• HIV and safe sex: An introduction

    Here on E-I, we do try to encourage people to practise safe sex. More and more (and more!), we are receiving complaints about people either requesting or offering 'bareback' sex, that is, sex without the protection of a condom.

    When two consenting adults are having sexual relations, ultimately it is their own responsibility as to whether or not they have unprotected sex. The fact of the matter is that if one person has a sexually transmitted infection, it will be passed on if the sex is not protected. This is something we have visited before in this thread:

    (***WARNING: LINK CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES***)

    "Why use a condom? And other sexual health concerns." - Click here.

    The images are pretty grim, however this is the reality. There are always clients seeking the services of bareback sex, and of course, will keep asking until they get lucky. There are always escorts that also provide this as a service for an additional cost, many upon request as they don't (and cannot) list this as a favourite. It only takes one person to have an infection to pass it onto the other, and unfortunately the incubation period for some of this infections can be up to six months, meaning that symptoms are not immediately apparent.

    We have seen people in the past complaining that an escort had 'given them an STI' with the usual excuse that 'the condom broke' (or whatever), trying to publicly name and shame the escort. Most of the time this is a client that wouldn't get his own way, posting this as an attempt to destroy an escort's credibility as a professional service provider. Unfortunately such low tactics blur the reality of this situation, so we do not allow these public warnings.

    Nobody is immune from a sexually transmitted infection. It doesn't matter how clean a person is, nor does is matter what walk of life an individual is from; STIs are not prejudiced. This is an extract taken from a statement from Dr. Derek Freedman, Genito-Urinary Physician at St. James' Hospital during the Irish Government Conference of the Future Direction of Prostitution Legislation in Dublin, 13th October 2012:

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Derek Freedman
    "Well, they come from every pattern of life. Tradesmens, you know itís always interesting, plumbers were number one in the building industry, then the electricians, then the carpenters, bricklayers made as much money but they didnít seem to feature as well.

    Interesting people, often in prominent positions, the captains of industries, politicians, presidents, God knows what. I mean look at Bill Clinton. We forget about the loneliness of people in office and the vulnerability. Tourists, travellers, stag parties, hen parties, all this arises. And we forget there are also female clients. Women go to sex tourism, to Africa, to the Caribbean, and they come in for the, "oh can I have a check-up doctor?" It covers every attitude of life, every age, neophiles, people who have never had sex and their friends kind of think they ought to be lodged. To, I think the oldest person with a case seen was 86 and his wife wheeled him in, and said to me, "Doctor, heís been naughty with the girls at the wrong end of town.""
    This is a very REAL thing that affects anyone from all walks of life.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: HIV and safe sex: An introduction started by samlad View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. samlad's Avatar
      samlad -
      There is some confusion regarding the actual number of people in Ireland that have contracted STIs, but for those of you who are (and should be) concerned, here is some information that might help clarify.

      • According to www.accunon.co.uk, an independent Student STD Survery held across Ireland's colleges and universities showed that....

        Quote Originally Posted by Student STD Ireland View Post
        "A recent survey of 1000 students in Ireland showed some startling trends and statistics. Of the 1000 students surveyed. 84% of students said they were sexually active, 74% had engaged in unprotected sex and a staggering 70% had never taken a Sexually Transmitted Disease test, be it a clinically conducted test or a more readily available STD home test."
      • Here are the number of STI notifications in Ireland by infection and gender (2009) (from www.spunout.ie):



      • This is more evidence from the HSC Public Health Agency to suggest a significant increase in sexually transmitted diseases in Northen Ireland from 2000-2010 and new information of STIs from N. Ireland GUM clinics between January to June 2011:



        *MSM: Men who have sex with men

        The full information and other useful points can be found in this 2012 document from the HSC Public Health Agency: Click here.
    1. samlad's Avatar
      samlad -
      A very important topic we need to cover is HIV and AIDS. Please remember that HIV is a virus and AIDS is a definition, not the same thing, although they do go hand in hand:

      HIV: stands for the "Human Immunodeficiency Virus." It is a virus that affects the body's immune system. It resides in bodily fluids such as blood, semen, urine, feces and vaginal lubrication.

