A summer without STI:s

Hälsa, sex och hivRFSL

Sexually transmitted infections (STI:s) like gonorrhea and syphilis are still on the rise among men who have sex with men in Europe. STI:s often come without symptoms. Getting tested is therefore the only way to know if you’re carrying HIV or any STI. Below, we've listed some key info on how to protect yourself and others from contracting STI:s this summer (or any other time for that matter).

Transmission

STI:s and HIV are transmitted sexually when body fluids like blood and semen get in contact with mucous membranes located in the ass, throat or genitals. Some STI:s also transmit when mucous membranes get in contact with each other. STI:s like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are relatively easily transmitted, and there’s no way to altogether eliminate the risk of transmission when having sex with others. Using a condom and lube when fucking and avoiding semen in the mouth are, however, two good ways to limit the risk of transmission.

If you’re transgender and/or a man who has sex with other men, you can get free condoms and lube from the Sexperts, either through their website or by sending them an PM on Facebook.

Testing

Left untreated, STI:s and HIV can pose serious consequences to health as well as increasing the risk of contracting other STI:s. STI:s often come without symptoms, meaning that it’s easy to contract an STI or pass one on without knowing it. Getting tested is the only way to know if you’re carrying any STI or HIV. Testing and treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and HIV is free of charge in Sweden. When getting tested for HIV, you have the right to be anonymous.

Syphilis and HIV are tested through blood test. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are tested through urine samples and swab tests. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are so-called local infections that can be found in the genitals, ass and throat. When getting tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, it’s therefore important that you get tested in the ass, genitals and/or throat – depending on where you’ve had sex. To be clear, a urine sample won’t show if you have a gonorrhea infection in your throat.

Does testing easily slip your mind? Register for our testing reminder.

Don’t know where you can get tested? Find your closest reception here.

Treatment

Getting treatment if it turns out you’re carrying any STI or HIV is good for your own health and prevents further transmission. STI:s like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are treated with antibiotics. Resistant gonorrhea, not treatable with available antibiotics, is a growing concern. Getting tested in the right places (ass, throat, genitals) and getting the right kind of treatment is important. Make sure you follow your doctor’s guidelines on how to take the treatment.

There’s no cure for HIV. However, efficient antiretroviral medicines limit the amount of virus in the body to a level where it is no longer detectable. More than 98 % percent of people living with HIV in Sweden have undetectable HIV. Undetectable HIV can not be transmitted. Undetectable HIV is untransmittable HIV.