gay Outdoor Club has groups all around the UK. To find out more, visit www.goc.org.uk.

8

Have an HIV test

The fact of the matter is, you are much better off knowing whether or not you have HIV. If you have caught HIV, the sooner you know the better and you can start treatment at the correct time so it will work properly. Many gay men don’t find out they have HIV until they are ill which can cause problems with treatment and shorten their life. New tests mean you can get your results in less than an hour and many clinics are open in the evenings and weekends so they are easy to attend. For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/testing.

9

Get off the bus

You want to get fit for summer but sometimes getting into a fully fledged fitness routine can be difficult. If it all seems too much like hard work, you are likely to quit. So instead of promising to get stuck into some big programme, just decide to walk for five minutes a day – that’s it.The next week increase it to ten, and then the next 15 and when you get up to 30 you have reached the amount the NHS recommends you do every day. You can take a walk on your lunch hour or get off the bus one stop early. It will do your heart a world a good and soon you will be up for something more demanding.

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10

Pack your own lunch

Pre-packed food from supermarkets can be full of salt, fat and other unhealthy stuff. Even ‘healthy’ options may not live up to their name. So why not pack your own lunch for work? Chances are it will be healthier, taste better and be a lot cheaper to boot. Of course you could opt for sandwiches (just take it easy on the mayo and butter), but how about making a simple salad? Or soup is super easy to make and really tasty. Get Googling for more ideas.

Go dating

11 There ain’t nothing like a bit of summer loving, so get out there and get in on the action. If you have a boyfriend, then a picnic in the park or trip to the seaside can really get your romantic juices flowing. And if you’re single, then instead of just picking up a shag at a bar or online, why don’t you plan something a bit different? Meet for a walk in the park, or an al fresco cappuccino in a café and see what happens. Sometimes getting to know someone a bit more first can be more fun than your average ‘wham-bam-thankyou-Sam’ hook-up.

Quit

may reduce your risk of developing heart disease. But the benefits of laughing don't stop with your heart: laughing has previously been found to help fight infections, relieve hay fever, ease pain and help control diabetes. Laughter can be a great workout for your stomach, lungs, and your face, leg, and back muscles. Laughter enhances learning, eases stress, and improves memory.

Go running

14 Running is not only good for you, but it gets you outside in the fresh air which helps fight depression and low moods. And the best thing about running is that you can do it any time and anywhere. Just get yourself a decent pair of running shoes and you’re away! Check out: www.therunningbug.co.uk.

Check your

16 balls

Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in guys under 30. Checking yourself out regularly will help you become more aware of the normal feel and size of your testicles so that any abnormalities can be spotted early on. And let’s face it, since you’ll probably be living in shorts most of the summer, you’ll have easy access. So examine yourself for lumps, support the scrotum in the palm of your hand and become familiar with the size and weight of each testicle. Examine each testicle by rolling it between your fingers and thumb. Gently feel for lumps, swellings, or changes in firmness. If you notice anything unusual, go and see your GP as soon as you can. For more information visit: www.cancerhelp.org.uk.

Mak the su e the st mmer art new y of the o quit th u and at dirt y habit.

12 smoking

OK, time to stop putting it off. Let’s face it, smoking is bad for you, gives you bad breath and is bloody expensive. Make the summer the start of the new you and quit that dirty habit. For more info on how to quit visit: www.gmfa.org.uk/quitsmoking.

Have a laugh

13 Laughter really may be the best medicine, according to research presented to the American College of Cardiology. Laughing appears to boost your blood flow and researchers say it

Get fruity

16 At this time of year there is plenty of yummy fruit around, so instead of that Mars bar, grab a mango instead, or a banana or whatever else you fancy. You can do the same with things like carrots or even tomatoes. Keep it up


FS118_Cover Story:FS 04/06/2010 18:57 Page 13

Cover story

and you’ll finally be eating those 5-a-day that you keep hearing about – result!

g to Gettin eone som know more fun can be ur average o than y m-bam‘wha u-Sam’ -yo thank k-up... hoo

Find a 17 boyfriend Easier said than done, right? Well GMFA is running a great Getting a Boyfriend course that could give you just the boost you need. It’s filled with lots of helpful tips on meeting guys and taking it to the next level. Check out the feature on page 24 to find out more.

Get in shape

18 Summer can be one of

the best times to get fit. Not only can you do it outside, but you have plenty of opportunity to show off your hard work on the beach or just in a vest around town. Of course, you can join the gym, but there are plenty of exercises you can do at home or even in the park including sit-ups and press-ups. For more tips, visit: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness.

Stock up on

19 condoms and lube

Holidays, festivals, Gay Pride events – there are loads of things happening that will give you opportunities for an unexpected shag, so be prepared. Have plenty of condoms and lube on hand so you aren’t running around on the day trying to find some. The Freedoms Shop offers condoms and lube at cheap prices. Visit www.freedoms-shop.nhs.uk. Free condoms may also be available. Check out the listings at the back of the mag to find out more.

Shop at an

20 outdoor market

The freshest fruit and veg, vintage clothes, cool retro bits and pieces you can find all this and more at local markets. Get off the high street and discover something new.

