Hello Boyz readers!
As you will know, I write a regular health column for Boyz where I provide advice and let you know where you can go for help with particular issues. I highlight lots of difference services, not just where I work (The Mortimer Market Centre) but this column is a sponsored one on behalf of The Freedoms Shop which is linked to my service.
We can’t talk about HIV testing (see my column in this issue of Boyz) without talking about HIV prevention, and we can’t talk about HIV prevention without mentioning CONDOMS.
Not everyone likes them, not everyone uses them, and thanks to effective HIV treatment (people with HIV taking HIV meds with an undetectable viral load cannot pass the virus on to their partners, zero risk, undetectable=untransmittable, U=U!) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) people don’t need to use condoms to prevent HIV transmission. Indeed, in terms of preventing HIV transmission U=U (100%) and PrEP (more than 95% if taken correctly) are a bit more effective than condoms (about 90%).
Preventing other STIs
Condoms, along with regular STI testing, prompt treatment and contacting partners to get tested, are effective at preventing other STIs, unlike U=U and PrEP. Condoms aren’t 100% effective, especially against STIs that can be passed on through skin-to-skin contact such as syphilis, herpes and warts, but they still reduce the risk. We’re seeing rising rates of gonorrhoea, syphilis and chlamydia and the risk of all of these is reduced by condoms. All three of these infections can be transmitted from the mouth… in fact the throat is thought to be the main source of gonorrhoea in men who have sex with men! Condoms would reduce the risk but aren’t often used for oral sex.
Aren’t condoms expensive?
They can be but shop around… One major supermarket have Skyn condoms on offer at £7 for ten (I’ve done the maths… 70p a condom) and The Freedoms Shop sells 72 for £24.50 (less than half the price!). You can get a big range of Pasante and Mates condoms from us for JUST £9.99 for 72 condoms – that’s LESS THAN 14p EACH….and all delivered FREE in discrete packaging, to your door.
Had problems with condoms in the past?
There are so many brands in different sizes, textures, materials that if you try enough types, you could well find one that suits you. Try different types of lube too (also available from the Freedoms Shop – our Liquid Silk, for example, is the cheapest in the UK!). Just remember to check the lube you use is compatible with your condoms (for example, latex condoms in particular are weakened by oil-based lube).