How common is HIV?
In the UK HIV has hit gay and bisexual men the hardest. While the number of new diagnoses is declining, about one in four gay and bisexual men with HIV don’t realise they have it.
You may find that in the bunker, some guys won’t be using condoms. They might be living with HIV but have an undetectable viral load due to effective treatment, so aren’t at any real risk of passing on HIV. However, it could be that not everyone with HIV is undetectable, or has tested recently.
Most men catch HIV from someone who doesn’t know they’re positive, and men who have just caught HIV can be very infectious. Unless you can feel confident that a guy is undetectable and on meds, or is negative and on PrEP, if you’ve fucked someone without a condom you may want to think about taking PEP as soon as possible.
What causes HIV infection?
HIV is a virus that weakens the immune system. Having untreated HIV can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). But now, thanks to advances in antiretroviral treatment, very few people in the UK develop serious HIV-related illnesses, and the term AIDS isn’t used much by UK doctors. Instead they will probably talk about late-stage or advanced HIV.
What are the symptoms of HIV infection?
If you’re infected with HIV you won’t usually get any symptoms straight away. But in the weeks after infection you may get flu-like symptoms (seroconversion illness) with any of the following:
- sore throat
- a rash on the body.
Many people don’t get these, or symptoms are so mild they go unnoticed.
If you don’t know you have HIV and it’s left untreated, it will progress through a series of stages.
How is HIV infection treated?
HIV treatment does not cure HIV, but it stops the virus from reproducing in your body. It can reduce the amount of virus in the blood to undetectable levels – this will mean that you can’t pass on HIV.
If someone is tested and begins treatment before HIV damages their immune system too much, they can expect to stay in work and live a long, healthy life.
It’s now recommended that everyone diagnosed with HIV starts treatment straight away, so your doctor will start you on meds as soon as possible.
How HIV is passed on
If someone with HIV has a detectable viral load, they can pass on HIV via some bodily fluids:
- anal mucus (coating of the inside of the arse)
HIV is not passed on by spit, sweat and piss.
Anal sex (fucking)
HIV is usually passed on sexually between men when they fuck without condoms, though the risks vary:
- A detectable man with HIV fucking a negative man is more likely to pass on HIV.
- A negative man fucking a detectable man with HIV is less likely to pass on HIV, but it can still happen.
- HIV is more likely to be passed on if a detectable man with HIV comes inside a negative man.
- HIV can be passed on in pre-cum.
When a man is being fucked, the lining of his arse can tear a little and bleed, making it easier for HIV to be passed on.
HIV can also be in the mucus that lines the arse. A man’s dick touching this mucus during fucking gives HIV a chance to get into his bloodstream through the delicate skin in his urethra (the pipe in his dick that piss comes down), foreskin or head of the cock.
Oral sex (sucking)
Oral has a very low risk of HIV transmission, and only if the guy being sucked is HIV positive and detectable.
The risk from a poz guy with a detectable viral load is higher if the guy doing the sucking has sores or abrasion in the mouth or recent dental work.
Cock piercings might increase the risk of HIV being passed on during oral sex.
Last review: 08/10/2018
Next review: 08/10/2021