Health/Fitness » HIV/AIDS

Ask the Doc: Safer Sex During the Black Party

by Howard L. Scheiner, MD/AAHIVS
Wednesday Apr 9, 2014
Dr. Howard Scheiner, MD/AAHIVS
Dr. Howard Scheiner, MD/AAHIVS  (Source:Courtesy Dr. Scheiner)

Q: Dear Doc, I just went to my first Black Party in New York where someone pointed to some guy and called him a "Truvada whore," just before asking me upstairs to a fuck-fest. So was it safe to bareback the Truvada whore?

A. There are too many variables to say unsafe sex was safer for you because someone you fucked was on Truvada. Since I have heard the term "Truvada whore" before, I suspect this is not a one-off.

Although Gilead, the manufacturer, might be loathe to have its PrEP drug described in such a manner, I am not seeing an insignificant number of patients requesting it so that can have unprotected sex. And yes, there was an uptick in requests before Black Party.

The answer to your question is that it was not safe. We don't really know if he was on Truvada for his own protection or someone just liked calling him by that name. If he was, it was for his protection, not yours. You could still get HIV, with a 16 percent higher likelihood, if he happened to be in the acute or primary phase of the infection, when HIV tests are negative.

Of course, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis B or C, herpes and warts are still easily transmissible.

Hope you had fun at Black Party. It was the last one at Roseland!


Do Safer Sex Apps Really Work?
Safer sex apps like Hula are only as good as your last test  (Source:Hula.org)

Do Safer Sex Apps Really Work?

Q: Some of my friends have suggested an app called Hula to prove I'm free of STD's. Have you heard about it and is it safe to bareback if a guy shows he is HIV negative?

A. I guess you could call this app a social networking tool that will share your verified STD results with whoever you want. While the app does raise awareness of STDs and does provide locations of nearby testing clinics, I'm really not sure of where it fits in the safe-sex armamentarium for any sex, let alone bareback sex.

I suppose for the "I'm Gay and Saving Sex Until Marriage" set, it could provide reassurance that your partner-to-be has been "clean" with you before the wedding night.

For the majority, including the previous questioner, I don't see a lot of utility for gay men who have a fair amount of sex. You are only as safe as your last test shows. In the case of HIV, that could mean a three-month window (rarely up to six months), where someone could test negative and still have acute (primary) HIV infection.

Hepatitis C, which is reported to be seeing a significant increase in incidences among MSM, also can have an incubation period averaging six to ten weeks but up to six months.

Since cell phones are prohibited at Black Party, the utility of this app would be highly challenged in the best of lighting. And Guy Smith's lighting is the best.


Called "more than a doctor, a trusted friend" by his patients, Dr. Howard Scheiner is a true native New Yorker. He was born in the Bronx, he attended the esteemed Bronx High School of Science and City University of New York before receiving his medical education at The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Truly a Renaissance man, in addition to his lifelong service to the medical profession, Dr. Scheiner is a published author, playwright and musical composer. Combining all his loves, he is perhaps most proud of founding "The Brent Varner Project, Inc." a charity that provides free HIV services to those in need through the Actors Fund of America.


Ask the Doc

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