CDC Content Warning

This website and accompanying blogs may contain content only suitable for adults.

Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs may address these topics. HIV prevention materials funded by CDC must be approved by local program review panels. However, some viewers may consider the materials controversial.


Author: callenu


National HIV Testing Day

June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, a day to get the facts, get tested, and get involved!

Around 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, and one in eight people don’t know they have it. Nearly 45,000 people find out they have HIV every year.

HIV testing is the gateway to prevention and care.

  • People who test negative have more prevention tools available today than ever before.
  • People who test positive can take HIV medicines that can keep them healthy for many years and greatly reduce their chance of passing HIV to others. Learn more about living with HIV.

More than 90% of new HIV infections in the United States could be prevented by testing and diagnosing people living with HIV and making sure they receive early, ongoing treatment.

What Can You Do?

Get the Facts. Learn about HIV, and share this lifesaving information with your family, friends, and community. Tell them about the importance of making HIV testing a part of their regular health routine.

Get Tested. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help keep you and your partner healthy.

CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People with certain risk factors should get tested more often. Learn what those risk factors are and how often you should be tested.

To find a testing site near you:

  • visit ActAgainstAIDS,
  • text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or
  • call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
  • You can also use a home testing kit available in drugstores or online.

Get Involved. CDC offers many resources to help you raise awareness about HIV testing in your community. Doing It is a new national HIV testing and prevention campaign designed to motivate all adults to get tested for HIV and know their status.



Health Advisory: Meningitis in the Chicago Area

Meningitis in the Chicago Area
Important Information for Polk County Residents

Friday, June 3, 2016
The Chicago Department of Public Health is increasing Meningitis awareness efforts due to new cases of Meningitis (Invasive meningococcal disease) among men who have sex with men (MSM) that link to a previous outbreak in the Chicago area. To date, there are no related cases in Iowa. “Meningitis is a serious illness that can be spread through close, casual contact simply through kissing, sharing a drink or cigarette, or through sexual activity,” said Rick Kozin, Director of the Polk County Health Department. “Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect yourself against Meningitis and reduce the risk of becoming infected.”

Chicago offers events and festivities of interest to men who have sex with men that draw many visitors to the Chicago area. The Polk County Health Department recommends that individuals who are in close contact and/or sexually active with MSM in the Chicago area receive vaccination. The vaccine is available at most doctor’s offices and clinics, some pharmacies, and the Polk County Health Department.

How is Invasive meningococcal disease spread?

Invasive meningococcal disease is spread person-to-person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions through activities such as kissing, sexual contact or sharing drinks or cigarettes, smoking devices or marijuana. These bacteria are not as contagious as the viruses that cause the common cold or flu. Partners, roommates or anyone in direct contact with saliva or spit (including sexual partners) of a person with the bacteria would be considered at increased risk.

What is Invasive meningococcal disease?

Invasive meningococcal disease is a rare but severe bacterial infection that can result in a number of serious illnesses including bloodstream infections and meningitis. Meningitis is when the bacteria enter the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Invasive meningococcal disease can be extremely serious and even deadly.

What are the symptoms?

Signs and symptoms may include fever, headache, and a stiff neck. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light and an altered mental state (confusion). The onset is of symptoms is usually abrupt and can progress rapidly to
serious illness. Normally, it takes about 2-10 days to see symptoms of Meningitis or other Invasive meningococcal disease after infection. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should contact their health care provider or seek medical help immediately. Be certain to inform the health care provider, if you have been in the Chicago area where there have been cases of bacterial Meningitis.

For more information about Bacterial Meningitis:
 Call the Polk County Health Department, Communicable Disease Team at (515) 286-3890
For more information about IMD in the Chicago area:
To contact the Polk County Health Department about vaccination, call (515) 286-3798.


Pride Fest 2016

(Des Moines, Iowa) The Project of Primary Health Care & Project HIM will be at 2016 Capital City Pride Festival this coming weekend, June 11th and 12th. This year’s activities will be a bit more wholesome than the previous years (lube wrestling, anyone?).