      AIDS: stands for "Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome". It describes that the virus is acquired and is done so most commonly through unprotected sex, however this can also be contracted through sharing needles or contracted via a blood transfusion with infected blood. Babies born to an HIV-positive mother may also contract the disease through the birth canal or through breastfeeding, but this can be prevented in most cases should the right steps be taken (see information below).

      For more information about HIV and AIDS, click here.

      As HIV is most commonly contracted through unprotected sex, it is important to acknowledge that this is another risk of having bareback sex. The mere thought of contracting AIDS will put the fear of the good Lord up anyone's back, however it is important to highlight some of the most common myths and stigmas of HIV:





    1. samlad's Avatar
      samlad -
      There are a couple of other myths that surround the origins of HIV/AIDS.

      In the Ruhama Autumn Newsletter, 2012, it is stated in relation to HIV/AIDS in the sex industry:

      Quote Originally Posted by Ruhama View Post
      "HIV/AIDS, Sexual Health and Prostitution Law: Ruhama asserts that prostitution laws following the Swedish example of criminalising the purchase of sex, while decriminalising those prostituted, are compatible with an effective and appropriate response to the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and sexual health in Ireland."
      It could be argued that forcing the sex industry underground could actually be contrary to this. Many of us already realise that making the purchase of sex illegal will not prevent the purchase of sex, but will drive the industry underground. If the sex industry is forced underground, is this really going to prevent people from unprotected sex? What will happen to the means of promoting safe sex in Ireland? Will this be brushed under the carpet too? If regulating the sex industry comes into play, surely this would mean that more people would be willing to have regular sexual health check-ups without fear of being arrested or given the third-degree? Just something to think about...

      Also to add to that, in the Ruhama Submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality and Defence (2012), it is stated:

      Quote Originally Posted by Ruhama, pg. 13 View Post
      "...most examples of initiatives for HIV prevention in prostitution in this report focus on countries with a far higher prevalence of poverty, HIV/AIDS and/or far lower availability of services and health care for the general population overall (e.g. Kenya, Brazil, India). In Ireland, the rate of HIV among the adult population (19-49 years) is 0.2%, compared with 6.7% in Kenya."
      The reason for bringing this point up is because this actually relates to one of these common myths. First of all, ask yourself this question...

      Q: Where does HIV/AIDS come from?

      A: Is it...

      a) a gay people disease?
      Only 1% of human beings are naturally immune from HIV, this means that 99% of people on Earth can get HIV regardless of their sexual orientation. While early in the recognition of the spread of HIV homosexual men were the target of study, today HIV is spread far more by heterosexuals than homosexuals

      or...

      b) a problem only in places like Africa and/or amongst black people?
      In total around 42 million people in the world live with HIV/AIDS, and 70% of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. That being said, HIV still continues to spread beyond the borders of Africa, especially to countries with high rates of poverty and inequality. Currently Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and Latin America have the highest rate in growth of HIV infection. Eventually HIV globally will overtake HIV in Africa.

      There are more points covering HIV/AIDS on the Skeptic Project website.

      Here are the statistics from the 2nd Quarter of the of the 2012 Quarterly report on HIV from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPCS):





      Now take a look at the statistics in Ireland from 2000-2011:



      *IDU: Injecting Drug Users

      The number of cases by probably route of transmission of heterosexual relations have kept at a steady level (with a peak in 2001), however consider that for this category in 2011, for the year, there were 108 cases. Just in the first two quarters of 2012, there have been 54 cases, meaning that still, the numbers have not dropped. There has been an obvious increase in the number of homosexual (MSM) since 2000, however there isn't exactly a massive difference between homosexual and heterosexual transmissions in recent years.
    1. samlad's Avatar
      samlad -
      In the UK (including Northern Ireland), there have been cases of successful prosecution for those that with HIV that have intentionally transmitted the virus or failed to disclose that they carried the virus. Those that had been prosecuted had been under the Section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act (1861).

