titleIllustration_facts_1220x220

FACTS_HIVAIDS_428x300

HIV is an infection that can be, among other ways, transmitted during sex, and also by a variety of sexual practices. It is classified as a chronic infection because there is currently no cure. There are medications that reduce the amount of virus in the body and the course of the infection, and which prevent the person living with HIV from developing what we call AIDS. The treatment is usually called antiretroviral drugs, ARVs, antiretroviral treatment, or HAART which stands for Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy.

The HIV virus attacks cells in the body’s immune system by weakening or shutting down the functions that regulate the body’s defense against different infections, and against tumor cells. The virus enters the cells and fuses with the existing gene pool.

The HIV infection develops slowly, and even if you have caught HIV you can still feel well for a long time before the virus’s effects on the immune system start to show. Even if the infection has not been detected, the virus can still be transmitted to others.

The amount of HIV virus in the blood varies from person to person and over time. The immune system may initially restrain the HIV virus, and the amount of virus is therefore kept at a relatively constant level. Since the virus attacks cells in the immune system, however, the system grows weaker over time. This leads to the person living with HIV becoming more sensitive to other infections. An untreated HIV infection means that the within around 5-12 years the immune defense will drop to such low levels that the body is unable to fight off infections as it usually would. This is what we call AIDS, and if no medicine is taken when the person reaches this phase, the body will be unable to cope and the person will eventually die. As we mentioned, however, there are antiretroviral drugs available in Sweden.

How is HIV passed on?

HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids such as blood, sperm and pre-cum, vaginal secretions and breast milk. Another route is between mother and fetus during pregnancy. The virus is primarily absorbed through the body’s mucous membranes, which are found in the mouth (throat), vagina, urethra, the anus and the eyes, for example. Transmission can also take place intravenously, i.e. the virus can be caught directly in the blood. The most common ways of transmitting HIV are:

  • Unprotected vaginal and anal sex
  • Through infected blood, for example through blood transfusions and transplants
  • Through infected blood when sharing syringes and needles
  • During pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding if the mother has HIV

In Sweden, the most common way of transmitting the virus is through unprotected anal and vaginal sex. HIV can be passed on through oral sex between mouth and penis, but this is not very common. As the HIV virus is found in sperm, it is often when sperm has been involved in oral sex that the virus is passed on. A small proportion of all reported cases in Sweden have been transmitted through oral sex. Generally speaking, HIV is a virus that is not transmitted particularly easily, but it’s impossible to be certain if or when it will be passed on. It is, however, difficult to talk about risk in percentages, as the risk of transmission depends on all kinds of different factors. For example, susceptibility to HIV increases considerably if you are carrying an untreated STI.

Remember that HIV cannot be passed on through undamaged skin. Contact such as fondling, cuddling and deep kissing are therefore not dangerous, provided no open wounds are involved. You can also use the same toilet, swim, have a sauna and sleep together (and we mean sleep!) without passing on HIV.

No one has caught HIV from a blood transfusion in Sweden since 1985, when all donated blood started being tested.

Condoms provide effective protection against transmitting HIV. A condom worn correctly during anal and vaginal sex means that all parties can enjoy the sex without worrying about catching or passing on HIV. During oral sex between penis and mouth, the risk of transmission can be reduced by avoiding getting sperm in your mouth. If you want to be even more safe, you are of course welcome to use a condom during oral sex too. The risk of catching HIV during oral sex between a vagina or an anus and a mouth is virtually non existent, provided no blood is involved. Read more about safer sex under the Better Sex tab.

Getting tested

There are two different tests available on the Swedish market at the moment (Jan 2013). One is a rapid test with either 20 minutes or 60 seconds result; the other is a conventional blood test. It can take up to three months for a test to show whether or not you have HIV. So if you think you may have caught HIV on a specific occasion, you have to wait three months before an HIV test can show with certainty whether or not the infection was passed on. If you are worried, you can go and get tested earlier even though the result may not be 100 % accurate.

A conventional HIV test is a blood test taken from the crook of the arm. The test results come in 7-10 days. You agree with the clinic how you want to be informed, but the clinics generally prefer telling you face to face.

With the rapid test, the blood sample is taken from the finger and you get a result within either one or 15-20 minutes. So you have to be prepared to get an answer when you go to the clinic to get tested. Remember that it can take up to three months before HIV can be detected even in a test with rapid result. So it’s only the waiting time between the sample and result that is speeded up, you don’t have to wait 7-10 days to get the results. Venhälsan, The Gay Mens Health Clinic in Stockholm, along with a couple of other clinics currently offers testing with quick results. Getting tested is an excellent opportunity to talk about safer sex and get answers to any questions you may have.