On Saturday, test your luck and be the last person standing in our “Pie On The Face” game. Be “selfie” ready because photos will be taken and posted on social media. ;P

On Sunday, try your luck in the Duck Pond by answering an HIV/STI trivia question correctly, for a chance to win awesome prizes!


Prizes include: dog tags, t-shirts, gift cards, and many more!

And as always, we are providing free and confidential HIV test, as well as Syphilis screening. We hope to see you there!


Free HIV, STI Testing Now Available In Ames

Primary Health Care’s Story County clinic in Ames now offers free and confidential rapid HIV and STI screening.

Get Tested For:

TestingFAQHIV – 1 Minute INSTI HIV tests.

Syphilis –  blood draw (results in as little as 5 business days.)

Chlamydia –  urine test, throat and/or rectal swab (depending on the type of sex). results in as little as 5 business days.

Gonorrhea – urine test, throat and/or rectal swab (depending on the type of sex). results in as little as 5 business days.

Ames Testing

33510 Lincoln Way Ames, Iowa 50014 | Phone: (515) 232-0628 | Clinic Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

You do not need to be a patient of Primary Health Care.

The test is FREE.

No insurance information required!

Walk-ins are welcomed between 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday – Friday.

No appointments needed!


Know Your Status Sooner

We now offer the Determine™ HIV test, the first rapid test that detects both HIV-1/2 antibodies and the HIV-1 p24 antigen earlier than 2nd and 3rd generation antibody-only tests.

HIV-1 p24 antigen can appear just 12-26 days after infection. HIV-1/2 antibodies first appear significantly later – 20 to 45 days after infection. It enables health care providers to diagnose HIV infection earlier allowing individuals to seek medical care sooner.

What else should you know?

  • It is CLIA waived for fingerstick whole blood.
  • Results in just 20 minutes, which means your appointment shouldn’t last more than 30 minutes.
  • It is reliable: Proved 99.9% overall clinical sensitivity for all sample types.


 Click here to schedule your appointment.


Happy Pride Des Moines!

It is Pride week here in Des Moines. The rest of Project HIM/The Project of Primary Health Care staff are busy preparing for this weekend’s festivities. As we have done in the previous years, we are providing FREE HIV and STD screening both Saturday and Sunday. (Saturday 3 pm – 7 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 4pm)

Project HIM 2015 Pride T-shirtThis year, we are offering the One-Minute INSTI HIV test along with other STD screening; including Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis. We are once again partnering with Polk County Health Department to ensure that we can accommodate a higher number of people wanting to get tested.

Be sure to stop by our booth this weekend. Our Saturday booth activity is going Totally 80’s (because Belinda Carlisle) with glow-in-the-dark slap bracelets, and an interactive Polaroid Social Media Booth. Sunday’s booth activity will have your opportunity to win this year’s Project HIM Pride t-shirt and other amazing swag,* all while learning about PrEP.

Find us at Pride, just look for the red tent next to an RV and Polk Co. Health Dept.’s trailer (the one that looks like a food truck).

* Project HIM sunglasses, clips, etc. (subject to availability)

One Minute HIV Test To Be Offered at Pride

The Project of Primary Health Care and Polk County Health Department will offer 1 minute HIV test at this year’s Capital City Pride in Des Moines, on June 13th and 14th.

The Project (formerly AIDS Project of Central Iowa) has been providing free and confidential rapid HIV testing at PrideFest since 2007.

During the festivities, the public can get a free 1 Minute INSTI HIV tests, along with screenings for Syphilis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea. Results for other STD screenings can take up to 5 business days.

The INSTI test is very well suited to events of this kind because results are available immediately. Other rapid HIV tests can require 15 to 40 minutes to run, which can deter people from testing or from returning for their results.

In addition to being the fastest test in the world, INSTI is over 99% accurate and the most sensitive rapid antibody test currently on the point of care market—meaning it can detect HIV earlier than all other tests of its kind, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data.

It is estimated that over 1.1 million people are HIV positive in America and 1 in 6 don’t know they are infected. Individuals on treatment can reduce their risk of spreading the virus by as much as 96%.