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Have fun

Whatever you like to do, get out there and do it. Summer is the time for action. Make the most of it... www.gmfa.org.uk

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FS118_Risk Feature:FS 04/06/2010 07:20 Page 14

Life

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Risky business Drink, drugs and sex might be fun, but mixed together they can have serious consequences. Frankie McPolin finds out why...

Drugs, alcohol and risky sexual behaviour among young people are the ‘fuel for a sexual health crisis’ according to the government’s Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health. They say that binge drinking and drug use are causing a rise in the number of people catching sexually transmitted infections (STIs). And what’s true for everyone else may also be true for gay men. It’s hardly rocket science. Drinking and drug taking are favourite pastimes of a lot of gay boys. Much of the gay scene revolves around them. And let’s face it, getting pissed or trashed can make you do stupid things that you probably wouldn’t do if you were sober, both on the street and in the bedroom. You swear never to do it again, but then there’s the next time. These three readers found out the hard way that the next time was one time too many.

‘Those sores were syphilis’ DOUGIE, 22, from London: Last year I found a sore Thankfully it could be on my cock and although cured, but the treatment “How I didn’t think it was was incredibly the he serious, and surely unpleasant. I had to l l h a d I caug go through a three not sexually related, h t that? week course of I thought it best to I h onestl antibiotic injections get it checked out, y thoug which were very just to be sure. I ht it w as a dise painful and left me found out I had ase fro feeling very demorinfectious syphilis V ictoria m alised and depressed, which came as a n as well as physically huge shock to me. t i m e s drained. After that, I How the hell had I .” decided it wasn’t worth caught that? I’d seen putting myself at risk again. I literature which said syphilis needed to be more clear headed had made a return to the gay scene, when I’m having sex. This means not but I honestly thought it was a getting into such drunken states disease from Victorian times and where I don’t know what I’m definitely not something I would get. doing or what’s happening. I was horrified.

t

I’ve always been a heavy drinker. At weekends I sometimes get myself into a terrible state, where I act sexually irresponsibly. I have drunken blackouts and don’t even know whether I’ve had sex or not, never mind whether it’s been safe. As a rule I wouldn’t normally have unprotected sex but after a night of binge drinking I’m more interested in the sex than the safety. That said, I always get a sexual health check-up every six months where I get tested for most things including HIV. Thankfully I’ve never caught anything that’s not treatable. I’ve had crabs and gonorrhoea a few times, but although they can be quite nasty, I just look on it as an occupational hazard.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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Life On the whole I’m a bit more in control now when I’m out boozing, but sometimes I just let myself go mad, and there are still occasions when I wake up in some guy’s flat not having a clue what part of London I’m in, or the kind of sex I’ve had. I guess I just hope that whatever I might catch in the future is treatable, but who knows?

Things to know... Just because you have had unsafe sex and didn’t catch HIV in the past doesn’t mean you won’t catch HIV the next time you have unsafe sex.

‘My cab driver attacked me’ SIMON, 27, from Kent: When I’m completely pissed after a night out and I don’t have enough cash to pay for my taxi home, or I don’t want to spend the money, I sometimes offer to suck off the driver instead. You’d be surprised how many have accepted my offer over the years. I wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing when I’m sober. I really wish I’d been sober on the night of my attack. I wouldn’t have put myself in such a vulnerable situation. I still can’t believe I was raped. It was a Saturday night last November, and I’d been to a club with friends where I drank double vodkas all night, probably about ten at least. I got so pissed, that around 3am I decided to go home. I found a minicab on the street and we drove back to my flat. I must have passed out in the car, as I remember the driver shaking my leg to waken me. Then I told him that if he wanted to come in to my flat, he’d get well paid for the ride. In hindsight I think he might’ve made a comment about ‘queers’, but maybe I just imagined it. I’ve gone over things a thousand times since it happened, and now I can’t be sure about anything. Anyway, he came in and got his cock out and I started sucking him off. After a minute or so he grabbed my head and tried to turn me around. I shouted at him, and asked what he was doing, but he was really rough, and after a bit of a struggle he managed to get me on the ground face down. He said he was going to fuck me, and although I screamed that my flatmates were in, I knew there was no one home, and he didn’t seem to care anyway. I was totally overpowered and no matter how drunk I was I’ll always remember the

You can test negative for HIV, but still be infected. It can take several weeks for HIV to show up on a test depending on which test you are given. Speak to the health advisor when you have your test to find out what ly your negative “I real en e results mean and h I’d b dn’t s i w if you need to I woul f in . r e return to be b o s ysel tested again. put m e

have

l lnerab

u Keep some ch a v on.” u s condoms and lube situati in your bag so you always have them to hand if you need them. You can get Pasante Unique condoms which are packaged in a credit card shape so they fit in your wallet easily. Plus they are polyeurethane, not latex, so you can use oil-based as well as water- and silicone-based lubes with them. You can buy them online at www.freedoms-shop.nhs.uk.

You can have an STI and not even know it, but you could still pass it on to others. The only way to be sure is to get checked out at your GUM clinic regularly.