      According to the Gay Men's Health Charity (GMHC):

      Quote Originally Posted by GMHC View Post
      "A number of people in the UK have been prosecuted and jailed for transmitting HIV to their sexual partners. All of the prosecutions in England and Wales to date have been brought under Section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act. This act came into law in 1861 and so was not designed to deal with cases of HIV transmission. Because of this, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published a policy statement on prosecuting people for recklessly or intentionally transmitting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections in March 2008, with accompanying legal guidance which was updated in June 2010 The guidelines were written to show what makes a prosecution for transmitting HIV more or less likely. It's worth noting that this guidance applies to England and Wales only, although the Offences Against the Person Act still applies in Northern Ireland. Different laws apply in Scotland."
      For the full details and criteria of a successful prosecution for the reckless transmission of HIV (according to the GMHC), click here.

      It is difficult to find any cases of any successful reckless HIV transmission prosecutions in Ireland, however any suspected cases of this should be reported to the Gardai.

      Unfortunately people with the virus are subjected to discrimination; as we know this attracts much media attention in the sex industry, naming and shaming individuals just to sell their papers. Known HIV carriers are often verbally attacked and are assumed to be gay. Fortunately there are campaigns run to fight against this stigma and prejudice, such as the Stamp Out Stigma campaign, run by a consortium of partners. To read more about this, click here.
    1. samlad's Avatar
      samlad -
      Going back to the point of people seeking bareback sex, do take note that there are people in the world known as 'Bugchasers'.

      Bugchasers are people that have regular unprotected sex in order to try and deliberately contract the HIV virus! 'Gift givers' are people infected with the HIV virus that assist in fulfilling the needs of those that are bugchasing by having unprotected sex with them.

      So why do people bugchase? One theory is that not all bugchasers set out to actually contract the virus, but have bareback sex for the thrill of participating in such a dangerous activity. According to Seamus Gearin's online article, "Suicide by another name":

      Quote Originally Posted by Seamus Gearin View Post
      "Posessing the desire to seek an infection like HIV is a bizarre "kink" to have. At the same time, there are a slew of other disturbing, damaging and seemingly bat-shit crazy habits and fetishes you can look up with the click or tap of a button."
      For more information, read the Wikipedia definition: click here.
    1. samlad's Avatar
      samlad -
      • From 1936 - 1980, the sale of condoms (and all contraception) in Ireland was illegal. Fortunately The Health (Family Planning) (Amendment) Act in 1985 liberalised the law by allowing condoms and spermicides to be sold to people over 18 without having to present a prescription.
      • The Law reflected the moral teachings of the Catholic Church; The Catholic Church teaches that human life and human sexuality are both inseparable and sacred. Because Catholics believe God created human beings in his own image and likeness and that he found everything he created to be "very good," the Catholic Church teaches that human body and sex must likewise be good.
      • It is important that anyone with an active sexual life should get regular sexual health checks, regardless of having protected sex or not. Remember that some STIs can also be contracted orally or through 'pussy rubbing' (rubbing the penis against the vagina without protection); they are not necessarily contracted through penetration.
      • The incubation period of STIs can be anything from 2 weeks to 6 months, depending on the infection. This means that the infection will not be immediately apparent. For more details, click here.
      • If it is suspected that there is someone knowingly working with the HIV virus, please contact the Gardai immediately. If you suspect that you may have had sexual relations with a carrier of the HIV virus (protected or unprotected), ensure that you seek medical tests as soon as possible. It is unlikely that you will have contracted the HIV virus through protected sex, but please do double-check with a health professional.