I Use Drugs while Having Sex (PnP)

Using recreational drugs before or during sex may increase the risk of picking up or passing on HIV and other STIs. This is because using recreational drugs can lower your inhibitions and make it more likely you will take risks with your sexual health.

If you often use drugs while having sex, consider going on PrEP as a means of added protection against HIV if you have trouble negotiating condom use while high.

If you are going to be in a situation where drugs and sex are likely to be available, carry condoms with you and let your sex partner know you intend to use them. Keep some spares handy. Plan a safer sex strategy. For example, “Before anal sex starts to happen, I will reach for condoms.”

Sometimes the hardest time to maintain your safe sex strategy is during periods of coming down, so keeping condoms handy at all times throughout the party experience is important.

If you realize things are getting hot and you don’t have any condoms handy, ask your partner or anyone else for some, consider lower risk sexual activities like oral sex or find someone who has condoms.

Check out When the Party’s Over for more information on PnP.

Reduce Your Risk

Condoms

Condoms are still an effective tool to reduce the risk of picking up or passing on HIV is to use condoms when having anal sex, particularly with guys whose HIV status you don’t know or are unsure of or with guys whose status is not the same as yours.

When using condoms, it is a good idea to use lube. Take your time; do not rush it! Rushed or aggressive anal sex can increase the likelihood of condom tears and other problems.

PrEP

In reference to HIV transmission, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) refers to a prevention strategy in which HIV-negative individuals take an anti-HIV medication once-a-day. While PrEP is a relatively new prevention tool, studies have shown that an individual who is on PrEP and adheres to treatment guidelines is risk-free from contracting HIV in the occasion that they are exposed to the virus. British Columbians can access PrEP without cost as of January 2018.

Check out HIM’s getpreped.ca for everything you need to know about PrEP.

It’s important to remember that while PrEP effectively protects from HIV, it does not protect from other STIs, so you might want to consider using PrEP along with some of the other risk-reduction tools outlined in this page.

Testing

Knowing your HIV status and that of your partner will allow you to make decisions about how to best reduce sexual risk-taking (this requires regular HIV testing).

Limit Your Partners

Another way to reduce your risk is to limit your number of partners, or establish friends-with-benefits, or regular partners who you communicate with and trust.

Semen

Sometimes guys forget that semen can be on their hands or faces. Try not to get semen in your eyes. Using someone else’s semen as lube when you masturbate can also be risky. If a finger goes in your anus, make sure it doesn’t have someone else’s semen on it.

Harm Reduction (may be less risky, but not risk-free)

Guys reduce the spread of HIV in several other ways:

  • having less risky sex (hand jobs, oral sex, etc.)
  • sero-sorting (looking for partners with the same HIV status)
  • not ejaculating inside each other (pulling out or withdrawal)
  • ensuring that both partners are free of other STIs by getting tested

Undetectable Viral Load

The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and other HIV/AIDS research institutions have found that the risk of HIV transmission for sero-discordant couples (one is positive, the other is negative) is nonexistent if the HIV-positive partner is on treatment, has an undetectable viral load and is free of STIs.