The first step is taking the test, and the CDC recommends routine HIV screening for all Americans aged 15 to 65 – not just those deemed to be “at risk.”

To get your free INSTITM test at PrideFest 2015, stop by The Project’s booth either on Saturday or Sunday of Pride. PrideFest 2015 will be held at the historic East Village on June 13th – 14th. Free testing is available on Saturday from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM, and Sunday from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.


CDC’s 2013 HIV Surveillance Report Now Available Online

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) annual HIV Surveillance Report titled Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2013, is now available online. The report summarizes information about diagnosed HIV infection from 2009 to 2013 representative of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and six U.S. dependent areas. Overall, HIV diagnosis rates remain stable yet disparities persist among some groups.

The report shows that the annual rate of diagnosis in the United States remained stable with 15.0 per 100,000 in 2013 compared to 15.3 per 100,000 in 2009.

Despite this, disparities persist—and in some cases—rates have increased among certain groups. As evidenced by this report and other previously released data, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM); young adults; and racial and ethnic minorities continue to bear the disproportionate burden of HIV, as well as individuals living in the South:

  • In 2013, MSM (including men with infection attributed to male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use) accounted for 68 percent of all new HIV diagnoses—a 10 percent increase from 2009
  • Young adults aged 25-29 years had the highest diagnosis rate (36.3 per 100,000) followed by persons aged 20-24 years (35.3 per 100,000)
  • African Americans accounted for the highest rate of HIV diagnoses, 55.9 per 100,000 compared to all other racial and ethnic groups
  • And regionally, rates per 100,000 were the highest in the South (20.5) compared to the Northeast (15.9), the West (10.8) and the Midwest (9.0)

At the end of 2012, there was an estimated 914,826 persons in the United States living with diagnosed HIV infection.

For individuals and groups at higher risk for HIV infection, testing is the critical first step towards accessing effective care and prevention services. But testing is only the beginning—once diagnosed, people need medical care and antiretroviral treatment so they can live longer and healthier lives and greatly reduce the chances of passing the virus on to others.

Surveillance is the cornerstone to understanding the burden of disease. CDC monitors our nation’s progress in reducing HIV so that resources are targeted in the right populations and are used to guide public health action at every level—national, state and local.

HIV surveillance data are used by CDC’s public health partners, other federal agencies, health departments, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and the general public to help monitor and focus primary prevention efforts, testing initiatives, awareness efforts of serostatus among persons living with HIV; and to plan services, allocate resources, develop policy, and monitor trends in HIV infection.

The 2013 HIV Surveillance Report is also available on the CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention’s website.


YOUR OPINION MATTERS: Be a part of our Advisory Panel

As a member of the Project HIM Advisory Panel, you’ll have an important opportunity to express yourself. You’ll receive regular surveys and/or be ask to attend a focus group meeting about. Simply tell us what you like, what you don’t like, what’s working, and what doesn’t.

  • Are we not doing something you think we should do?
  • Like what you see on our social media sites, or events we sponsor?
  • Want to see something different or has great ideas on how we can improve our service?

Curious about how it works?

February is our first focus group meeting for current and potential members.

  • Try it out and decide if it’s something you’d like to do!
  • We will be reviewing our latest campaign for PrEP.
  • Tell us what date/time works for you on this DOODLE.

Proposed dates: Confirmed date: February 3rd, 5th, 10th, & 12th | 5:15pm or 6:30pm. |1200 University Ave. Des Moines | Refreshments will be served.

Confident that it’s for you?

Complete the Advisory Panel information sheet. Join us and let your voice be heard!


Project HIM Returns To Ames


Primary Health Care Ames clinic – 3510 Lincoln Way

Every month starting January 15, 2015. (And every 3rd Thursday thereafter).

From 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Schedule an appointment here!

Project HIM will provide confidential and free HIV and STD screening at Primary Health Care’s new clinic in Ames, Iowa. Starting January 15th, 2015, (and every 3rd Thursday thereafter), you may request a free screening for the following sexually transmitted diseases/infections: Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions about HIV testing.