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Voxpop

Michael, 26

Works in security, from Portsmouth Why do you drink? I drink because that’s what you do when you’re in the pub. It’s fun. Are you normally drunk or sober when you pick up guys? I’m usually drunk as it gives me confidence to approach guys, or to accept someone’s advance. Has drink ever affected your judgement? Yeah, I’ve gone home with guys I wouldn’t normally go home with and I’ve done things in public I wouldn’t normally do. I suppose that’s bad judgement. Do you think you’re in control when you’re drinking? It’s very rare I get to the stage where I lose control when I’m drunk, but I have in the past. Has drink ever affected the kind of sex you’ve had? Yes. I’ve had unprotected sex when I’ve been drunk but I don’t want to talk about it.

stabbing pain as he raped me, while he covered my mouth with his hand. It only lasted a few minutes after which he pulled up his trousers and just left without saying a single word. I lay on the floor and cried. I must have passed out as I remember my flatmate coming in and waking me up to go to bed.


FS118_Risk Feature:FS 04/06/2010 07:20 Page 17

Be sMarT WHen you drInk Decide how much you are going to drink before you go out and practice sticking to the target. been so pissed this wouldn’t have happened, but I guess being drunk was my own fault too. Now I always try to share a cab with friends, and I pay my way every time.

t

I’ve never told anyone about this before as they’ll think I brought it upon myself. I have frequent nightmares about what happened – it’s really hard to get over it. If I hadn’t

Things to know... If someone threatens you, shout and scream for help. This may frighten the attacker off. You have the right to defend yourself against an attacker with reasonable force using items you have with you like an umbrella or keys. Always travel in a licensed taxi or minicab by checking the vehicle's plate and the driver's badge. If travelling alone always sit in the back seat behind the driver. If you have been the victim of sexual assault, contact Victim Support on 0845 30 30 900 or GALOP 020 7704 2040. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, find out about PEP from www.gmfa.org.uk/pep or ring THT Direct on 0845 12 21 200 or contact your local A&E. PEP must be started within 72 hours of the time you were exposed to HIV.

Alternate your drinks with water or a soft drink and drink water before you go out so you are not thirsty. Eating before or while drinking slows alcohol absorption. Have days in the week when you don’t drink alcohol. Only take as much money out as you want to spend on drinks and leave the credit cards at home. Avoid top-ups so that you can keep track of how much you are drinking. Avoid rounds - they encourage you to drink more than you would like out of loyalty to your friends. For more information and tips, visit www.downyourdrink.org.uk.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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Life

Voxpop

“Sauna sex ended with HIV” SIMON, 24, from London: A few weeks ago I found out that I’m saunas after I’ve been clubbing on HIV-positive. I guess I’ve done quite a drugs. I’ve been fucked too many bit of soul searching since then. I times to remember, and I know in avoided getting tested a long time, most cases that condoms were never but recently during one of my more used. Being versatile, I’ve also fucked sensible phases I decided I had to hundreds of guys – you always hope know my status. you’ll be OK, but I guess my I think I knew I had HIV, so I waited behaviour has caught up with me. until I’d finished a two month holiday Don’t get me wrong, under backpacking around Asia before I normal circumstances, like when got tested. I was right, and I meet guys in bars or on now I need to deal with Gaydar, I always carry “My s the and use condoms. I n o i inhibit go out thought testing consequences. I to completely blame seem ndow and positive would change i being off my face on my behaviour, but I do the w safe is the still drugs and alcohol for go to saunas and g bein thing on contracting HIV. If I darkrooms when I’m t s la didn’t get so horny and twatted, and sometimes ind.” my m out of it, I’d still be I forget to use protection. I negative. When I’m trashed, feel like an animalistic my inhibitions seem to go out the instinct takes over me. I know I window and I get into a mood where could get infected with another strain I need to have lots of sex, and being of HIV, or I could give HIV to safe is the last thing on my mind. someone the way someone gave it I don’t know the specific occasion to me, but sometimes I just can’t when I contracted HIV, but I’ve no help myself. doubt it was in a sauna or a Anyone reading my story should darkroom. I usually only go to realise there are probably many more lads like me having sex in saunas who know they are HIVpositive yet forget to play safe. There are also plenty of guys who don’t When it comes to HIV and sex, know their status, as was the case fucking without condoms is definitely with me until a few weeks ago, so the riskiest thing you can do. you can never be sure when you’re If you don’t have HIV, getting putting yourself at risk.

Knowing the risk...

fucked without a condom by a guy with HIV and him cumming inside you is the riskiest sex you can have. You can also catch HIV if you are the one doing the fucking. Sucking cock is also risky when it comes to HIV if the HIV-negative guy is the one doing the sucking and an HIV-positive guy cums in his mouth. No one has ever caught HIV from having their cock sucked but you can catch other STIs. STIs can make you more likely to catch HIV or more likely to pass it on if you are HIV-positive.

For more info: www.gmfa.org.uk/sex

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Florian, 22

Works in a restaurant, from London Why do you drink? I drink to get merry, have fun with my friends and meet guys. Has drink ever affected your judgement? Yes. Once I was really drunk and I ended up having sex with a very good friend of mine who was straight. I wasn’t out at the time so it was very odd and embarrassing for both of us. Do you think you’re in control when you’ve had drink or drugs? I’m not always in control. When I took ecstasy for the first time I woke up in a strange place with a guy and I didn’t know how I ended up there. Do you think booze or drugs might make you more likely to have risky sex? It’s possible, but I hope that it never happens.

