OK, guys, the truth is out. We’re not using condoms. A recent report indicates that gay and bisexual men have been having more and more condomless sex since 2008. By 2014, over 40 percent of both HIV-negative and HIV-positive gay and bi men reported having sex without condoms. Clearly, it’s time to admit that the condom-only focus isn’t working.
Sure condoms are still an excellent way to practice safer sex. When worn correctly, a condom is extremely effective in preventing the transmission of HIV. For gay men, the consistent use of condoms is 76 percent effective in preventing new HIV infections during anal sex. But that cavet says it all, “consistent use” is essential for condoms to prevent HIV (unless combined with other prevention methods like PrEP).
How long are we going to deny that we’re having sex without condoms? How long are we going to pretend that the only guys who go bareback are sluts, party boys, or young men who don’t care about their sexual health?
Researchers found that the condom decline wasn’t reflective of increases in other, non-condom-based prevention strategies like PrEP or serosorting. For the most part, we aren’t replacing condoms with other HIV-preventative alternatives.
So let's look at the options that are available for condomless safer sex.