Protect With Love

With one of the biggest rainbow celebrations on the planet edging on our doorstep, there’s sure to be a f*ck load of fun to be had.

Our community knows how to party and have a gay ol’ time. We’ve had a lot of practice with many a Mardi Gras festival in the years past, and this coming Sydney WorldPride is going to be nothing short of wild.

But before we let ourselves loose and have our way to all the delectable treats to be tasted (we’re talking about men here), we mustn’t forget one golden principle: the importance of protecting ourselves and our lovers from HIV and STIs.

Because as the saying goes, love yourself first. And as another saying goes, protect what you love.

So, this WorldPride, we want everyone in our community no matter who you are or what (or who) you do, to do it safely and with love.

Protect with condoms

Condoms are the ‘original recipe’ of HIV and STI prevention, and even today with more options for protection, they remain a staple in our safe sex toolkit.

Even if it’s not your preference, being ready with a stash of condoms gives you the option to play if, for example, @HotJonny69 from the app or hot Jonny who you met at the bar only wants to do it with condoms. Plus, they’re the only strategy that prevents both HIV and STIs – what’s not to like!

Keeping condoms handy has never been easier; you can find them for free at various WorldPride events or at virtually any grocery or convenience store. Find out how you can find your perfect condom here.

Protect with PrEP

It’s 2023, and we know many guys, both locally and abroad, are already taking PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis).

PrEP is where HIV negative people take medication at specific intervals to prevent HIV infection. It’s pretty cool how far we’ve come and that protecting yourself from HIV can be done just by taking tablets.

PrEP is for HIV only and can be taken on a daily basis either long-term or periodically, or ‘on-demand’ (for cisgender men only). Learn all about PrEP and how to get it here.

If you already take PrEP, make sure you have enough to get through the party season. You don’t want to find yourself short! And if you still have some PrEP, check the expiry date especially if it’s been a while since you last used it. If you’ve taken a break, here’s our guide to restarting PrEP safely.

Protect with undetectable / U=U

An undetectable viral load (also known as U=U, or “Undetectable equals Untransmittable”) is when a person living with HIV has taken treatment effectively and reduced the amount of HIV in their blood to a level undetectable by tests. Being undetectable not only improves their health but also means there is no risk of HIV transmission to their partners.

This means that a hot hook-up doesn’t necessarily need to go cold if you find out he’s poz and “undetectable”. You can still keep things hot and know you’re protected from HIV.

Just like PrEP, an undetectable viral load won’t protect you from other STIs such as gonorrhoea and syphilis, so getting tested once every three months is a good idea. And in any case, you can always consider using condoms for that added layer of protection.

Practising safe sex in all its forms is part of who we are – whether we’re the nails, wig and heels type of person or a strap on a strap-on kinda guy – we all share the responsibility of doing our bit not just for ourselves but for our community.

So, protect yourself with love, and share the love this WorldPride.