For more information on sex and how to keep it safe, including information about clinics and HIV testing, visit www.gmfa.org.uk.

Things to know... About one in four gay men who have HIV don’t know that they have it. If you are HIV-positive and have sex without condoms with other positive guys, you are putting each other at risk of catching other STIs and all the complications they can cause. 32 percent of HIV-positive gay guys say that in the last year, they have fucked without a condom someone who could have been HIV-negative. 20 percent of HIV-negative men got fucked without a condom by a guy without knowing if he had HIV or not. If you are dedicated to using condoms when you are sober, chances are you will be more likely to use condoms when you are wasted. Don’t let alcohol or drugs be an excuse for making choices you will regret later.


Building your

Do you want more confidence in your life, including your sex life? On this one day course you’ll learn practical skills to help build your confidence. It’ll help you talk to the men you like, say yes to the sex you want and no to the sex you don’t and be in control of condom use to ensure sex is as safe as you want it to be. COURSES FOR GAY MEN We are running ‘Building Your Confidence’ classes in cities in England. All places on the course are free of charge. The course starts at 10am and finishes at 5pm

Book your place online at www.gmfa.org.uk/national or call 020 7738 3712 BSL interpreters available by arrangement

Saturday 12/06/10 City Agency

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GMFA courses delivered nationally in partnership with

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FS118_P21_Health:FS 04/06/2010 07:15 Page 21

Health

Double trouble:

smoking and HIV HIV-positive smokers are more at risk of getting smoking-related illnesses than HIV negativesmokers. And HIV-positive gay men are more likely to smoke and smoke more than other gay men. Here are some of the health problems HIVpositive are vulnerable to:

Lung cancer HIV-positive smokers are more likely to get lung cancer than HIV negative smokers. Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers not normally related to HIV. In HIV-positive people it often occurs under the age of 40, and when the patient has a healthy immune system (CD4 count). The most significant risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, and stopping smoking significantly reduces the risk.

Heart disease and stroke HIV-positive smokers are more likely to suffer heart attacks, heart disease and strokes than HIV-negative smokers. Smoking, being a white gay male, increased age, and taking antiHIV medication are all connected with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Of these, smoking is the only risk factor that can be changed.

Emphysema HIV-positive smokers are more likely to get emphysema than HIV-negative smokers. Emphysema is a painful and incurable condition that destroys the lungs. It usually strikes long-term smokers in their 50s or 60s. However, in a study into emphysema in HIVpositive smokers, early emphysema was detected in people with an

average age of 35. Amoung HIVpositive smokers with a history of smoking a pack a day for at least twelve years, 37 percent showed signs of emphysema compared with none of the HIV-negative smokers.

Anal cancer HIV-positive smokers are more likely to get anal cancer than HIV-negative smokers. Anal cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is far more common, and more likely to develop into cancer, in HIVpositive men. There are other risk factors involved in anal cancer, and in the increased incidence of anal cancer in HIV-positive men, but smoking is one of the risk factors that can be altered.

Dementia HIV-positive smokers are more likely to develop brain illnesses than HIV-negative smokers. Before anti-HIV drugs, AIDS-related dementia was common. Now it had been widely thought that HIV-related brain disorders had disappeared, but there are increasing reports of problems. Although there is a much decreased rate of AIDS-related dementia thanks to anti-HIV medication, the condition still remains a problem. We know that smoking and having HIV are risk factors for brain degenerative disorders. GMFA’s website provides information about living with HIV specifically tailored for HIV-positive gay men. Visit www.gmfa.org.uk/positive, and for info about smoking visit www.gmfa.org.uk/hivsmoking.

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

This month:

Gonorrhoea What is it? Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection you can get in your cock, arse, throat, or eyes.

How do you get it? You can catch it by fucking or getting fucked without a condom, rimming, giving or receiving blowjobs or by getting an infected guy’s cum in your eye. It’s one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.

How do you prevent it? Using condoms will prevent many cases of gonorrhoea. 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. Many guys have gonorrhoea in their throat and don’t even know it, so if they suck you off, you could catch it.

How do you know you’ve got it? Symptoms can include a white or greenish pus coming out of your cock and a burning sensation when you piss or cum. Infection in your arse may be noticeable by a yellowish pus, fresh blood on your poo, mild diarrhoea, or itching and pain when pooing. Infection via your mouth can result in a sore throat and sometimes a cough. Red, swollen, weeping eyes are also symptoms. Sometimes there are no symptoms or they are too mild to be noticeable, particularly with gonorrhoea in the arse and throat.

How do you treat it? Gonorrhoea is treatable and is completely curable.

For more information on gonorrhoea and other STIs or to find a clinic near you, visit www.gmfa.org.uk.

www.gmfa.org.uk

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FS118_P22_Doc:FS 04/06/2010 07:16 Page 22

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...

“Douching isn’t doing it... “ Lately I’ve noticed that even when I douche there is still some ‘dirt’ inside there. I find it really embarrassing if while we’re in the middle of sex something bad happens and it gets messy. I don’t know why it happens, please help! The best thing you can do to avoid these things happening in the future is to make sure you have a diet that includes the recommended amount of fruits, vegetables and fibre and to drink plenty of fluids (you can’t count alcohol). This will allow your guts to work to their best capacity. When they do that they are a self cleaning mechanism and douching isn’t required. If after you have allowed your digestive system to recover you still feel that you would like to douche then the recommendation is to use the small bulb douche, (they are usually orange for some reason) and two bulbfuls of clean tepid water only. Do not add anything to the water as this will increase the likelihood of irritation that could then allow STIs (including HIV) into your bloodstream.