Treatment

There is no cure for HIV. Unlike bacteria, which can multiply of their own accord, a virus enters the body’s cells and uses the host cell to multiply. It is therefore hard to combat the virus without damaging the host cell. It is the body’s immune system that fights and keeps viral infections in check. There is currently no vaccine against HIV.

Even though there is no cure for the HIV infection, the course of the illness can be slowed through treatment. The drugs reduce the level of virus in the blood by making it more difficult for it to reproduce. The more HIV virus in the blood, the faster the immune system is thought to weaken. Treatment therefore aims to reduce the amount of HIV virus in the blood. This is thought to slow the development of AIDS since lower virus levels mean the immune system is not weakened as quickly, and the reduced virus levels give the immune system a chance to recover to some extent. The doctor’s instructions must be carefully followed during treatment. Since the virus cannot be eliminated completely, treatment with antiretroviral drugs is lifelong.

Thanks to effective antiretroviral drugs, a person who starts treatment today can bring down their virus levels so much that they aren’t even measurable. When the virus levels are so low there is also less risk of HIV being transmitted to others, which can bring extra peace of mind for people in a relationship with someone who doesn’t have the virus. Do keep in mind that the viral load changes over time, just because the viral load was low at the last check up, it does not mean that is is low now. A regular infection like a cold or an untreated STI may increase your viral load.

Modern drugs can have a range of mild or more severe side effects. The risk of side effects increases the more drugs that are combined. Sometimes the side effects can be so severe that treatment has to be put on hold.


Sexperterna Rekommenderar

Popular categories

 pushbox_popular_categories_sex_225x225

BETTER SEX  We are mixing better and more fun sex with safer sex. We are mixing vanilla with stuff a bit more hard-core. Click here and find out more!

 pushbox_popular_categories_your_body225x225

YOUR BODY  The body sometimes moves in mysterious ways. Especially when it comes to sex and pleasure. Click here and read more about how your body works.

 pushbox_popular_categories_fakta225x225

FACTS  Sometimes you just want the basic facts about chlamydia or HIV. We all love Wiki but sometimes you want texts proofread by physicians. Click here to read more.

 pushbox_popular_categories_testing225x225

TEST & PEP  Do you get tested every sixth or twelfth month? There are many reasons to do so. Read more and find a routine that suits you. Click here to read more.

 pushbox_popular_categories_relations225x225

SUPPORT  Click here to read more about sexual health support you can access in the Stockholm region. Or send us an e-mail if you have a question about sex or safer sex!

 

BETTER SEX /
Anal sex

It’s wonderful to give a fuck. It’s fucking heavenly. To fuck someone or to be fucked in the ass is a versatile pleasure. It’s a gift that just keeps on giving! The best thing about it is that your mode of pleasure is versatile. You can fuck gently, inhaling the intoxicating scent of romance. You can also fuck rough and wild. You can fuck like strangers. You can fuck like animals. Whichever your pleasure may be that day make sure that you make sure that the receiving ass is ready for the adventure that is about to begin. No, it is not nice of you to just jam your cock or a dildo up somebody’s ass. That’s not fun. Here’s a suggestion on how to get a lovely ass into the mood for some play. Remember- start gently! Whether you are using your fingers, tongue or a butt plug just be soft and polite. You can get rougher later. Here’s how it works down there. The sphincter is the outer ring muscle down there. It’s pretty impossible to control and it tightens up when something is pushed into the anus (the ass). Gently push a finger against the hole until you feel the muscle loosening up. Relaaaaax…Enjoy. Good. Now let’s talk about lubrication. The ass has no natural lubrication of its own so a water or silicone-based lubricant should get things flowing, so to speak. Good communication with your sex partner is important. No, you don’t have to debate Gaga versus Madonna and no you […]
 

BETTER SEX /
Blow jobs

Sucking cock, blow jobs, giving head, going down, oral sex- whichever term you know it by, it’s a great act. And like many great things, everybody has their individual styles and preferences for both giving and receiving. It’s hard to say what makes the best blowjob, you’ll just have to suck and see. Here you can find tips on how to make a blowjob both even more luscious and safer too. Make it better Listen to the person you’re blowing; moans and heavy breathing are generally good indicators of how the person on the receiving end is feeling. This also applies if you’re the one getting the blowjob, unless you’re simply lying back and enjoying getting cock-worshipped. Want to crank up the heat a bit and pleasure the person giving you head? You could play with their nipples? Caress them? Or grab the back of their neck and give them a hard mouth-fuck? One tip when sucking cock is to vary things a bit. Try different speeds, and taking in different lengths of the cock. Change up your speeds too- sometimes using a hard, pointed tongue, and then alternate with soft lips. Try grasping the testicle (balls) sack firmly but carefully ,and pulling gently down and backward while sucking or licking. Don’t forget that the ball-sack is often a sensitive part of the body, just like the area between the scrotum and asshole. The gagging reflex is a curse for many people. Not everybody is Deep Throat -that film was fictional. Gagging could be due […]
 

