Who we are… 

m4mHealthySex.org is a joint effort between the HIV Prevention and Care Project and the Pitt Men’s Study at the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh. Our goal is to provide up-to-date sexual health information for men who have sex with men. Click on the menu or the page links above to find testing and care resources, including information about PrEP.

You can also scroll down for the latest blog posts as part of our archive of sexual health information…

HIV activist learning modules: engaging our community in HIV prevention policy advocacy

From thebody.com and the Treatment Action Group

While many of us who come from communities highly impacted by HIV have the lived experiences and the passion required for HIV prevention advocacy, developing an advocacy agenda and getting up to speed on the current state of HIV prevention science is not always easy. In order to support the efforts of prevention advocates across the United States, Treatment Action Group has developed a series of modules to help support activists’ capacity needs and to develop advocacy action plans. The slides, handouts, and webinars in each module focus on how to identify and change the governmental, organizational, and institutional policies that create roadblocks to comprehensive HIV prevention in our communities. The materials are useful for personal education or group discussion on HIV prevention and policy advocacy.

Go to thebody.com to find links to each of the learning modules.

Optimal Care Checklist available for men who have sex with men

for men onlyWhether you are gay, bisexual or any man who has sex with other men (MSM), there are certain health issues that are important for you to talk about with your doctor. This brochure entitled Your Sexual Health, published by the National Coalition of STD Directors and the National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, is designed to help you get important health care specific to the wellbeing of gay and bi men.

Issues such as Pre-Exposure Prophylactics (PrEP), rising STD rates in the community, getting vaccinated for Hepatitis A & B and for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are just a few of the topics you might want to discuss with your health care provider. Your Sexual Health can help you break the ice. Being informed is an important first step in protecting yourself and your community.

National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day: The realities of our lives

From the HRC blog

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention caused a media firestorm when it announced that Black men who have sex with men in the United States now have a 50 percent chance of being diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.

Youth and HIVBut for us, this is not some abstract statistic. It is the reality of our lives. And it is not the whole story either. Often lost in mainstream coverage of HIV are the ways stigma and discrimination put young people like us at increased risk for HIV – while also limiting our ability to get tested or seek treatment.

How can we take steps to reduce the spread of HIV if our schools failed to offer comprehensive sex education? How could we be expected to take advantage of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis – the once-daily pill regimen that can prevent HIV – if there were no providers in our communities willing to prescribe it? How could we be expected to adhere to our medication and reach an undetectable viral load if we were constantly worried about where were going to put our heads at night? Or, what food we were going to eat? These are the questions young people are grappling with as we continue to make-up more than 25 percent of all new HIV transmissions in the U.S. These are the questions that demand answers.

But rather than scaring young people into submission with reminders of how terrible things used to be, we should be empowering them to make smarter, healthier choices. Young people don’t need to be shielded from the truth about HIV and AIDS. What we need is love, compassion, and mentorship from the people around us. What we need are laws and policies that affirm all of who we are. Only then will an “AIDS-free generation” ever truly be in sight.

Continue reading on the HRC blog.

The gay sex questions you’re afraid to ask your doctor

From the Huffington Post

No one likes going to the doctor. It’s scary.

But for gay men, it’s even scarier. For one, gay men experience a great deal of stigma and shaming, which makes difficult conversations even harder. Gay men, as a population, are also at higher risk for certain sexually transmitted diseases and conditions. That’s also scary. Lastly, predicting a health care provider’s response to gay-specific isn’t easy. Some doctors are totally comfortable talking about gay sex and gay men’s health; in other instances, doctors shut down entirely.

The reality is, gay men need to feel empowered to have difficult conversations with their doctor. After all, your life is literally on the line. And if your doctor doesn’t respond with professionalism and understanding, it’s time to find someone new.

To get the ball rolling, I asked the gay internet (i.e., my Facebook page) for questions that they’re afraid to ask their doctor — and walked the walk by asking my own doctor, Dr. Jay Gladstein. Here’s what he had to say:

Awareness of treatment’s impact on transmission is transforming the lives of couples of mixed HIV status

From aidsmap.com

A greater understanding of the impact of HIV treatment on prevention is changing the experience of being in a relationship with a partner of a different HIV status, according to a qualitative Australian study published last week in the Sociology of Health and Illness. A biomedical intervention appears to be having unexpected effects – loosening the association of serodiscordant relationships with ‘risk’ and helping couples to experience their relationships as normal and safe.

Asha Persson of the University of New South Wales reports that people’s views about treatment as prevention have changed significantly in recent years. She previously researched the topic in 2009, soon after the ‘Swiss Statement’ was issued. At that time, people in a relationship with a partner of a different HIV status often expressed scepticism or uncertainty about the idea that HIV treatment could make a person non-infectious. They did not always see the relevance of the information to their own lives.

But in her more recent interviews, conducted in 2013 and 2014, couples readily discussed the implications of having an undetectable viral load. HIV treatment appears to be transforming the social and sexual lives of people living with HIV and their partners.

The research specifically focuses on so-called ‘serodiscordant couples’, in other words those in which one person has HIV and the other does not. The public health literature on serodiscordant relationships typically focuses on the risk of HIV transmission and tends to see such a relationship as inherently problematic. In contrast, Persson found that her interviewees wanted to stress how normal and positive their relationships were, with HIV being seen as ‘no big deal’.

Read the full article on aidsmap.com.