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“I want sex, but I am scared”

“Can we catch HIV?”

I’m a gay virgin and I’ve been turning down guys who want to have sex with me because I’m afraid. I’m well clued-up about STIs and using protection and such, but the biggest fear I have is that it may damage the inside of my arse. Now, I’ve finally found the right person for my first time but I can’t stop worrying... what happens if my arse tears? A lot of the information about the ‘dangers’ of anal sex is often overplayed, with too much emphasis given to what can go wrong rather than how to make it pleasurable and safe. For the majority of gay men who have anal sex it’s a very pleasurable experience with little or no danger of tearing of the arse lining. If you are still nervous, buy a small dildo and try using it when you’re alone so that you can get used to the sensations, while being in total control of what happens. This would help you work through some of the issues and fears that you have.

My partner and I are both HIV negative, can we catch HIV if we have sex without condoms together? If neither of you have HIV, neither of you can infect the other – you cannot pass on an infection you do not have. However, if one of you has sex outside the relationship, you could catch HIV from someone else. If you are going to have sex with your partner without condoms, it’s best to go for an HIV test together to ensure you are both negative, and talk about what would happen if one of you has sex with someone else.

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

How risky are... blow jobs It is possible to get HIV from sucking cock but the chances are small. Even so, there are ways that you can reduce the risk further. If you’re giving someone a blow job don't let them cum in your mouth. Although there is HIV in the pre-cum of a HIV-positive man, the protective properties in saliva would usually disable the amount of HIV that there is in pre-cum. A condom, used correctly, will prevent either cum or pre-cum getting in the mouth, although few gay men in the UK use condoms for oral sex. Although the risk of HIV infection is fairly low, some other STIs can be easily passed via oral sex, such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes or syphilis. There is a small risk of picking up Hepatitis B through oral sex, if you have not been vaccinated. If you have an existing STI in your throat you will be more vulnerable to infection and the chances of picking up HIV or Hep B are increased. For more information on sex and how to make it safer, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/sex.


FS118_P24_Groupwork.qxd:FS 04/06/2010 07:21 Page 24

Health

Do you want a boyfriend? Whether we like to admit it or not, lots of singletons would love to be shacked up with the man of our dreams – who wouldn’t? Some guys just seem to stroll into successful relationships, while others feel like they are just kissing frogs without a prince in sight. GMFA’s Getting a Boyfriend course may be able to help you find Mr Right, and course creator Barrie Dwyer tells us how... What do you think is the biggest obstacle gay men have to finding a boyfriend? There are three major things that often get in the way of men finding a partner: themselves, their fears, and the expectation many of us have that we can find someone better. What are some of the most common mistakes men make when looking for a boyfriend? That they don’t think about who they are as people, what kind of relationship they want, and what they want in a boyfriend. If you ask someone what they want from a car or mobile phone they can usually give you a long list of things that they require. If you ask someone what they want from a boyfriend they will usually say “I don’t know really, someone nice with a good sense of humour.” If you don’t really know what you are looking for, it is much harder to find it. Is it really possible to ‘look’ for a boyfriend, or is it something that just happens to you when you are ready? Yes, it’s possible to ‘look’ for a boyfriend, but you have to be ready for it to happen as well. There is no

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What kinds of topics does it cover? It covers a wide range of issues including the past relationships you have had and finding out what can be learned from them, and whether or not you are actually ‘ready’ for a boyfriend. It also looks at what you want in a boyfriend, sexual agreements between the two of you and that sort of thing. What kinds of things are guys on the course asked to do? Most of the exercises focus on the three main elements of a relationship: you, your boyfriend and what you want from the relationship. We do that by asking guys to discuss the things they want and create lists, so you can be sure that what you want isn’t unobtainable and that you are giving yourself achievable goals. It’s a reality check with huge amounts of encouragement thrown in.

There is no moan point i you dong if all Who would you i go in frons flop onrecommend the course? t of I would the TV recommend the .

point moaning that you haven’t got a boyfriend or never meet men you like if all you do is go to work then go home and flop in front of the TV. So it’s about being ‘ready’ for it to happen in all areas of your life. How does the course work? The course encourages guys to consider why they want a boyfriend, and what they want in a boyfriend relationship.

course to any guys who are interested in finding out more about themselves and what they want in and from relationships.

GMFA’s Getting a Boyfriend course is on a national tour beginning in July. For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/national.

Four things... you’ll get from the course A better understanding of yourself. A clearer idea of the type of men you want to have a relationship with. An understanding of the type of relationship you really want. The knowledge that being in a relationship doesn’t make you immune from HIV.


