HIV is a fragile virus and doesn’t survive outside of the human body for very long once exposed to air. In contrast, hepatitis C survives better. Not much infected fluid is needed for it to be transmitted.
The following are recommendations given to avoid hepatitis C transmission.
When fisting, always use a new set of gloves and lube. Wash your hands and arms with warm water and plenty of soap between each guy you fist. Be careful not to contaminate the lube.
When using toys, use plenty of lube and try not to share them. If you must, use a condom on the toy and clean it with plenty of warm water and soap after use. Female condoms are a good option for bigger toys.
In group sex, use a new latex condom and water-based lube with every partner you have sex with.
When in a prolonged sex session, check the condom occasionally. Use a new one every so often and add more lube regularly.
If doing recreational drugs, do not share injecting equipment, including fits (needles and syringes), spoons, swabs, cotton wool and tourniquets. If snorting drugs, do not share nasal straws, or other items used to snort.
Do not share razors or toothbrushes, as they can have traces of blood (and therefore the virus), small enough to not be visible.
The Victorian Department of Health recently announced an increase in acute hepatitis C diagnoses over the past year in HIV positive gay men and other men who have sex with men. It appears these infections may have been sexually transmitted.
If you have hep C, the earlier you find out and seek specialist advice, the more likely it is treatment will be successful.
People Living with HIV/AIDS Victoria, Hepatitis C Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre have organised a community forum for HIV positive gay men, their partners and other men who have sex with men to talk about the issue.
The forum will take place on Tuesday, June 14, 6.30pm at the Positive Living Centre, 51 Commercial Rd, Prahran.
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