The free testing clinic will be available from 10am – 2pm, And the clinic is located at 3510 Lincoln Way, Ames, Iowa 50014. Walk-ins are welcomed, but to guarantee a spot and minimal wait time, you may schedule your visit on our calendar. Just select “Primary Health Care – Ames” for the location.

Don’t Know What Test To Get? – Check out the chart below:

Testing Guide_Web

Are you ready to schedule your appointment?

Click here to be directed to our online calendar.


World AIDS Day 2014

Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation

  • Read the Presidential Proclamation recognizing World AIDS Day 2014.
  • Don’t forget to check out EVENTS Page for World AIDS Day related activities and events, in or around Central Iowa.
  • Watch this video message for World AIDS Day 2014


November Giveaway!

You Could Win A $50.00 Gift Card!

Get Tested & Win! Starting November 1st, if you get your HIV/STD screening with Project HIM (during our regular testing clinic hours, or at any of our outreach testing events) you’ll be entered into a monthly drawing for a $50 gift card to the any of the following businesses:

  • RAYGUN Shirts
  • Liberty Gifts
  • Romantix
  • Jordan Creek Mall
  • Merle Hay Mall
  • Valley West Mall

Schedule Your Appointment Now! 


To enter: get tested with Project HIM either at our 1200 University Ave. Des Moines location, or at any of our outreach testing events.
RULES: Only 1 (one) entry per person per 90 (ninety) days. 1 (one) winner each month. Winner will be determined through a random drawing by a Project HIM staff member. Winner will be notified by email or phone call, whichever contact information is provided. Winner has 30 (thirty) days to collect his/her prize, in person. After 30 days, the winner forfeits his/her prize. The Project of Primary Health Care/Project HIM are not responsible for lost of stolen gift card. Gift card can not be substituted for cash. Non-transferable. Employees of The Project of Primary Health Care are not eligible to win. Void where prohibited.

Don’t Know What Test To Get? A Testing Guide For Gay Men Everyone

Never Been Tested? What To Expect & Other Testing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).


Project HIM To Have Saturday HIV & STD Testing Hours



Project HIM To Offer Free HIV & STD Testing on the 1st Saturday of Each Month


September 2, 2014. Des Moines – Project HIM (Healthy Iowa Men) will extend their free HIV/STD testing clinic hours to include the first Saturdays of each month. Starting in September, the testing clinic will be more accessible to those who are not able to come during their regular clinic hours, or at their many outreach testing events throughout the community.


Clients can take advantage of the free HIV testing, as well as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea screenings. Syphilis tests will be provided on most of the first Saturdays, but is regularly offered on weekdays. No appointments necessary during the First Saturday Testing Clinics, but client’s are encouraged to book an appointment to guarantee a spot. Tests will be offered from 10am – 2pm.


Project HIM’s regular HIV/STD Testing Clinic Hours are as follows:


Mondays: 9am – 4pm

Tuesdays: 4pm – 8pm

Wednesdays: 9am – 4pm

Thursdays: 4pm -8pm

Fridays: 9am – 2pm

Any client who gets tested on September 6th will be entered into a drawing for a $50 HyVee Gift Card. 


To schedule an appointment, visit, or call 515-248-1595.



In Depression Talking Helps

Depression is more common than you might think. It affects many people in a variety of ways and is a serious, recognized condition. Gay/bisexual men are at greater risk for mental health problems. When depression happens, it quickly takes hold in the form of a series of mutually reinforcing habits. Depressed behavior in the form of avoidance and social withdrawal reinforces depressed feelings and the lethargy that often accompanies depression.

It can be hard to open up and be honest about how you are really feeling. You may be used to putting on a ‘front’ with others and pretending you are fine. However, this leaves you feeling isolated and alone, which makes things worse. These are some of the ways that talking to someone can make a difference:


  • Unburdening yourself – It can be a great relief to get things off your chest. For some people it helps a lot if they know things will be kept confidential (eg. talking to a professional).
  • Getting perspective – Voicing thoughts or fears is very useful in making sense of them and putting them into perspective.
  • Easing isolation – Dropping the mask, being honest and connecting with someone else on a real level helps to counter the isolating effect of depression.
  • Care and compassion – If you choose well who to talk to, you are much more likely to be offered care and compassion than the rejection or ridicule you may fear.
  • Useful advice – Depending on who you talk to, you may get some useful help or advice in return – and even if some of it isn’t useful, remember you don’t have to take it!
  • Strategies and ways forward –Talking and openness shines a bright light onto depression’s distortions and lies. As you talk, you start to develop understanding and strategies for tackling depression.
  • Support network – Different people offer different kinds of support, so talking to different people can help build up a useful support network.


