Aboriginal Gay Men
The great thing about us Aboriginal guys is that we’re unique, with our own culture and identity.
The HIV diagnosis rate for Aboriginal people, adjusted for our smaller population, is around the same as the broader population and that’s because our community is doing a great job of being HIV-aware and staying safe.
However, it’s all gay men and guys who have sex with other guys that are most impacted by HIV, and that includes Aboriginal men.
ARE YOU TESTING REGULARLY?
You may not know it but a lot of cases of HIV transmission are from guys who think they are neg, but actually have HIV and aren’t aware of it. They may do it without condoms thinking they are negative. That’s why regular and frequent testing is so important.
Sexually active gay and bisexual guys need to test for HIV and STIs four times a year. If you aren’t sexually active, or in a monogamous relationship you may test less frequently but at least annually.
If you test regularly, that will help towards ending new HIV transmissions in NSW by 2020, and with rapid HIV testing, it’s easier than ever.
TESTING IS EASIER: CONFIDENTIAL, FREE AND FAST
There are many test sites across NSW you can go to get a test. Find your nearest test site here or alternatively if you’re in Sydney, a[TEST] is a fast, free and confidential rapid HIV and STI testing service, for all guys who have sex with guys. It’s run by friendly, professional and non-judgmental gay peers and your entire appointment will take no more than 30 minutes, including the time it takes to get the result of the rapid HIV test. You don’t even need to have a Medicare card either.
The Aboriginal Medical Services also provides sexual health testing. Visit http://amsredfern.org.au/.
HOW YOU CAN STAY SAFE AND NEGATIVE
Staying safe remains one of the most important ways we can end HIV together.
Safe sex can include a number of different prevention methods. Condoms, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) and UVL (undetectable viral load) are just some of the available HIV prevention methods you can use to reduce your risk of HIV.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE SEX WITHOUT CONDOMS?
If you do happen to fuck without a condom, it is important to know about and practise other ways to reduce risk to help protect yourself and your partners.
If you have many sexual partners, PrEP might be the best way to reduce the risk of acquiring HIV. PrEP involves neg guys taking antiretroviral drugs to protect them around-the-clock from HIV. It’s only one tablet a day to be taken on an ongoing basis.
DO YOU INJECT?
Some people choose to inject drugs. While sharing is part of our culture, don’t forget that sharing injecting equipment is a very high risk for HIV transmission. If you choose to inject, know the risks and your options.
WHY IS TREATMENT IMPORTANT?
The more we know about our status, the quicker we can access treatment so we can protect our health and dramatically reduce the risk of passing on the virus.
If you find out you have HIV, the best thing to do is go on treatment. Treatments today are much better than they were in the past and research shows that early, if not immediate, treatment:
- Increases life expectancy
- Improves health
- Prevents serious illness by more than 50% compared to those who delay starting treatment
Importantly, treatments can lower the amount of HIV in your blood to virtually undetectable levels making it near impossible to transmit HIV to your partners.
Ending HIV by 2020 is possible. As Aboriginal guys, we can make it happen together.