BETTER SEX /
Cunnilingus

Many transgendered men have pussies so we thought we ought to include how to eat one. Some transgendered men have a particular preferred term for this sweet spot, perhaps “pussy” isn’t it. When in doubt what to call it, ask the person politely. How you like to lick or be licked is very personal. You’ve got another set of lips down there. But these can’t talk. That’s why it’s not easy to give tips on the best way to eat pussy. Go for it, have fun, and see what feels best. One tip is to listen to the person on the receiving end. Is the person moaning? Breathing heavy? Indicating ‘stop’ or ‘keep going!’ with body language? These are the signs of satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of your tongue gymnastics. It’s the same if you’re the one being licked. There are various ways you can show the person eating you out what pleases you. Maybe there is something you can do to make things extra yummy for the person licking you…? Stroking, or caressing the neck of your licker are some nice things to show appreciation for their effort. It can be nice when someone gets down to business immediately and starts licking or rubbing the pussy straight away. Alternatively, you could tease the person on the receiving end and make them yearn, beg and moan for your tongue to reach their clit. Stroke, taste and lick their entire body. If the person you’re with enjoys it you can even use your teeth and sexily nip […]
 

YOUR BODY /
Introduction

Your body is perhaps the most sexual organ of all. It’s the control center for everything we think and feel. Although we humans may look quite similar on the outside, our bodies are all different, as are our perceptions of what’s pleasurable. Whatever your body looks like and however it works, you are entitled to feel valuable and decide what is best for your own body. Getting to know your own body is a good foundation for using it for pleasure – on your own or with other people. Here you can read about the human body, and a bit about how it works when it comes to sex and pleasure. Feel your way forward, and be sure to have plenty of fun along the way!
 

YOUR BODY /
The ass

At the outermost part of the ass are two sphincter muscles, an outer one and an inner one. The sphincter muscles surround the anal opening and can be relaxed and contracted. If you want to receive something up the ass for anal sex, it’s vital that both sphincter muscles are relaxed in order to enjoy it and avoid injury. The outer sphincter muscle can be controlled, which means you decide how you want to use it. However, the inner sphincter muscle cannot be controlled but reacts to pressure, whether that pressure is coming internally or externally. When, for instance, you push a finger, a cock or a dildo carefully onto the inner sphincter muscle it initially contracts, but after a short period (about 15 seconds) it relaxes. Just inside the anal opening is the rectum, which curves slightly backward toward the back, with a depth of about 6 inches/15 centimeters before it becomes the large intestine. There is another sphincter muscle in-between the rectum and the large intestine, which helps keep feces out of the rectum until you need to take a dump. A thin and sensitive mucous membrane lines the inside of the ass. This anal membrane is far more sensitive than that found in the vagina. The type of mucous membrane in the ass is one that absorbs moisture, which makes the ass particularly vulnerable to HIV and STIs. The mucous membrane in the ass does not produce its own lubrication, so if you’re having penetrative anal sex it’s important to use plenty […]
 

YOUR BODY /
The brain

The brain is an incredibly powerful sexual command center. It is our most important organ when it comes to sex and pleasure. The brain controls our emotions and perceptions, as well as the physical reactions associated with excitement and attraction. Sexual excitement ignites our brain’s pleasure center, which is what we call the brain’s reward system. For example, when the levels of dopamine and endorphins are increased in the brain, our bodies get a feeling of happiness and well-being. The brain also activates all kinds of reactions throughout the body; such as, when our blood flow  increases we become more sensitive to touch and other sensory impressions. Touch, sight, smell, taste and hearing are processed in the brain. These are all important aspects of desire and sexual hormones. Sexual arousal can be initiated by pure power of thought, for example when you fantasize about something that turns you on. In fact it can sometimes be hard to keep your horniness in check, even though it might turn up at an inappropriate time or place (like the shower at the gym). Other times you really wish you could get sexually aroused but your horny-brain seems to be switched off. If you’re having sexual problems such as reduced libido, erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness, the brain might often be a culprit. The same might be true if you have problems with self-esteem or in your personal life. These both impact your sex life. How you are feeling generally, both mentally and physically, also affects your ability to […]
 

FACTS /
About us

Sexperterna.org Sexperterna.org is a website aimed at the gay and trans community in Stockholm. Our goal is to offer a positive website about sex, safer sex and enjoyment which encourages and gives information about safer sex and testing. RFSL Stockholm is responsible the site. If you have any feedback, please contact us Fact checked All facts about safer sex, HIV, sexually transmitted infections and testing have been checked by Venhälsan, the gay clinic in Stockholm. About RFSL stockholm RFSL Stockholm is Stockholm’s local branch of RFSL, The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights. We have many activities run by and for Stockholm’s LGBT communitye, and you can read more about these on our website rfslstockholm.se or on our facebook site, facebook.com/rfslsthlm.
 