Having a supportive group of friends and family members is often key to successfully dealing with the stressors of day-to-day life and maintaining good mental health. People who are unable to get social support from their friends and families can find it by becoming involved in community, social, athletic, religious, and other groups. Mental health counseling and support groups that are sensitive to the needs of gay/bi men can be especially useful to those who are coming to terms with their sexual orientation or experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems.


The stigma of depression can keep people from reaching out to a professional. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness or failure. Many gay and bisexual men also may not seek care from a mental health provider because of a fear from discrimination or homophobia. There are many mental health professionals who specialize in issues affecting LGBTQ individuals. It is important to seek help and try to find a provider that you can trust.


Project HIM offers CLEAR. A free counseling workshop for gay/bisexual men living with HIV. In CLEAR, you’ll work one-on-one with a counselor to practice skills and set goals that empower you to live the life you choose.


For additional help and information, please visit Project HIM’s Resources page.


Sources: Students Against Depression, CDC: Gay & Bisexual Men’s Health
Related Posts: Communication – Overcoming Dating Barriers,

What’s The First Thing I Need To Know Before Starting PrEP?

You should know your status!

Before starting PrEP

You must be HIV-1 negative and stay HIV-1 negative before starting a PrEP. That is why you must:

  • Get tested to be sure you are HIV-1 negative. It is important that you also get tested at least every 3 months as recommended by your healthcare provider while on PrEP.
  • Not be on PrEP to reduce the risk of getting HIV unless you are confirmed to be HIV-1 negative.
  • Have no symptoms like feeling weak or tired, fever, sweating a lot (especially at night), rash, vomiting, diarrhea, joint or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, or enlarged lymph nodes in your neck or groin.
  • Be prepared to commit to adopting safer sex practices, such as correct use of condoms, limiting your sexual partners, knowing the HIV status of your sexual partners, and regular testing for HIV-1 (at least every 3 months) and other sexually transmitted infections, such as syphilis and gonorrhea.
  • make sure you understand the risks and benefits of taking a PrEP indication, such as Truvada, and you have spoken with your healthcare provider about questions and concerns.

Related posts: (Re) Introducing PrEP

Source: Important Safety Information About TRUVADA for a Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Indication For Uninfected Individuals (Gilead Health Sciences, Inc.)

(Re) Introducing PrEP

By now, you should have heard of PrEP (Pre Exposure Prophylaxis). It’s the drug that significantly reduces someone’s risk of HIV. But like most people, you probably have a lot of questions about it.


Back when we had the “Ask Our Experts” section, Dr. Joe responded to a general inquiry about the drug. See “Ask Our Expert: A Pill To Prevent Getting HIV?” At the time, there were still a lot of debate surrounding it, some ethical, some practical. There are more information about the drug available today.


A few weeks ago,  the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a drug treatment that will help in the preventing HIV infection in uninfected people. We recently spoke to a representative from Gilead Science Inc., maker of Truvada, to fill us in on what we need to know about PrEP, including how effective it is and how it should be used.


Who should be on PrEP?

Truvada, which is the name of the drug, is approved for healthy, uninfected people who are at high risk of contracting HIV through sex. These include sex workers and people with partners who are HIV-positive or engage in high-risk behaviors. What are high risk-behaviors?




See if PrEP is right for you! Take the PrEP Quiz here!


How effective is the drug in preventing HIV?

In one study, healthy gay and bisexual men who took Truvada daily and were counseled about safe sex practices lowered their risk of becoming infected by up to 42%. In another study involving heterosexual couples in which one partner was HIV-positive, the uninfected partner had a 75% lower risk of contracting HIV if they took Truvada.


