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Callers are the guests


Topic: Barebacking

Unprotected Sex, Dangers, Reasons, Pleasures(?)

Barebacking is the term used to describe the practice of gay men who have unprotected anal intercourse. It's a practice that is on the increase. There are dangers involved, especially if you get involved in casual sex with someone you don't know.

AIDS had a profound effect on attitudes and sexual behaviors within the gay community. Safe sex practices tended towards the norm for straight and gay people, but especially within the gay community as they took on board the safe sex message. Condom sales increased, STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) decreased. People understood the seriousness of the message. So why are gay men reversing the trend and taking the risk of having unprotected anal intercourse?

Why Risk It?

There are a number of possible reasons.

Since the early days of HIV/AIDS a new generation of gay men have grown up with an acceptance of the hazards of unprotected sex. The potency of the safe sex message has perhaps diminished over time and this has been helped by advances in treatments.

Another issue is condom use. Condom use is generally viewed by men as less satisfactory and less pleasurable. There is a perceived lack of spontaneity involved and it can be expensive if you on a limited income. There is of course no risk involved in barebacking if both men know that they are not infected with HIV. It can provide an incentive to remain monogamous when you are both committed to the relationship.

If you bareback with someone who is infected with HIV, some other STD, or hepatitis B and C, you are risking your health and ultimately your life. Remember, infected people may appear symptom free so even if your sexual partner looks fit and healthy it can actually mean very little.

Many gay men involved in health-care believe that there are an increasing number of gay's who believe the treatments now available are so effective that HIV and AIDS no longer pose such a risk. The belief that even if you get AIDS it will be not really be that much of a problem to live with is simply not the case. It is true that treatments have improved a lot.

The lives of people infected with HIV and AIDS are lengthening, but there is still no cure. HIV is not one disease. There are a number of different types, more than 10 subtypes in fact, which result in countless strains. If, for example, you catch a second or third strain, it causes what researchers are calling a “super infection”. It dispels the myth that HIV positive partners can have unsafe sex without re-infecting each other.

Is it worth taking a chance?

When you're having fun, drinking or clubbing, the reality of AIDS and the safe sex messages can seem a long way off. You can continue to ignore or dismiss advice and live for today, but maybe you have not had the experience of losing someone close to you, watching their suffering or their death from AIDS, a related disease or liver failure? Unprotected sex is a form of gambling more akin to Russian roulette. There is really no measure of probability you can apply. You may get away it, but you are as likely not to on your first unprotected sexual encounter.

Guest: Callers are the guests


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