STDs are common among all young people but guys who hook up with other guys(sometimes referred to as MSM) have higher rates of some STDs. STDs can be spread through skin to skin contact, contact with genitals, oral sex, vaginal sex, and anal sex.
Why do they have high rates of STDs?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, risky behaviors like not using a condom contribute to the high rates of infections. Homophobia, stigma, and discrimination are also related to the high STD rates among guys who hook up with other guys. .
What STDs are guys who hook up with other guys at risk for?
While they are at risk for common STD infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea, they are also at risk for other STDs like:
Syphilis: Syphilis is a bacterial infection that can become more serious if it’s not treated. You can get syphilis through oral, vaginal, or anal sex, or by kissing someone with syphilis sores on their mouth.
HIV: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. It is transmitted through contact of bodily fluids like blood, pre-cum, or semen.
Hepatitis: There are two types of Hepatitis virus—A and B—which are spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluid. Hepatitis can cause liver cancer or liver failure.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV): HPV is a common virus that can cause anal papillomaand lead to anal cancer.
How can I protect myself against STDs?
Abstinence is the best way to protect against STDs. If someone is choosing to have sex or not, vaccination is important to protect them in the future! If someone is choosing to have sex, here are some way to protect against STDs:
Get screened: Staying up to date on STD screenings can help reduce the risk of spreading STDs. If someone has an STD, getting screened can help them receive access to treatment. Find a clinic here.
Talk to your partner: Everyone should be honest with their partner about STD concerns. Communicating openly with a partner will help someone feel empowered about their health!
Wear a condom: Wearing a condom can reduce the risk for contracting a STD during sexual activity. Putting on a condom can even become a fun part of sex. Find free condoms!
Get vaccinated: It is recommended that guys who hook up with guys get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B. The CDC also recommends that anyone under the age of 26 get the HPV vaccine.
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): If soneone don’t have HIV, PrEP is a pill they can take to help prevent HIV infection if they are exposed to HIV. To get PrEP or learn more, talk to a doctor!
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.
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