2015 saw the highest number of new HIV infections on record in New Zealand. Now more than ever we need to keep each other safe from HIV. If you are sexually adventurous then you have a big part to play in ending HIV in New Zealand.
Whatever you are into we want you to be having great, safe sex. Condoms provide the most effective barrier against HIV and many other STIs. They’re cheap, readily available and do a good job of keeping you safe.
PreP is a daily pill that provides protection from HIV and is an option for those who struggle with condoms. PrEP is not yet easy to access in New Zealand but work is going on behind the scenes to change this. Find out more about PrEP here.
Fucking with someone who is undetectable will eliminate your risk of HIV transmission with that partner.
New Zealand has seen massive spikes in other STIs, so remember that PrEP and U=U only prevent HIV - keep condoms in the mix with casual partners to help prevent other STIs.
Head to our chemsex page to find a whole range of harm-reduction strategies and information.
BDSM AND KINK
If BDSM and kink are your bag then you’ll be no stranger to setting boundaries. Keeping everyone safe starts with consent, using safe words and signals to make sure limits are clear.
Anal sex is a big feature for many people who like to kink it up, so having condoms and lube on hand is crucial for keeping everyone safe – they still provide the best barrier against HIV and a number of other STIs.
If you are hooking up casually it’s really hard to know for sure what a person's HIV status is, or if they're undetectable. Even if they tell you they're negative, or undetectable, it is best not to take the risk of fucking without a condom.
KNOW YOUR FUCKING RISK
Anal sex without a condom is the riskiest sex act when it comes to HIV transmission – that’s because HIV can be present in cum and pre-cum and the lining of the ass is really good at absorbing the virus.
Oral sex carries a low risk of HIV transmission as saliva provides a natural barrier against the virus. There is a risk of transmission during oral sex if an open and bleeding sore comes into contact with semen containing HIV.
You can’t get HIV from kissing someone, masturbating together, giving or receiving a hand job.
You might also draw blood during sex, especially if your sex involves whipping, piercing, tattooing or cutting. To stay safe in these scenarios, make sure that any toys that may have blood on them are not shared, or if they are shared, they are properly sterilised between users.
Branding carries no risk of HIV transmission as long as the wound is properly cauterised.
Fisting or handballing has no risk of HIV transmission, although it requires you and your partner to be very relaxed without being deadened to any sense of pain. Fisting can damage the ass if it’s too hard, fast or goes on for long periods of time.
Shit play or scat, also known as scatophilia, carries no risk of HIV, but other things can be passed on including Hepatitis A and intestinal parasites. If there are breaks in the skin, try to avoid playing near these, as this increases the chances of infection.
Into golden showers, water sports or urination during sex? HIV cannot be transmitted through urine, but other things can if urine enters the mouth, anus or comes in to contact with broken skin.
Sharing your toys? Make sure you use a new condom with each partner and wash them thoroughly with soap or disinfectant before and after each use.
THE MORE YOU FUCK WITHOUT A CONDOM THE MORE YOU NEED TO TEST
If you are sexually active you need to test for HIV twice a year. Make testing for HIV part of a regular check-up for STIs. Regularly fucking casual partners without condoms? Your risk of HIV is really high - you should test every 3 months.
PrEP (PRE-EXPOSURE PROPHYLAXIS)
If keeping the rubbers on is a struggle, you may want to consider getting on PrEP. PrEP is a pill taken once a day by HIV-negative guys that radically reduces the chances that you’ll get HIV. Find out more about PrEP here.
TREAT AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE
Most people on successful treatment for HIV have full and healthy lives. Treatments these days are very effective at suppressing the virus and significantly increase life expectancy. There’s now solid evidence from the START study that getting on treatment early decreases the chances of developing conditions such as liver disease or cancer by more than 50%. Many people who start treatment early are able to achieve an undetectable viral load within 6 months of starting treatment. If you are able to maintain an undetectable viral load, there is no risk of HIV transmission through sex - even without condoms.
GETTING MORE OF US TO TREAT
In New Zealand we estimate there are 3,500 people living with HIV but only around 2,059 diagnosed and on treatment. This means there are over 1,000 people living with HIV in New Zealand who haven’t started treatment.
If you are sexually adventurous you have major role to play in shifting these numbers by staying safe and testing often. If you are diagnosed positive, then access treatment as early as possible. Encourage your friends and partner(s) to do the same.