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Fucking, making love, or group sex… What’s on your menu? The information you find here on different strategies will help you to prevent an HIV infection and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Six effective and accessible prevention methods. A wide range of possible combinations.     PrEP – Medication before sex PPE – Treatment after sex Testing Condoms Taking viral load into consideration Negociated safety   To learn more, visit the section Your Hook-up Kit. The Project MOBILISE! can also help you make choices and provide you with a number of strategies which can be used together with the ones on this site.   Choose your recipe Be the chef of your sexual health

Using condoms and protective gloves is a reliable way to protect yourself and your partners.   Condoms Because there are lots of different types of condoms, shop around the same way you would for clothes. Condoms can be textured, flavoured, thin, or thick (to help delay ejaculation). Try out a few different kinds to see which you like best. A condom is a reliable method of protection. If condoms split or tear, this is usually because they haven’t been used properly or the packaging has been mishandled. Condoms should be stored at room temperature and shouldn’t be flattened which can cause perforation even if the package hasn’t been opened. Don’t keep condoms in your wallet, the glove compartment of your car, or near a heat source. Before you use a condom, make sure to check the expiry date on the wrapper.  Do not use a condom if the expiry date has passed. Be careful not to damage the condom when opening the wrapper. Pinch the tip of the condom so it doesn’t tear during ejaculation and unroll it down to the base of the erect penis. After ejaculation, withdraw the penis from your partner’s hole while holding the base of the condom so that no sperm leaks out. There are two types of condoms: latex (the most common type) and polyurethane. Some people are allergic to latex or can start to develop an allergy. This can be recognized as an itching, burning, or painful sensation when the skin or mucous membrane comes into contact with the latex. If you are allergic to latex, use polyurethane condoms. They are available in pharmacies and specialty stores. Be sure to use a lubricant that’s compatible with the type of condom you use: For latex condoms, always use water- or silicone-based lubes For polyurethane condoms, use oil-based lubes   Gloves Using a protective glove is recommended if you practice fisting or if you use your fingers to play with someone’s ass or stick your fingers in their hole. As with condoms, latex gloves should be used with a water- or silicone-based lube. If you or your partner are allergic to latex or if you prefer oil-based lubes, use polyurethane gloves (available in pharmacies and specialized stores). If you or your partner are allergic to latex, use polyurethane gloves for fisting or fingering.   You can buy condoms, lube, and gloves in pharmacies and sex shops across Quebec. Kontak also offers safer sex supplies adapted to the way you like to play, and you can place an order from anywhere in Montreal. In Montreal, there are three specialized boutiques in the Village: Wega, 930 Ste-Catherine East (Berri metro) Priape, 1311 Ste-Catherine East (Beaudry metro) Fétiche Armada, 1201 Ste-Catherine East (Beaudry metro) For specialized medical supplies: Dufort & Lavigne ltée, 1227 Rachel East

Testing is a very effective way to take care of your sexual health and that of your partner(s) as well.   In Quebec, any man who is gay, bisexual, trans, or occasionally has sex with men is advised to get tested at least once a year. If you have multiple partners, getting tested every 3 to 6 months is a good way to keep track of your health with respect to HIV and other STBBIs. If you’re living with HIV and have more than 3 partners per year, getting tested for STBBIs every 3 to 6 months is recommended. To find out how often to get tested, use the Take the Test tool that can be found in the column on the right-hand side of this page. Remember that HIV testing can only detect whether you have been infected with the virus after a certain period of time has passed. This is referred to as the window period. This period can vary between a few days and a few months, depending on how your body responds to the infection. Your doctor or nurse will evaluate your situation and let you know when you should come back for another test if necessary. In Quebec, testing and follow-up services are available at community-based clinics, specialized medical clinics and CLSCs. If you have concerns that healthcare professionals might make judgments about you or treat you with a lack of respect, contact your local HIV organization. They should be able to either accompany you or refer you to a healthcare professional with a good reputation for treating all people with respect. You need to present your provincial health insurance card when you get tested for HIV or other STBBIs. Testing is free, but in certain clinics you may be asked to pay a fee for transporting samples to the lab. You can also get in touch with your regional HIV organization. They will direct you to healthcare professionals who will treat you with respect. Enter your postal code here to find an HIV organization in your region.

