Health4Men’s innovative mobi site provides access to important sexual health information specifically for MSM who may not have access to the internet.
It includes information for both HIV positive and negative men. In addition to finding information on HIV and STI prevention, gay and bi men who access the site also have access to an array of information on HIV-related treatment issues.
The site includes information on mental health and lifestyle questions, responsible sex and recreational drug abuse.
The site is unique in that men can post questions to the Health4Men team and will later see responses on their cell phones.
Following are a selection of questions posted to the site, with answers from the Health4Men team.
Q: I had a random with a guy and the condom tore during ejaculation, what do I do?
A: Remember that the risk of HIV infection is related to exposure to another guy’s semen entering your bloodstream, which can take place very easily if his semen enters your anus. In the event of a condom breaking, you have 72 hours in which to commence PEP – post-exposure prophylaxis. This is a course of ARV medication that you’ll need to take for 28 days, aimed at reducing the risk your becoming positive. The earlier you commence PEP the better! For more info on PEP see Health4Men’s brochure here: http://www.health4men.co.za/resources/entry/pep/
Q: When I shag my boyfriend he never has an erection and I worry that he doesn’t enjoy it even though he says he does, can this be normal?
A: What you describe sounds perfectly normal – many guys don’t have an erection while they bottom for anal sex and this has nothing to do with their level of enjoyment. Rather trust him when he says he is having fun and don’t let this come between you!
Q: I met a guy online and he wants us to hook up. I have not been out as gay for very long. He asked me if I am into edging and I didn’t know what to say? I think he could be nice but I don’t think I can get into weird kinky stuff. Where can I find out about all the gay sex terms without looking like a ‘plaasmeisie’ or something?
A: Basically it implies not allowing yourself, or possibly your partner/s, to cum quickly… you keep yourself (or your partner/s) on the edge of orgasm for as long as possible. Many guys do this naturally when they jerk off (masturbate) by slowing down when they get close, in order to make their orgasm feel more intense. Most guys would not think of edging as being weird or kinky.
Q: I have small reddish marks on the forehead of my dick and I feel burning sensation when I pass urine, but this happens on intervals and not an on-going thing. What does this mean?
A: Your symptoms could mean that you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Some STIs can cause intermittent symptoms. Herpes infection can cause small red bumps or blisters on the head of the penis and if there are any of these sores in the urine-tube, you could experience pain when passing urine. I recommend that you see a health provider to screen you for STIs and advise you about what to do.
Q: I am 26 year old male, been HIV positive for two years. Recently I noticed small grey lumps around my anus and on the lining of my anus. Where can I get treatment for warts or how can I have them removed?
A: Anal warts are very common and are caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Warts can be treated in many different ways which include freezing them off, burning them, using anti-wart creams and surgical removal. Which method to choose depends on the size and location of the warts. Small warts can be treated with creams, heat or freezing but large ones may need surgery. Free wart assessment and treatment is available from all Health4men clinics. Best to get warts treated sooner rather than later. The longer they are left untreated the more difficult to treat.
Q: How long will it take to get back to work after circumcision?
A: The main thing keeping you off work might be pain or discomfort. This should not last more than a few days and can be managed with painkillers. You will be able to return to work as soon as the discomfort has settled. Remember that you cannot be sexually active until the wound has healed completely and properly.
Q: Are there any ARVs that can be taken every six months?
A: At the moment, there are no ARVs that can be taken only six monthly. In the past, people on treatment had to take multiple pills many times per day. New technology has improved ARVs so they can now be taken only once a day with little or no dietary restrictions. This is much more convenient than before. Scientists are working on ARVs that can be given as an injection which would last for a few months, but this is not available yet.
Q: Is it a good idea to circumcise when you are HIV positive?
A: The main reason that circumcision is being promoted in this country is for HIV prevention in HIV negative men. Obviously this is not relevant to HIV positive guys. There are some other benefits to being circumcised such as easier hygiene and possibly less risk of some other STIs. Some guys like to get circumcised for these reasons even if they are HIV positive, but some men prefer to be uncircumcised because they worry that they might lose sensitivity if they get circumcised.
Q: I started on ARVs two weeks ago. First week, no side effects but week two was dreadful. How long do the side effects last?
A: Most people starting ARVs will have some side effects during the first few weeks of treatment. Most of these side effects fall into the “minor” category, are not serious and get better on their own. The vast majority of people on ARVs are side effect free after eight weeks.
To access Health4Men’s mobi site, visit h4m.mobi on your phone or on your pc. Look out for a new extensive range of fact sheets on the mobi site or read these on the Health4Men website at www.health4men.co.za.