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This is not a test

Sean Cody released its first bareback scene in December 2011. It has since posted many more, including this one with Aidan and Joshua. IMAGE 1 OF 1
For all the good the internet has done — what with its limitless amount of instant knowledge and endless supply of dick pics — it’s also had some rather unfortunate, unintended consequences: specifically, the enabling of hypochondriacs everywhere. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone on to WebMD because of minor symptoms and walked away convinced I had Ebola.

Yet for all the information available to us, there’s still a rather noticeable dearth in society’s understanding of how STIs are transmitted and treated. I’m just saying, when I have to explain to someone 10 years my senior that a regular condom prevents the transmission of HIV and I don’t need to wear “some sort of super-condom” (his words, not mine) when I have sex with someone who’s positive, something’s fucked up.

Recently, Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon wrote about the rising trend of mandatory STI testing in gay porn. The old standard used to be that gay porn was all about condoms without mandatory testing, while straight porn was the inverse: Condoms, boo! Testing, yay! But with more gay porn sites being owned by straight parent companies nowadays, mandatory testing is more common in the world of gay porn.

In a theoretical, perfect universe (let’s call it Earth 2), this would be a good thing, right? After all, getting tested regularly is part of being a responsible, sexually active adult, and combining testing with proven science and modern medicine ensures that common sense dictates how things are run, rather than paranoid poz-phobia.

The only problem with that, if my complete lack of subtlety hasn’t clued you in, is that we don’t live on Earth 2.

Consider this, if you will: a typical safe-sex porn scene involves any combination of kissing, unprotected oral, unprotected rimming, protected anal and then cumshot. The odds of contracting HIV from this setup are actually rather low since the primary modes of transmission are blood or semen coming into direct contact with the blood stream or mucous membranes (both located in the anus), which is protected quite efficiently by, you guessed it, condoms. Diseases that can be quite easily transmitted through scenes like this include herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and hepatitis.

Yet the focus is still on HIV.

Furthermore, since HIV shows up on tests only after a three-month window, these tests prove only that the performer hasn’t sero-converted at that moment, and the test becomes less accurate with every minute that goes by. Thanks to this three-month window, tests essentially become security blankets, rather than an effective method to prevent transmission.

Should performers be getting tested regularly for STIs? Of course they should. Anyone who is sexually active should be getting tested. Should said testing be mandatory and controlled by the industry? Not so much. I’m sure studios have good intentions here, but performers should be taking medical advice from trained medical professionals. Ultimately, the best defence against infection, more so than testing and even condoms, is knowledge.
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Comments

SupremeCourt to prosecute HIVs who don't disclose
YAY!!! The Supreme Court will prosecute HIV+s who do not disclose their status to sex partners; who do not use condoms; and whose viral count is more than zero. One of the concepts that was considered is that every person has a right to know if they are about to have sex with an HIV+ person, to be truly able to knowingly consent to that sexual activity. It is important to know of a prospective sex partner's HIV status, to be aware that they have a small chance —nonetheless a chance— of catching an HIV infection and if they do catch HIV then they will continue suffering for the rest of their lives. That sounds reasonable to me.
The Globe&Mail: “Specifically, today's decisions said that in order to obtain a conviction for aggravated sexual assault, the Crown must show that an accused person failed to disclose his or her HIV status despite there being "a realistic possibility" of transmission.” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/hiv-disclosure-can-be-waived-under-certain-conditions-top-court/article4591389/
Rather Low is NOT ? Zero
“The odds of contracting HIV from this setup are actually rather low...” Rather Low is NOT ? Zero. Condoms do break and accidents do happen, so “this setup” is not 100% controllable. AND, if you are the one getting HIV for the rest of your life, then statistics become meaningless. The “3-months window” is cumbersome and misleading, but that method of general testing is the best we have right now. With regular testing HIV can be identified —that is the important point. I would rather know than not know if I am HIV+. Knowing of one's disease states can make someone more careful and less likely to take chances that could infect yet another person. One can glibly throw around slogans referring to low viral count and lowered infection rates —but those are only words. If we think of HIV infection as a lifelong disease which needs to be controlled with regular expensive medication, which can have terrible gastro-intestinal side effects and even osteoporosis —then it is not so glamourous. Some people cannot tolerate the medication or do not respond to it and will probably develop AIDS. As well, HIV+s regularly suffer from opportunistic infections: bronchitis, pneumonia, lymphoma, etc. Why put even one more person through all that?
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