“Safe sex is best!” says 26 year-old gay male porn star, Dayton O’Connor. Professionals in the health and LGBT community would agree, yet even with aggressive education campaigns since the outbreak of HIV / AIDS in the mid 80’s, unprotected sex still continues. It’s a sensitive topic and one that generates a lot of discussion.
“It may not feel the best, but let’s face it, the world as a whole is going through tough times and it seems with all the crap out there why people wouldn’t take the small step to at least try to be safe is beyond me,” explained Dayton.
HIV is primarily spread through unprotected sexual contact including anal, vaginal and oral sex. HIV is not spread through closed mouth kissing or casual contact like holding hands or hugging. There is a remote risk of HIV infection from deep, open-mouth kissing if there are sores, bleeding gums or if blood is exchanged. Saliva, tears or sweat have not been shown to be a cause of HIV infection.
Today, more than half of all new infections are among men who have sex with men; coincidentally is also the only risk group for which new infections are on the rise according to Greater Than AIDS.
If you are in a situation, don’t wait for your partner to bring up HIV. Take charge and ask your partner. It’s easy to explain it’s not about trust, it’s about taking care of each other. It’s your health and your life. Have this conversation when you have time, privacy and before things start to heat up.
“I feel like if you are in a committed relationship and there are no other partners and if everyone is clean, then between two adults, so be it as long as no one else is in the picture and you know both partners status, then it’s ok,” Dayton very carefully explained. “The best thing is to be aware of each other status. The question of wrapping before slapping is up to the people doing the deed.”
Dayton, who is in a committed relationship does admit to having unprotected sex.
“I have barebacked in my personal life and that is ok with me,” said Dayton. “I am not sleeping with anyone else. Neither is my partner. So I am not worried. We are two mature adults and it’s our decision.”
There is no vaccine to prevent HIV, nor is there a cure for those who are already infected. There are medications to help people with HIV to live longer and healthier lives.
The US Centre of Disease Control and Prevention recommends sexually active gay and bisexual men to get tested at least once a year. Other health professionals suggest more frequently. It’s best to talk to your doctor. Specifically ask to be tested for HIV and STI’s. The only way to know for sure is to be tested.
It can take as long as three to six months after exposure for antibodies to be measurable in an HIV test. During this time you could test negative for HIV but still be infected and be able to transmit the virus to others.
For more information on HIV testing, visit hivtest.org or speak to your doctor or local health professional.