ADS:FS 28/01/2010 22:18 Page 31


FS118_P26-27_Sortit.qxd:FS 04/06/2010 06:44 Page 26

Sort it out! Advice

FS readers and a trained counsellor give their advice on how to tackle one of life’s problems. This month’s problem No matter how hard I try at the gym or how much weight I lose, I see myself as fat. I am over six-foot tall and at one point I was under nine-stone and I still thought I was fat. My friends say that I’m thin, but I reckon they are just being nice. And they have never seen me without my clothes – it’s not pretty let me tell you. What sucks even more is that since I feel so unattractive, I have a hard time meeting guys, much less starting a relationship. I just can’t imagine how anyone cute that I would fancy could possibly be attracted to me. So I end up sleeping with all sorts of guys that I don’t even fancy because I reckon I have to take whatever I can get, but I am so self-conscious I am not even very good at it. And sometimes I do risky stuff that I really regret afterwards. Help! I’m sick of crap sex with crap guys I don’t fancy and feeling crap about myself. Jack via email

Dear Jack,

Dear Jack,

While there is a lot of subjectivity involved in assessing attractiveness, and while friends do sometimes lie to be nice, the reality is that any grown man at over six-foot tall and under nine stone is under weight (by at least a stone and a half). I suggest you seek professional advice (with your diet, your exercise and your state of mind, try www.mengetedstoo.co.uk) to help you achieve two things. First, a healthy diet and body weight, and second, the ability to let yourself be a healthy weight without thinking that you’re fat. If you’re sick of crap sex with guys you don’t fancy then you’re obviously appealing to some men, so from now on recognise that and only have sex with the guys who you fancy too. Peter from Dulwich

I know where you are coming from and I have to admit that at different times in my life I have felt the same way. What got me through it? Well there are a couple of things. Number one, it’s not always about what you look like. If you look around in bars and clubs, you will see guys who aren’t very good looking, slim or fit, and they still pull hot guys and have loads of friends. Confidence and feeling good about yourself are two of the most attractive qualities anyone can have, and if you have them, what you look like matters a lot less. Of course this is easier said than done, but chances are you judge yourself more harshly than others judge you, so give yourself a break, relax and see what happens. Secondly, if you aren’t happy with how you look, do something about it.

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Join a gym, start jogging or even walking after work and on weekends. Chances are just doing something positive will make a difference and you’ll feel more confident. The fitter you are, I bet the better you will feel. And getting fit doesn’t mean putting yourself on some crazy diet. There’s a big difference between starving yourself and keeping fit, remember that. Anyway, good luck. Jake from Forest Hill

Dear Jack, You need to sort yourself out mate, and I'm not sure that writing to a magazine's going to do it for you. If you're over six-foot and weigh under nine stone then you are not fat, OK? You're skinny and you know that already, otherwise you wouldn't have mentioned it. You either need to change your attitude on your own, or get some proper help to do it. And once you've learnt to love yourself a bit more, I hope you learn to be nicer about the people you sleep with. ‘Crap guys’ have feelings too. Tough Love from Tooting

A counsellor’s opinion Sona Barbosa of the GMI Partnership says:

Dear Jack, It is clear to me that your own body image is affecting how you feel about yourself and it is important for you to understand that body image is an extremely important factor in self esteem for women, men, adolescents and children so you are not alone with your feelings. A poor opinion of your body can cause you


FS118_P26-27_Sortit.qxd:FS 04/06/2010 06:44 Page 27

to have very low self-esteem and self-confidence. A lot of gay men feel pressure to have a perfect body. I mean, we are surrounded by six packs (and I don’t mean drinks) on magazine covers, beefcakes at the gym and those ‘body beautiful’ men with their shirts off at the club. You seem very dissatisfied with your body. This means you may be more prone to dieting, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, smoking, alcohol/drug use, and unhealthy weight loss practices such as excessive exercise, which you already stated you do. Depression and low self-valuation may lead some gay men to use sex encounters as a coping strategy, without considering safer sex practices. Again, it sounds like this is where you are. In the end, body image is really about how you feel about yourself, regardless of what you look like. In a nutshell, when you feel and think poorly of yourself, it shows. So, trying to attract a loving, beneficial partner when suffering from low selfesteem is an uphill battle at best. Another consequence of having low self-esteem is the tendency to find love in all the wrong ways, and all the wrong places, as well as putting yourself at risk along the way. To me, your poor body image (and

low self-esteem) is getting in the way of your happiness and presenting serious risks to your physical health! I would strongly recommend that you consider seeking professional help such as counselling, as this will allow you to look at the ways you talk, think and feel about your body and help you find the things that you are, and you might not believe me, happy about it.

Your body is unique - enjoy it and love it. Focus on your good points. If someone likes you they will see the good and not the bad. Make yourself worthy of love and like yourself first. 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 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. His boyfriend went back to the hotel early, and one thing lead 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 sent to the clinic for a check-up 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

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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FS118_Listings L:FS 04/06/2010 07:53 Page 28

Health

Listings

Getting Masti

Your guide to the services provided by the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme Clinics

gay and MASTI is a weekend workshop for nity bisexual Asian men. It’s an opportu talk and ers oth h wit to get together about your experiences of sex, relationships and life. The group also explores culture, identity, religion, and sexuality, while gaining insight and understanding. The group offers support and ideas to those who are interested in making changes in the future. The next workshop starts on Friday 9 July and takes place in central London.

For a list of GUM services in London visit www.gmfa.org.uk/clinics.