FACTS /
HIV AND SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS

By sexually transmitted infections (STIs) we mean infections that are passed on through various forms of sex. They are also sometimes called venereal diseases (VDs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There are many different STIs that can be passed on in slightly different ways, some more readily than others. Here you can read about the most common STIs and what you can do to avoid getting them yourself, or passing an infection on to someone else. STIs can be caused by bacteria or viruses that enter the body. They are usually, but not always, curable and sometimes they heal completely on their own. Some, such as the viral infections herpes and HIV cannot be cured, but nowadays there is effective treatment for HIV. Some of these infections can have serious consequences if they are not treated. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get tested regularly to stay aware of your health so that you can get treatment as soon as possible if necessary. Testing also reduces the risk of passing on an infection to someone else. Condoms are a good way of protecting yourself and the people you have sex with from STIs, and preventing more people from becoming HIV positive. Condoms limit mucus membranes from coming into direct contact with each other, and thereby prevent or make it more difficult to transmit infections. Don’t forget that several infections can also be transmitted in other ways, such as through bodily fluids, sex toys or fingers. Testing, taking specimens and treatment for HIV and most sexually […]
 

FACTS /
HIV/AIDS

HIV is an infection that can be, among other ways, transmitted during sex, and also by a variety of sexual practices. It is classified as a chronic infection because there is currently no cure. There are medications that reduce the amount of virus in the body and the course of the infection, and which prevent the person living with HIV from developing what we call AIDS. The treatment is usually called antiretroviral drugs, ARVs, antiretroviral treatment, or HAART which stands for Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. The HIV virus attacks cells in the body’s immune system by weakening or shutting down the functions that regulate the body’s defense against different infections, and against tumor cells. The virus enters the cells and fuses with the existing gene pool. The HIV infection develops slowly, and even if you have caught HIV you can still feel well for a long time before the virus’s effects on the immune system start to show. Even if the infection has not been detected, the virus can still be transmitted to others. The amount of HIV virus in the blood varies from person to person and over time. The immune system may initially restrain the HIV virus, and the amount of virus is therefore kept at a relatively constant level. Since the virus attacks cells in the immune system, however, the system grows weaker over time. This leads to the person living with HIV becoming more sensitive to other infections. An untreated HIV infection means that the within around 5-12 years the immune […]
 

TEST & PEP /
Introduction

Condoms provide by far the best protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but they still don’t provide 100% protection. Even if you always use a condom, it may be a good idea to get tested for STIs. There are different STIs and they can affect you in different ways. Untreated STIs have a negative impact on the body, sometimes without the person noticing. If you have an STI it could also increase your susceptibility to other STIs and HIV. So it’s a good idea to get tested regularly, even if you don’t have any signs or symptoms of an infection. By getting tested, you take control of your own health. Safer sex means making a conscious effort to minimize the risk of transmitting STIs. Keeping an eye on your own health is a good start. If you know you have an STI you can do something about it – such as get treatment, but you can also avoid passing it on. Many STIs have no visible symptoms, so many people don’t realize they have one, but they can still be bad for your health and be passed on to others. Most infections can be cured and are easy to treat if they’re discovered in time. Untreated STIs also increase susceptibility to HIV. Testing can also put your mind at ease. If you’re worried or just want to check, go and get tested! Everyone has an HIV status, but not everyone is certain what it is, whether or not they are carrying HIV. The only way […]
 

