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Healthy lives and safer sex

There's no doubt that having a positive attitude towards yourself goes a long way to keeping healthy. It's also important, in whatever you do, that you look after yourself and consider your actions in relation to others.

This is particularly useful advice when it comes to sex. Whether it's a relationship or a one night stand, sex with another man can feel great and should make us feel good about who we are. Sex with other men can be whatever you want it to be and it's important to be clear about what you do want to do and what you don't. As with anything, people have their likes and dislikes and it's important that you talk them over with your sexual partner.

HIV cannot be passed on through wanking (masturbating), kissing, touching or hugging. The risk of transmitting HIV through oral sex (cock sucking) is believed to be very low but if either of you have cuts or sores in the mouth, you should use condoms (flavoured ones taste much better).

Anal sex (fucking), is the riskiest activity as far as transmitting HIV is concerned but by using suitable condoms and lubricant every time you fuck you can substantially reduce the risk. Of course, there is still a risk if the condom breaks, leaks or comes off. Lubricant is essential as it makes it safer and easier, so always use plenty of water based lube. Don't use oils, creams or lotions such as Vaseline or baby oil as they weaken the rubber in condoms in seconds.

While on the subject of sexually transmited diseases, it is worth mentioning that Hepatitis B is far more prevalent than HIV among gay men and it is much easier to become infected with it. The good news is that there is a vaccine against Hepatitis B.

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