Condoms Freedoms provides free condoms and lube on the scene. They also sell low-cost, high quality condoms and lube via their online shop. Visit: www.freedoms-shop.nhs.uk.

Counselling and mentoring The GMI Partnership offers free sexual health counselling and mentoring to gay men in London. For more information visit www.gmfa.org.uk/counselling or ring 020 8305 5002. You can also visit: www.gmipartnership.org.uk.

ka For more information and to boo k place, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/gw . or ring PACE on 020 770 0 1323

Helplines The London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard: 020 7837 7324. Available daily 10am-11pm. THT Direct 0845 12 21 200. Available Monday to Friday 10am10pm and weekends 12noon-6pm.

Have you just found out you have HIV?

Websites

Have you recently been diagnosed HIV positive? THT’s New Diagnosed group provides a safe, friendly environment where you can meet other men and be supported in coming to terms with having HIV. This weekly group has a six week programme that covers different topics including: the impact of diagnosis, disclosure, the medical aspects of HIV, ‘Sex, relationships, your health and HIV transmission’, coping with emotional issues and looking to the future. There are groups starting in June, July, and August. k/gwk

For more information and to book a place visit www.gmfa.org.u or ring THT on 020 7812 1773.

For information about sex, sexual health and what’s on offer in London visit www.gmfa.org.uk.

Workshops and courses THT and PACE offer free courses and workshops to gay men in London. To find out more about what’s on offer visit www.gmfa.org.uk/gwk. Alternatively, for PACE workshops phone: 020 7700 1323 or visit: www.pacehealth.org.uk. For THT courses and groups phone: 020 7812 1773, or visit: www.tht.org.uk.

FS is edited by Cary James. The FS team for issue 118 was John Adams, Barrie Dwyer, Stuart Haggas, Matthew Hodson, Drew Payne, Shemmy, Gavin Smith, and James Stafford. Cover model: Sebastian FS is part of the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme. 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.

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

You can subscribe to FS for just £7 per year. Contact us 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/fs. Volunteers contribute to the planning, writing, editing and production of FS. To volunteer or donate, contact GMFA using the details to the right. To express your views on HIV services in London, go to www.ergoclear.com/express.

Design and layout by www.christiantate.co.uk

Answers to question seven on page 29 a)True; b)True: Condoms used with water- or silicone-based lube are the surest way to protect you or your partner against HIV infection; c) False: Only 1 in 5 HIV-positive gay men always tell their casual partners that they have HIV; d) False: It is possible to get HIV through your penis; e)True: HIV can be passed on in bodily fluids such as anal mucous or pre-cum, f)False: Oil-based lubricant is bad for latex and can cause condoms to break; g) False: It is increasingly rare for someone to show visual signs of being HIV-positive and there are many reasons why men may not disclose their HIV status; h)True: PEP is a course of HIV medication which you can take if you have been at risk of HIV infection. www.gmfa.org.uk/pep.

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FS111_Survey2:FS 04/06/2010 19:09 Page 29

Please help us improve HIV prevention services across London. Your feedback is vital.

This survey is designed to help us better understand the HIV prevention needs of gay men in London and what you personally have gained from reading this booklet. We hope to learn from your feedback and use it to inform the planning of future HIV prevention resources and services. Please take a few minutes to complete the questionnaire and return it by FREEPOST (no stamp required) to Ergo, which is an organisation conducting an evaluation of the Pan London HIV Prevention Programme, which has funded this booklet. Many thanks 1. Please tell us how you got this copy of FS: Picked up in a GUM clinic Picked up in a gay pub, club or bar Picked up in a sauna Downloaded from a GMFA website From a GMI Partnership Health Trainer From a friend or word of mouth From another HIV or sexual health service (please specify):

I have never had an HIV test and I think I am HIV-negative because I have ONLY RARELY fucked or been fucked without condoms. I have never had an HIV test and I think I am HIV-negative because I have ONLY fucked or been fucked without condoms WITH A REGULAR PARTNER. Other (please specify):

Other (please specify):

2. How many times have you had the result of an HIV test in the last 12 months? None Once Twice 3 times 4 times 5 or more times 3. What do you believe your HIV status is? Definitely HIV-negative (I don’t have HIV) Probably HIV-negative Not sure/don’t know Probably HIV-positive Definitely HIV-positive (I do have HIV) I don’t want to say 4. And what is this belief based on? Please choose the option that most closely applies. I have tested HIV-positive. I think I am HIV-positive although I have NOT had a positive test result. I have tested HIV-negative and have NOT fucked or been fucked by ANYONE since my last negative test. I have tested HIV-negative and have NOT fucked or been fucked EXCEPT WITH A REGULAR PARTNER since my last negative test. I have tested HIV-negative but HAVE fucked or been fucked since my last negative test. I have never had an HIV test and I think I am HIV-negative because I have NEVER fucked or been fucked without condoms.

5. In the last 12 months with how many men have you fucked or been fucked without using a condom? None 1 2 3 or 4 5 – 29 30+ 6. Have you had a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the last year? Yes No If yes, which of the following STIs have you had? (tick all that apply) Gonorrhoea Syphilis Chlamydia Other (please specify):

7. Some of the following statements are true and SOME ARE FALSE. For each of the following please tick whether you think it is true (T) or false (F) or don’t know (?).