Lubricants reduce irritation, and irritated skin can create an entry or exit point for HIV and other STBBIs.   Lube provides much better protection than saliva or sperm because these two bodily fluids can transmit certain infections such as gonorrhea. Lubes are either water-, silicon- or oil-based. It’s important to use a lube that’s compatible with the type of condom or glove you are using. Water- or silicone-based lubes should be used with latex condoms and gloves. When purchasing lubricant, make sure the label says “compatible with latex condoms.” Oil-based lubes (Vaseline, massage oil, Crisco, Elbow Grease, etc.) are not compatible with latex condoms. They won’t necessarily cause the condom to split open, but they can cause the latex to deteriorate and create tiny, invisible holes that will let viruses and bacteria pass through. If you’re using oil-based lubricants for fisting or anal sex, be sure to use polyurethane gloves or condoms. These are available in specialty stores and pharmacies and are compatible with oil-based lubricant. Used on its own, lubricant is not a recommended method for prevention infection with HIV and other STBBIs. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that lubricants either increase or decrease the likelihood of contracting an STBBI. Nonetheless, lubricants help to reduce the risk of skin irritation and micro-abrasions, so make sure to use plenty of lube!   You can buy condoms, lube, and gloves in pharmacies and sex shops across Quebec.  In Montreal, there are three specialized boutiques in the Village: Priape, 1311 Ste-Catherine East (Beaudry metro) Wega, 930 Ste-Catherine East (Berri metro) Fétiche Armada, 1201 Ste-Catherine East (Beaudry metro) Kontak also offers safer sex supplies adapted to the way you like to play, and you can place an order from anywhere in Montréal. For specialized medical supplies: Dufort & Lavigne ltée, 1227 Rachel East    

The HIV viral load is the amount of virus present in the blood of an HIV positive person. With anti-HIV treatments, this amount can be reduced.   The risk of transmitting HIV varies depending on a person’s viral load. For some people, it is possible to modify their sexual practices by taking into consideration their own viral load and that of their partner. To make up your own mind on the subject, here is what others have had to say. A high viral load increases the risk of transmission. For example, when someone is initially infected, their viral load is very high and they are more at risk of transmitting the virus. Newly infected people most often don’t know it and think they’re HIV negative. That’s why getting regularly tested for HIV is a good prevention strategy. You may have seen guys in hook-up apps who list themselves as “undetectable.” The term undetectable means that the amount of HIV in the blood is so low that it can’t be detected by conventional lab tests. The lower the viral load, the more the risk of transmission is reduced. In certain circumstances the risk of transmission can even be considered non-existent. According to Quebec health authorities, for the risk of transmission to be negligible or very low for oral, anal or vaginal sex without a condom, the HIV positive person must be taking an effective anti-HIV treatment, not forget any doses, in other words, stick to the prescription, and have an undetectable viral load for more than 6 months. He also must be in a stable and exclusive couple and both must not have any other STBBIs. As you can see, these recommendations are meant for men in couples. Studies done on this prevention method have been carried out among stable and exclusive couples because generally it’s under these circumstances that it can be assured that all of these conditions are met. So what about single guys, fuck buddies and one night stands? In these cases, it’s difficult to ensure that all these conditions are met, in which case the risk of transmission sill be higher. With your partner, you can talk about your last STI tests, viral load and treatment taken on a regular basis in order to make an informed decision. Otherwise, there are other ways of preventing HIV, such as PrEP or condoms, which are also very effective.   Extremely important if you are living with HIV. The information presented does not protect you from the risk of criminal prosecution if you do not tell your partner or partners that you are living with HIV. At this point in time, you must have a low viral load (fewer than 1,500 copies / mL of blood) and wear a condom if you do not disclose your status. For more information, visit the Criminalization of HIV Exposure section of the COCQ-SIDA website (in French only).  

PEP, for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a treatment you can take after having unprotected anal or vaginal sex with a partner you know to be HIV-positive, or who’s HIV status you don’t know. For the treatment to be effective, it has to be started within 72 hours of exposure – the earlier the better. Studies have shown that in cases when the treatment was taken in optimal conditions, HIV tests always came back negative. Healthcare professionals who aren’t specialized in HIV may not be familiar with this treatment. As a result, it’s strongly recommended that you visit a clinic specialized in HIV and STBBIs. If that’s not possible or in the case that you are refused treatment, contact an HIV organization in your community. They should be able to refer you to a place that can help. PEP can be prescribed by any doctor. You can visit the emergency room of a nearby hospital, or make an appointment at a clinic or CLSC. Remember, it’s critical that you be seen as soon as possible and within the first 72 hours after exposure.   You may also have heard of PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which is an additional tool used to prevent HIV for HIV negative individuals. A prophylaxis is a means of preventing an infection. Pre-exposure means before being exposed to the risk of infection.  consists of taking an anti-HIV treatment to prevent HIV infection. PrEP, for HIV, consists of taking an antiretroviral pill when you are HIV negative to minimize the risk of HIV infection through potential exposure (sexual intercourse with anal penetration, etc.). The medical world already uses this concept for different diseases (Malaria protection for travellers for example). The drug needs to be sufficiently concentrated in your body to prevent the infection of HIV. It has been shown that only taking one pill 10 minutes before sex is not enough. You have to keep in mind that PrEP does not prevent against other STIs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis C, syphilis, etc. It is therefore important to use PrEP in combination with other STI prevention methods, such as: condoms and lube, regular and frequent STI testing (For reminder, you can use the online tool for testing reminders), disclosure with your partners, etc. For the time being, if you want to learn more about it, you should speak with a specialized healthcare practitioner.

