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This virus is literally taking a high toll on our community as infection rates are on a constant rise due to usage of injectable drugs, including METH (TINA, CRYSTAL, T). Needle sharing with infected partners is one of the most dangerous…and stupid, things you can do. If you choose to continue to inject drugs here are a few tips to keep your liver safe:
A quick note on body modification. Piercings and tattoos account for a large percentage of HEP C infections. At GMJ, where many of us have art work and adornments across our bodies, we believe that your parlor should be as clean, if not more so, than your doctor’s office. Dirty needles are the main cause of this transmission. When choosing a parlor for your first, next or last piece of art, be sure to check for autoclave systems, which clean utensils, artists that use latex gloves and wash their hands between clients, but most of all trust your gut. If the place seems like a dingy hole in the wall that will give you HEP C, you are probably right. ONLY PATRONIZE LICENSED PARLORS, and skip the jail house tattoos. You know who you are.
The act, or art, or placing one or more fingers up the rectum of another person, sometimes to the extreme, or desired, point of forearm, is called fisting. This activity is not for everyone and only the most skilled, or one who has found someone to train them in this practice, should be participating. This is not a “junior” varsity sport. It is professional level. If this is not your thing, don’t judge, because you have your own sexual activities and fetishes that others look down on too. If this section is too much for you, leave quietly and don’t disturb your neighbor in the process.
In the United States and The United Kingdom, higher and higher rates of HEP C infection in gay men due to fisting have been reported each year. This, coupled with HIV rates, makes this a dangerous illness for our community. In the past, unprotected anal sex was considered to be a substantial contributor for transmission on its own, but this has been widely dismissed with study, and linked back to the practice of fisting as a precurser. It, currently, is not believed that the act of fisting alone is the greatest causation, rather the possible “trauma” associated with it and then subsequent sexual activities like unprotected anal sex and rimming. To be very clear, neither this study nor GMJ is condemning the act of fisting, or those that perform it, rather explaining that proper care, precaution and protection should be utilized if the consenting parties are going to engage in oral or anal sex afterwards.
Also, getting vaccinated is a sure fire way to keep from contracting HEP A and B. The vaccine is a THREE (3) SERIES, and you must complete the entire series for it to be truly effective. Sometimes, you may have to repeat the series if it does not take effect, but worse things have happened to you in life. The series is usually done in 1-3 months increments depending on your over all health. The A and B vaccines may even be administered together, so ask you medical provider about this series and make sure you get the entire set. Got it?
But, here is some basic information to get you started. The world health community is taking HEP C very seriously and creating new treatments all the time. The main issue is finding the right medication(s) for you and your lifestyle. This includes factoring in your HIV status. Interferon has been the base treatment for HEP C for many years now, but is being outpaced by medications which attack the virus from different points of its life cycle.
Take care of yourself and your partners.