(Blogmensgo, gay blog of April 11, 2018) After 30 years of intensive educational work on HIV/AIDS, there is still a lot of ignorance on the subject of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and in Switzerland, as in many other countries, there have been increasing numbers of infections with diseases such as gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, HPV (human papilloma virus), chlamydia and others in the past decade. That is why the Swiss AIDS Federation launched an information campaign on sexually transmitted diseases, which means it no longer limits itself to HIV/AIDS alone, but now includes these new topics.
The campaign is aimed at gay men, heterosexual people and MSM, i.e. men who have sex with men.
Here is a funny video about the use of condoms… (in French):
In May 2018 – get tested!
The strategy consists of two parts: Information and STD tests. Information on the subject can be found on the LoveLife site (in German, French, Italian and English) of the health authority and via the Starman campaign (in French, German and Italian). There is also a list of counseling and testing centers.
Starman offers gay men an all-round test for syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia for only 30 CHF (25 EUR). This is much cheaper than the usual costs of 800 to 1000 CHF (680 to 850 EUR).
For further tests (HIV, hepatitis, etc.), the Swiss AIDS Federation has also negotiated very favorable rates of around CHF 100-200 (EUR 85-170).
Why get tested?
Although condoms offer very good protection against HIV, this protection is not 100%: sexual practices such as fellatio or rimming (oral-anal contact or analingus) still pose an infection risk for HIV, hepatitis B and C when the partners come into contact with blood.
The risk of these infections may be even bigger because some infected people remain asymptomatic and can spread their infection unnoticed.
What is the strategy?
For some STDs (such as HPV and hepatitis A and B) there are vaccinations but not for others (such as HIV) though – these can only be detected by a test.
Sexually active gays should be tested for STDs up to twice a year, depending on their sexual practices. During a test appointment, blood or urine samples, tissue swabs and the like can be used to perform several tests for different diseases at the same time. However, doctors try to keep the number of tests to a minimum, depending on the person, risks taken, symptoms, etc.
In short: Do what you want this spring, but get tested – it costs almost no effort and only little money.
Frank-S / MensGo