You might have already heard about PrEP. It’s an acronym for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and is an anti-HIV treatment taken before engaging in sexual activity with a high potential of HIV infection. Many studies have shown PrEP to be effective.   If you want to talk with a intervention worker, get in touch with an HIV organization in your area. To find  an organization near you, enter your postal code in the search tool located in the right hand column. If you live in Montreal, don’t hesitate to call one of RÉZO’s outreach workers at 514-521-7778, ext 226 This information was provided by RÉZO’s.  

PEP, or Post-Exposure Prophylaxis is a treatment that is taken soon after having unprotected anal or vaginal sex with a partner whose HIV status you don’t know.   For this treatment to be effective, it must be started as quickly as possible, within a maximum of 72 hours after the risky sexual behaviour. The sooner you seek treatment, the higher your chances of avoiding infection. Some health professionals not specializing in HIV may not be familiar with this treatment, which is why it is recommended that you consult a clinic specializing in HIV and STBBIs. If this is not possible or if you’re ever refused service, you can contact an HIV organization in your area which will be able to refer you to the right place. PEP can be prescribed by any doctor. You can go to the hospital emergency room nearest you, or even make an appointment at a clinic or CLSC. Remember that it is important that you do this as quickly as possible and within 72 hours after the risky sexual behaviour. If you want to know more about PEP, the following information has been provided by RÉZO.  

So you’ve been in a relationship for a while now, and things are going well. That’s amazing! If you’d like to be able to stop using condoms with your regular partner, this section on negotiated safety is for you. Negotiated safety involves setting the ground rules for sex outside the relationship if you and your regular partner decide to stop using condoms after being tested for HIV and other STBBIs. It’s important that you and your partner continue to use condoms or other safer sex strategies until after you get tested. When you go for testing, the doctor or nurse who examines will be able to give you information on how to proceed. You may have to wait for a period of time and to go back for additional tests in order to be sure that it’s okay to stop using condoms. Testing can only detect an infection after a certain amount of time has passed. This is known as the window period. This period can vary between a few days and a few months, depending on the type of infection and how your body responds to it. The other key component of negotiated safety is an agreement between you and your partner. Take the time to discuss what you’re comfortable with in terms of sex outside the relationship.  For example: Having sex with other people, but no anal sex Anal sex is ok, as long as condoms are used No sex with other people, in other words, being in a completely monogamous relationship There are a number of possible options. The key thing is for you and your partner to have an open discussion and come to an agreement. It’s important to feel comfortable sharing your desires, wants, and needs, as well as your fears. This will help you to make clear, well-thought-out decisions that are based on respect for yourselves and each other. Don’t forget that, aside from getting tested, communication the most important part of this strategy. When broaching the subject, be sure to choose a place and a time when you know you won’t be disturbed and both of you are feeling calm and ready to talk. It’s also important to think about what types of relationships you want to be able to have with other people (a regular fuck buddy? one night stands?). Your partner should also be open about his needs and preferences, so that together you can come to an understanding. Both of you will need to be in agreement about no longer using condoms with one another, and about the conditions under which you will have sex (if any) outside of the relationship. This method can work if both partners respect the agreement. Studies have shown that many couples decide to use this method, but in a third of cases the agreement is not respected. For this reason, it’s also essential that you and your partner have a discussion about what you will do if one of you breaks the agreement. It’s also important that both of you continue to get tested regularly, particularly for STBBIs other than HIV.   Group relationships If you and your partner have a limited group of people with whom you have sex, negotiated safety can still be a useful strategy. The same principles apply, but in this case, everyone in the group needs to participate in the decision-making and respect the following conditions: Getting tested for HIV and other STBBIs, with additional testing as required to confirm the status of each person Establishing a clear understanding on what’s allowed and what’s not allowed in terms of sex within the group and outside of the group Clear consent from each person to stop using condoms with the other people in the group Respecting the agreement and clarifying in advance what you will do if anyone in the group breaks the agreement This method can work as long as the group remains a closed group and everyone in the group respects the agreement.  

We currently have vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, causes of liver disease, and against human papillomavirus (HPV), the viruses that cause genital or anal warts and which can lead to certain cancers.     Getting vaccinated is a personal decision which should be discussed with your doctor.   Hepatitis A and B Hepatitis A and B can be contracted by penetrating or licking the ass of an infected person. HPV can be transmitted through simple skin-to-skin contact or during penetration or a blowjob, even when there are no warts. Since 2008, all children in Grade 4 receive the combination vaccine against hepatitis A and B. This vaccine is known to be effective for life. Talk to your doctor if you have not had the vaccine or if you are not sure if you’ve had it. With a blood sample, your doctor can check if you’ve had it and if it’s still effective. The effectiveness of the vaccine against hepatitis A and B can vary if you are living with HIV. It’s possible that you may need to be re-vaccinated. To know if this is the case, talk to your doctor.   Human papillomavirus Since January 1st, 2016, gay men, men who have sex with men (MSM), bisexual and trans men 26 years old or younger can get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) for free.   The following information has been put together by the Portail VIH/sida du Québec, which can help you make your choice.