TEST & PEP /
IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR HIV

If you test positive for HIV it means you are carrying the HIV virus. Each individual reacts differently to this news. Some are shocked, while others aren’t that surprised. Most feel a need to talk about what it means to live with HIV, from several perspectives. The doctor or welfare officer who gives the results is often highly experienced and skilled. Sometimes it feels better to talk to someone in the same situation. One way is to contact Posithiva Gruppen (website in Swedish only but address and phone number on start page) or Noaks Ark (some English on the website). Having HIV is not a death sentence like it was in the 1980s. Today there are all kinds of antiretroviral drugs that are extremely effective and reduce HIV’s status to a chronic infection. Medication cannot completely rid the body of the HIV virus, but it can keep it at very low levels. Living with HIV does entail some restrictions and rules that people who are HIV negative don’t have to worry about. We have summarized some of them below. People living with HIV have a duty to inform their sex partners that they have HIV if they have anal, oral or vaginal sex. This also applies if you use a condom. This is something many people living with HIV find extremely problematic. After all, when do you tell someone something like that? When you’re chatting or making small talk in the pub? When you start making out? When your clothes come off? Many people who […]
 

TEST & PEP /
IF YOU TEST POSITIVE FOR AN STI

Testing positive means that you have a sexually transmitted infection. What happens next is that you get treatment, and the treatment can vary. After treatment you’ll have to provide a new sample to make sure the infection is gone, just to be on the safe side. You shouldn’t have sex until you’re certain the infection is completely gone. It may feel a bit dull, but it’s a good way of showing consideration for the people you like having sex with. Read more under the Facts tab above to find out more about treatment for the different STIs. If you turn out to have an STI, you’ll be asked who you’ve had sex with recently. This is called a partner trace or infection trace, and it may feel a bit daft to have to say. The reason for the trace is that health professionals will need to find anyone else who may have an infection and offer them treatment. This enables other people to keep an eye on their health as well. So it’s kind of a weird concept, but really it’s a great thing!
 

SUPPORT /
IMMIGRANT ADVISOR

RFSL Stockholm has an immigrant advisor who works with HIV issues, among other things. The advisor’s work is mainly aimed at migrant LGBT people. The advisor also works with Swedish and English-speaking Swedes with a foreign background. You can contact our advisor if you have any queries about coming out, safer sex, HIV and sexually transmitted infections. You can also talk about what it’s like living with HIV. Apart from providing information, the advisor also works with support contacts and social work. The advisor offers both personal and group sessions, such as information meetings. You can contact our advisor by phone and e-mail. Appointments cost SEK 100 a visit if you’re working, but no more than SEK 1,200 a year. If you’re a student, unemployed, on sick leave, a senior citizen, an asylum seeker or without papers, appointments are free of charge. To meet the immigrant advisor, you must make an appointment by phone or e-mail.  The immigrant advisor can give consultations in Swedish, English and Spanish. If these don’t correpond to you needs, an interpreter can be arranged for the language of your convenience. Telephone: 08-501 629 56 E-post: pablo.leiva(at)stockholm.rfsl.se Addres: Sveavägen 59, second floor, Stockholm. Take the green metroline to the Rådmansgatan station. Look for the rainbow flag hanging above Lidl. There is a door bell there. Welcome!  
 

SUPPORT /
SEXUAL ASSAULT

Rape or sexual assault can happen in many different ways, and the person who does it can be anyone from a complete stranger to someone close to you. It doesn’t matter how you’re dressed, whether you’ve drunk alcohol or taken drugs, it’s never your fault! Everyone who’s been sexually assaulted, go to the emergency department at Södersjukhuset as soon as possible. If you’re a girl go to the AVK emergency department for assaulted/raped women, which is also at Södersjukhuset. They also help transgender people. If you’re unsure which clinic to go to, go to the emergency room (Akuten) Södersjukhuset. What to do Go to Södersjukhuset’s Akuten or AVK department. If you have physical injuries they’ll be treated there. If you want to make a police report and haven’t already done so, the police will be called. Don’t forget that you can always register an assault afterwards, but it may make the police investigation more difficult. At the emergency department you’ll be offered an examination. It’s voluntary but recommended not only for your health, but also so that any evidence can be recorded. HIV and STIs If you’re HIV negative or unsure of your HIV status, PEP treatment may be a good idea. This is a good but strong treatment that considerably reduces the risk of HIV being transmitted. The sooner treatment begins the better, but it must be within 36 hours. It may also be a good idea to get tested for sexually transmitted infections, and after three months you can take an HIV test. […]
 

SUPPORT /
SUPPORT FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH HIV

Many people living with HIV find they need to talk to someone about their situation. You may feel this way when you first find out, or a long while after. Posithiva Gruppen offers chats and friends’ support, and organizes various events. Check out their website for more details and the latest program. Or check out the Sexperterna Plus profile on qruiser.com or the RFSL Chat room for support from guys who themselfs live with HIV. Noaks Ark Direkt is a phone service you can call, whether or not you’re living with HIV. You can be anonymus and it is free of charge. The phone nr is 020-78 44 40.
intalk.eu - Denna webbplats är till salu! - intalk Resurser och information.