An ounce of prevention…

Tips for gay men to protect themselves from unwanted sexually transmitted diseases

It is no secret that men who have sex with men are at increased risk of contracting HIV, the virus that can lead to developing AIDS. Sexually active gay men are also at risk of getting other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis. The Mayo Clinic recommends a number of preventative measures to protect against acquiring unwanted infections, including:

• Have yourself and your partner tested: Many people do not know they are infected with HIV and so on unless they are tested; don’t have unprotected sex unless you are certain that both you and your partner are infection-free.

• Use a condom: Use a new latex or polyurethane condom each time you have anal sex; use of a condom is also recommended when engaging in oral sex.

• Don’t use oil-based lubricants: Oil-based lubricants—such as petroleum jelly and hand lotion—can weaken latex condoms, causing them to break. Use only water-based lubricants.

• Don’t share sex toys: Also, keep them safe from germs by cleaning them before and after every use and storing them covered with a condom.