For some it's just the occasional slip-up after a big night out, but many men find that they keep putting themselves in the same high-risk situations for getting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STI's). This section looks at some of the most common situations in which men risk their sexual health.
Anyone can find themselves in the situation where sex is suddenly or unexpectedly available but they don't have condoms and lube handy. If you're at a beat, a nightclub or party, and you want to fuck but you don't have any condoms and water-based lube handy, ask a mate, a staff member, even a stranger, if they can help out. Many venue toilets also have condom machines.
All saunas and sex-on-premises venues, and even many night clubs in Victoria and New South Wales, provide condoms and sachets of water-based lube, either in the booths or at the counter. Safe-packs, which contain a condom and a sachet of water-based lube are also available from
the Victorian AIDS Council Gay Men's Health Centre and ACON in New South Wales. These are often distributed at gay community events such as Pride March and Midsumma Carnival in Victoria and Fair Day and Mardi Gras in New South Wales.
Whether the venue, your mate, or your new sexual partner has a condom or not, the choice is always yours whether or not you fuck with condoms. If you're in a situation in which condoms are not available, there are plenty of other things you can do.
Don't make the mistake of trying to tell if your new sex partner is HIV-positive or not, by asking them or judging by their appearance. This is not a reliable method of assessing whether it's safe to fuck without condoms.
See the "Unprotected anal sex" section about why risk reduction methods are not reliable.
If you're sexually active - and especially if you enjoy casual sex - get in the habit of carrying condoms and lube with you. Keep them in your bag or car so you'll always have them handy. Don't store condoms in your wallet or pockets for long periods of time as they can get weakened or damaged.
If, for any reason you fuck without a condom and water-based lube, and you don't know the HIV status of your partner, access PEP straight away.
PEP is a month-long drug treatment. If treatment is begun within 72 hours of exposure to HIV and is followed correctly, in most cases PEP can stop HIV from taking hold in the body. PEP is not a morning-after pill and can have unpleasant side-effects including diarrhoea and nausea, but it's available at The Alfred hospital and St Vincents in New South Wales and other places for emergencies. For more information go to: www.getpep.info.
Many men use alcohol and/or drugs to lower their inhibitions before sex, but too much alcohol can have the negative effect of reducing your ability to protect you and your sexual partner's sexual health. Check out "drug use" for more information.
If you think your use of alcohol and/or drugs is putting your sexual health at risk, help is available. Counselling Services at the VAC/GMHC and ACON in New South Wales help gay and other men who have sex with men to manage their drug and alcohol issues. See the Counselling page at: www.vicaids.asn.auif you live in Victoria and at www.acon.org.au in New South Wales for more information.