T F ? a) Most gay men with HIV get it through anal sex. b) A properly used condom will normally protect you against HIV transmission. c) A gay man who is HIVpositive would always tell me they have HIV before having sex without condoms. d) You can’t get HIV if you are the active/insertive partner in anal sex. e) HIV can be passed through anal sex even when no one cums.

f) Oil based lubricant is safe to use with condoms for anal sex. g) You can always work out someone’s HIV status by how they look or what they say. h) There’s a course of medicine you can take immediately after exposure to HIV to lessen the chances of HIV infection. (After you have completed the questions, you can check your answers on the bottom of page 28)

8. How do you feel about becoming/ being HIV positive? For each statement below please say whether you agree (A) or disagree (D) or are not sure (?).

AD ? I don’t think about it. I don’t really care about what happens to me. It’s just a matter of luck. It’s too late for me to change anything. It’s not such a big deal any more. I worry about it but it doesn’t stop me taking risks. Other (please specify):

9. How do you feel about using condoms? For each statement below please say whether you agree (A) or disagree (D) or are not sure (?).

AD ? I choose my partners carefully so I don’t need to use condoms each time. Condoms don’t work for me. Using condoms takes all the fun out of sex. It’s not my job to look after other people, it’s their look out. Sometimes I don’t use them – I can’t help myself. After sex (or the next day) I often experience guilt, shame or anxiety about the level of risk I took. Other (please specify):

Continues over the page

t

#

To all FS readers


10. How often do you end up having anal sex without a condom after you have said to yourself you were not going to?

14. Do you now feel that you need more information about any of the following? Please tick as many as apply.

I have not had anal sex without a condom since deciding not to. [go to question 12] Once or twice ever. Once or twice a year. Every 2-3 months. Once a month or more. I used to have sex without a condom but don’t anymore. I have never said to myself that I will not have anal sex without a condom.

How HIV is transmitted Safer sex What to do after a possible exposure to HIV Advice on how to use condoms effectively Advice on how to use condoms consistently How to improve sexual choices Strategies for preventing HIV transmission How to cope with situations where you get carried away How to get more control over the sex that you have None of the above Other (please specify)…

11. Thinking about when you have fucked without a condom in the last 12 months, which of the following factors played a part in your having anal sex without a condom? Please tick all that apply. I had been drinking. I was using drugs. I was very upset. I was going through a bad time in my life. I got carried away in the heat of the moment. It felt better without a condom. He didn’t want to use a condom and I went along with it. I knew he had HIV. We’ve both been test for HIV and were negative. I thought it would be OK with this person. He was worth it. It was with a regular partner I never use condoms with. A condom wasn’t available. I was at a sauna, sex party or similar. In other circumstances (please specify):

12. In an average month, how many times have you had anal sex using a condom? None [go to question 14] Once Twice 3-10 times 11-20 times 21-30 times More than 30 times 13. In THE LAST 12 MONTHS how many times have you had a condom break, slip or otherwise fail while you were using it for anal sex? Never Twice

Once 3-5 times More than 5 times

16. After reading FS, do you feel you know more about: Answer a) Much more, b) A little more, c) No more.

ABC HIV Sexually transmitted infections HIV testing How to use condoms effectively How to cope with drug and alcohol use to reduce the likelihood of unprotected anal intercourse 17. As a result of reading this issue of FS magazine are you likely to do any of the following? Answer: a). Definitely will, b) More likely, c) No more likely.

ABC Use condoms for sex Have an HIV test Use a GMFA website Go on a groupwork event Go for counselling Cope better with drug and alcohol use

15. To what extent would you be interested in using any of the following HIV prevention or sexual health resources or services? Say whether you are not interested (N), possibly interested (P), or very interested (V)

18. Please tell us briefly in your own words what specifically you have learnt from this magazine?

NPV

19. We want to know if HIV prevention services are reaching gay men across the whole of London. Please let us know your borough of residence:

Reading booklets Reading leaflets Website Newsletter Calling a helpline Talking with another gay man who understands your situation Talking with a trained professional Having counselling Talking with a group of gay men in the same situation as yourself Having an HIV or other STI test Other (please specify):

20. We also want to work out how many gay men are using HIV prevention services and resources across London. Because you are likely to be invited to fill in more than one instance of this survey, we need to make sure that we don’t double count you when estimating levels of need and service use. To help us do this please give us the following information which we hope will create a unique code that you can remember but which can NOT be traced back to you. First two letters of your mother’s first name The number of the day of the month you were born on First two letters of your own first name

When you have completed the questionnaire please post it to:

ERGO, Freepost ERGO Consulting No post code or stamp is required. Many thanks.

#

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Free Counselling gmi partnership

Email: counselling@gmipartnership.org.uk Tel: 020 8305 5002 Web: www.gmipartnership.org.uk

GMI Partnership services are free and provided by Londoners from diverse backgrounds, who are trained and supervised to work with men across the City.

For some gay men unprotected anal sex is horny, intimate and feels natural. They also worry about the risk of HIV and other STIs. We can offer you a space to talk about safer sex and learn how to reduce risks, regardless of your HIV status or ability to pay.

The GMI Partnership is funded as part of the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme. Š The GMI Partnership 2008


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