Above: Image from FLUX: “A Clean Exchange.”
I enjoy your honesty and open discussion. I love barebacking! I know the risk of it and understand it’s consequences. How common are hep c and herpes and do cumdumps contract them?
If you’re a cumdump, you probably already have herpes. Although I haven’t experienced an outbreak yet, I probably have herpes. If you’re a sexually active man having sex with men, you probably have some type of herpes already.
Herpes (both oral and genital) may be the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. Having herpes (oral or genital) is not a sign of irresponsibility, recklessness, sluttiness, or any other negative value judgment. It’s just a sign that you’re a sexually active adult living in the real world.
According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of the general population under 50 years old has herpes simplex virus type 1, or oral herpes. When they released this data a few years ago (I covered the release in Plus), they also revealed that their data suggests herpes simplex type 1, or oral herpes, is one common cause of genital herpes, or herpes simplex virus type 2.
Both types of herpes are often asymptomatic, which means most people don’t know they have herpes and have never experienced any symptoms. Others may experience very mild symptoms which never go recognized as herpes at all. I could very well have had herpes for years (as I probably have) and mistook a bump or two as a zit. There’s no cure for herpes, but being such a mild and common infection, I don’t lose sleep over it.
I have HIV — another incurable infection that isn’t worth living in paralyzing fear over, given the amount of HIV treatment and prevention options now available in the United States — and I don’t lose sleep over it either, at least not anymore. I fear cancer and getting gunned down by a lunatic with an assault weapon, but not HIV. Educate yourself about how HIV is spread and treated, and learn about PrEP. If you’re routinely taking anonymous loads and are HIV-negative, PrEP is a good option for you — it will prevent you from getting HIV.
Now, on to Hepatitis C. Hep C is more common among HIV-positive guys, particularly those of us into fisting, which is why I get checked for Hep C every time I get routine STI/STD screening, which for me happens every three months minimum (if I’ve been having a lot of sex, I go more often than that).
Hep C, or HCV, isn’t statistically higher among men who have sex with men, according to Positively Aware. The only population with a higher rate of HCV are those with HIV. Of all the people living with HCV in the United States (3.5 million), 25% of them have HIV.
The most common way Hep C is spread is through injection drugs and sharing needles, so try not to do that. I have a doctor friend in Seattle who tells me that Hep C is so commonly associated with drug use that when someone tests positive for it, they assume.
It’s easy for me (and countless others) to say, “Just don’t do injections drugs,” but as someone who knows well the allure and reality of drugs and has my own rocky relationship with them, I must at least encourage you to not share needles and try to always use a clean needle every time. There are needle exchange programs in cities across the United States worth looking into if you’re injecting.
If you test positive for Hep C, keep in mind that the testing process is two-part. First, you take an HCV antibody test. If the antibody test is positive, you take a second HCV viral load test to confirm that you are chronically infected with HCV. Why do you need both? Because 1 in 4 people clear the virus within six months of infection naturally.
If you’re told, “You are positive for hepatitis C because you tested positive for the antibody test,” you should follow up with the question, “Are you sure? Did you confirm that antibody result with an HCV viral load?” If they didn’t do a viral load test, ask for one.
You didn’t ask me about HIV, but I’m going to touch on it again, briefly. If you’re HIV-positive, take your meds as they are prescribed (daily). This way you can get undetectable, which makes you unable to infect others.
If you’re being a cumdump, all this is important information for you to know. You must routinely do thorough research about HIV, PrEP, herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and other STIs since you live your sex life at high risk for these infections. Without this knowledge, you’re making uninformed choices.
It’s great to take anonymous loads — that is one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday night — but you must do so with full awareness of the risks. I want you to be the best, healthiest cumdump ever.