Back to Top
Sunday 22 Oct
86002 users - now online: 1376 people
86002 users - now online: 1376 people login
FROM OUR EDITORS
Printer Friendly Page  
Bareback Sex And An Increased Chance On Infirmities Of Old Age

by Xavier van Beesd in Health & Body , 09 februari 2010


In “L’Homo,” a one-off Dutch gay magazine that appeared in spring of 2009, 43-year old, HIV-positive Anthony admits: “I like sex without a condom better, especially when I’m being fucked. I’m not specifically looking for bare sex, but when it happens I do like it better. With a condom it starts to irritate after ten minutes, without I can keep going for hours.”

With this he illustrates the position historian Martin Duberman described in his third, diary-based, autobiography “Waiting to Land: A (Mostly) Political Memoir 1985-2008" (New York 2009), in connection with a book by Walt Odets, as “‘the emperor has no clothes’ in a new context: the AIDS establishment hadn’t been telling the truth: sex was not just as pleasurable with a condom as without one. Gay men, moreover, had grown psychologically weary of always having to play by the rules, of never being able to abandon themselves to the passion of the moment, of never being allowed, unless monogamous, the intimacy of sharing semen with a partner.”

This quote is part of a deliberation on the heated discussion on monogamy, promiscuity, the joys and burdens of barebacking, which started after the introduction in 1996 of HAART, the Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy or combination therapy in short. This cocktail of three to four medications represses the virus to the degree of being hardly detectable. AIDS turned into a chronic disease that could be treated, instead of a short-term killer. Duberman also states that “the rebellion, predictable, was most pronounced among the young, who hadn’t lived through the worst years of the plague and who, like the young everywhere, viewed mortality as some abstract concept that somehow didn’t apply to them.”

Life Expectancy

Some see this medical progress as a reason to abandon safe sex practices. Faas, a 34-year old, HIV-negative bottom with a HIV-positive boyfriend, states in the same “L’Homo” he thinks condoms are horrible: “The drugs my boyfriend is taking have reduced the presence of the virus in his body to an extend that the risk of infecting me is almost nil. From that moment on we’ve not used condoms anymore.”

The combination therapy has indeed reduced the chance of infection and has improved life expectation of those with HIV. In an interview with “PS van de Week” Joep Lange, one of the pioneers of AIDS research in the Netherlands, gave an example using the case of one of his “dear patients”: “Ruud was almost gone in 1996. He was in a wheelchair and had a terrible brain disease, one of the worst HIV-complications. He started with HAART, got out of his wheelchair and started as a volunteer of the Aids Fonds.”


Although the situation improved immensely, Duberman rightly states the new drags “certainly didn’t work for everyone, and plenty of suffering, and death, remained.” Recently however, scientific research shows the HIV-medication is not without repercussions.

For many, sticking to a strict medication regime is hard (Joep Lange, who found his work at the aids clinic more and more trying: “When boys complained about having to take too many pills I told them to go and find another doctor.”), but it also seems that patients on medication show physical signs of people about ten years older.

People with HIV have a higher chance of chronic diseases which are usually associated with the elderly, like cardio-vascular diseases, high blood pressure, failing kidney functions, diabetes, osteoporosis, skin cancer, anal cancer, Hodgkin’s disease and chronic hepatitis.

SMART, an international scientific study of five thousand people with treatment breaks (a pause in taking medication when the immunity is high enough in order to reduce the side effects) had to be broken off because the mortality went up amongst those who took regular - and controlled! - breaks from taking their medication.

Peter Reiss, professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Amsterdam, said in the Dutch daily “Het Parool” about this study: “The people weren’t dying of the usual AIDS complications, but of cardio-vascular diseases and of types of cancer that hadn’t been associated with HIV before. Researchers found that the virus apparently also increased the chance on those diseases. Now we know that, even with continuing repression of the virus with medication, the chance on those complications is higher than with other people of the same age without HIV. As these diseases usually show up with elderly people, we think now this is a sign of accelerated aging.”

The expectancy is that in ten years time about thirty percent of the HIV-infected people in the Netherlands will be older than sixty. Therefore Reiss is now working with the AMC (Amsterdam Medical Center) and the GGD (Public Health Department) to set up a study on the elderly with AIDS: “It could also provide us with new insights on aging processes. An interesting but also very complicated area.”


Walking Corpses

As long it’s not clear why these old-age diseases develop earlier with people with HIV, screening and timely treatment is the best approach. Medication and change of life-styles can prevent a lot of grief. It’s of the highest priority the virus is detected in time. Too many people wait too long with testing. They get to the doctor too late, so the combination therapy is less successful. It’s hard to get these people’s immunity to recover. Prevention is, of course, even better.

It’s not up to me to reject bareback sex categorically, and whoever really wants it, should take their own responsibility, but often unsafe sex turns out an ill considered choice. Like André, a 29-year old, HIV-negative bottom, who states in “L’Homo” he never even discusses condoms with his sex partners because they are joy-spoilers: “I can’t imagine somebody with HIV would fuck me without a condom. I’m a bottom only, but never let anyone cum inside me. But there you go... when it’s really hot, it sometimes happens anyway.” He thinks he would react quite calmly if he heard he was infected: “I’d rather die of AIDS than of cancer, at least then I’d know it was my own fault.”



Photo: The White House with a huge red ribbon on the 1st of December

The recent research, however, shows that in case of an accident because of miscalculation, in the end he might waste away from a cancer which develops untimely due to AIDS. With decreasing numbers of sexually adventurous gay men remembering the walking corpses of the 1980s, it’s time to rekindle the discussions on safer sex practices without losing sight of the fact that many indeed find fucking without a condom more pleasant than with one, and that not everybody wants to be responsible and sensible all the time. We wouldn’t smoke or drink either if that was the case.



 







Topics:








In the New Issue of Gay News, 314, October 2017







Rainbow Expo
October 27/28/29, Nieuwegein













More from Health & Body
More from Gay News- issue 221
More by Xavier van Beesd





Cuckoos nest


Cruise bar with big darkroom

learn more |visit


Spijkerbar


Cruise and play bar

learn more |visit















bottom image




Entire © & ® 1995/2017 Gay International Press & Foundation G Media, Amsterdam. All rights reserved.
Gay News ® is a registered Trademark. articles Gay News; duplication forbidden. Inclusion only allowed after written approval of the publisher, with clear source mentioning gay-news.com. Articles used by third parties will be invoiced and cashed where necessary. Gay News | ISSN: 2214-7640 | ISBN 8717953072009 | Wikipedia.
Follow Gay News:
Twitter Issuu
RSS (dutch) RSS Editors (dutch) self-employed Escortboys

CMI
Contact us
Subscribe
Advertising






© 1995/2017 Gay News ®, GIP/ St. G Media