All over this site, we at GMJ will continue to discuss the many things you can do to achieve and maintain a happy and successful life. This includes immunizations and regular STD testings. These shots, which some of you may have received as a kid, can be the difference between a fun-filled night on the town, a stay at the hospital, or a prolonged treatment regime. Suppose you’ve not gotten some of these immunizations. The window of opportunity might have passed, depending on your age and sexual activity. Let’s first take a look at the STD testing list.
HIV: The granddaddy of them all. I’m sure we don’t need to discuss why, but the schedule should be at least three (3) times a year for sexually active gay males. The CDC only recommends once a year, but during that time, you might not only have a very high viral load but also infect others.
Syphilis/Chlamydia/Gonorrhea/Herpes: All should be done three (3) times yearly. Preferably at the same time.
Hep C: This is a particular case. Many doctors will not automatically perform this test unless you are at high risk, including drug users and those who are into fisting. If this is you, you know what to do.
If you haven’t received the Hep A & B vaccinations, you should be checked along with other STDs and if found negative, get the shots as soon as possible. This panel consists of:
- Two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine for lasting protection, and the doses should be given at least six months apart.
- A series of three doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine provides long-lasting protection.
- There is also a combination vaccine for both Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B, and it is usually given in three doses to provide lasting protection.
The HPV vaccine is the only dependent upon age and sexual activity. The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is available for gay men up to 26 years of age to prevent genital warts and other HPV-associated diseases and conditions such as oropharyngeal or anal cancer. The HPV vaccine is given as a three-dose series over six months. It is best to be vaccinated before your first sexual contact, but later vaccination can still protect you if you have not been exposed to HPV. (Note: Most American doctors will not provide this vaccine if you are over 26 and sexually active unless you demand it and pay for it. They are not convinced of the benefits as no studies have confirmed.)
We also want to include the meningitis vaccine to your list. We discuss this illness further on the site.
If you are living with HIV, we also recommend the following vaccinations, in addition to those already mentioned.
- Pneumococcal (pneumonia)
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough). A single vaccine called Tdap protects adolescents and adults against these three diseases.
Finally, there is the good ole yearly Flu shot.
These tests and vaccines should keep you up and running for the basics of your sexual and general life. Of course, as we age, other tests such as prostate and anal screenings will be needed. And for those under 27, regular testicular testing for cancer is also a good measure. Don’t take these things lightly, guys. Better to have and not need than need and not have.