, WHAT'S YOUR NUMBER?
Each guy has a number that works for him.
Take the quiz to find your number.
Find your Number
How often should you test for HIV? Take the quiz.
If you and your partner (boyfriend, friend with benefits, husband) want to give up condoms, you should both get tested, but only after 3 months of using condoms consistently. Assuming you are not exposed to HIV outside your relationship, you can both feel certain.
This website is designed for gay guys and other men who have sex with men. For sexual health advice for other folks, check out the BC Centre for Disease Control.
It sounds like you already know your HIV status – this is a quiz for guys who may not know their status, or who are HIV-negative. To find resources for HIV-positive guys, please click here.
Knowing your HIV status is an important part of a healthy sex life. Testing is the only way to know your status for sure. Some guys should test for HIV more often, depending on the type of sex they’re having. Guys who are more at risk should test every 3 months. Guys who are less at risk should test every 12 months. When it comes to HIV testing, everyone’s got a number. HIM now offers free email and text messaging reminders.
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Gay men have a variety of ways to determine when to test for HIV. For some, it’s a routine event that’s happened since they became sexually active; others test more sporadically, perhaps before starting a new relationship. The BC Centre for Disease Control, working in collaboration with HIM, Vancouver Coastal Health and other partners have created four testing guidelines for sexually active gay men in Vancouver.
MORE AT RISK? TEST EVERY 3 MONTHS.High-risk sex includes anal sex without a condom with a partner whose status is different than yours, or unknown to you. Read more
To reduce your risk of picking up HIV, use condoms during anal sex, and reduce the number of partners you’re having anal sex with, or opt for lower-risk activities (like oral sex or mutual masturbation). HIV test “window periods” are shorter now: you can now get tested more often, and get your results sooner.
LESS AT RISK? TEST EVERY 12 MONTHS.Low-risk sex includes oral sex, anal sex where condoms are used and sex with a regular partner whose status you know (like a boyfriend or a husband). Read more
Low-risk doesn’t necessarily mean no-risk. Even guys who may consider themselves no-risk should test for HIV every 12 months. Sometimes, a risk event may happen (by accident, mistake, or even planned). If so, you may want to change your testing pattern to every 3 months, or follow the Test After a High-Risk Event guidelines (below).
TEST AFTER A HIGH-RISK EVENT.Sometimes, high-risk events happen. If you’ve had a condom break, or had anal sex without a condom with someone whose status you weren’t completely sure of, get tested. Read more
Guys who have recently picked up HIV may be in the “acute” stage. Guys in this stage do not usually know they are infected but HIV is replicating quickly insider their bodies, making them much more likely to pass on the virus. In BC, you can now get an accurate HIV test 10 days after a risk event. Don’t wait to get tested.
TEST BEFORE GIVING UP CONDOMS.If you and your partner (boyfriend, friend with benefits, husband) want to give up condoms, you should both get tested, but only after 3 months of using condoms consistently. Assuming you are not exposed to HIV outside your relationship, you can both feel certain. Read more
Some guys have a hard time being monogamous. Some guys think they are in a monogamous relationship when they are not. Discussing sex outside the relationship may be a way of reducing future risk. For instance, you may decide that if sex outside the relationship occurs (intentionally, or in the heat of the moment) it should be as low risk as possible. If you or your partner has a high-risk event, talk about it, and get tested right away.