Does Truvada cure AIDS?

No. The drug can treat people who are infected with HIV by lowering the amount of virus in their bodies and slowing down the progression of the disease. In healthy, uninfected people, the drug can thwart HIV’s ability to take hold in healthy cells and start an infection, by blocking the activity of an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate.


Here’s how I see it: Much like your car has seat belts, air bags, anti-lock breaks, etc.- that all together reduces your fatality risk from car accidents. PrEP is an additional tool, along with routine testing, using condoms, conversations with your partner(s) etc., in preventing HIV infection. 



More Questions?

PrEP Questions

We are working on putting together a guide to PrEP, similar to our Gay Man’s Guide To HIV & STD Testing.  Be sure to check back within the next few weeks.


In the meantime, if you have any questions about PrEP, including referrals to providers and drug assistance programs, feel free to contact us, or ask about it during your routine HIV & STD screening.


Schedule your appointment online. Use our test scheduler on our website. 



UPDATE: National Gay Blood Drive in Des Moines

national-gay-blood-driveDes Moines Participates in National Gay Blood Drive


The Des Moines drive is happening Friday, July 11th from 6:30 AM until 1:30 PM at LifeServe Blood Center at 431 E. Locust St. Ally donors are encouraged to schedule their donation by visiting The local National Gay Blood Drive leader is Greg Gross, Prevention Services Manager at The Project of Primary Health Care, and can be reached at or 515-248-1585 (office) and 515-344-5048 (cell).


Help us shed a nationwide light on this ban and get blood to those who need it. Watch the National Gay Blood Drive announcement video for more information, and visit to get involved.


About The National Gay Blood Drive

There is a constant need for blood and donors are essential in maintaining an adequate supply. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans gay and bisexual men from donating blood. On July 11, a nationwide blood drive will take place to bring attention to the ban and help save lives. Gay and bisexual men will show their willingness to contribute by bringing allies to donate in their place. This grassroots effort to create change cannot happen without you.


Sign the petition here!

See photos from the event on our Facebook page


National Gay Blood Drive



There is a constant need for blood & donors are essential in replenishing the supply. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans gay & bisexual men from donating blood. On July 11th, a nationwide blood drive will take place to bring attention to the ban & help save lives. Gay & bisexual men will show their willingness to contribute by bringing allies to donate in their place. This grassroots effort to create change cannot happen without YOU.


Mark your calendars to join us and show your support of lifting the ban! On July 1st, a sign-up sheet will be available to reserve a donation time slot for your ally to donate.


Click here for more information about the Des Moines event.


Visit for more information about this national event.



HIV Testing FAQ



Why Testing Together Is Important

Concurrent Partnerships and HIV Risk Among Men Who Have Sex With Men in New York City


A study in NYC shows that concurrent partnerships are a significant public health concern among men who have sex with men (MSM). The study describes the prevalence of concurrency and its association with serodiscordant/serostatus unknown unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse (SDUI) among MSM in New York City.


A total of 1458 MSM completed a social and sexual network inventory about their male and female sex partners, including concurrency, in the last 3 months. Logistic regression identified factors associated with SDUI.


29 – The median age of the participants.

23.5% – The proportion of participants who reported being HIV+.

3.2 – The reported mean of male partners in the last 3 months.

16.6% – The proportion of MSM who reported having recent SDUI.

63.2% – Described having concurrent sex partners (individual concurrency based on overlapping dates of relationships).

71.5% –  reported having partners whom they believed had concurrent partners (perceived partner concurrency).

56.1% – reported that both they and their partners had concurrent partners (reciprocal concurrency).


Among HIV+ men by self-report, having SDUI was positively associated with individual concurrency, any alcohol use during sex, having more male sex partners, and not having a main partner. Among self-reported HIV− men, having SDUI was positively associated with perceived partner concurrency, lower education level, any alcohol and drug use during sex, having more male sex partners, and having an anonymous partner.


Concurrency was common among MSM. The association of SDUI with individual and perceived partner concurrency, along with substance use during sex, having an anonymous partner, and having many sex partners likely further increases HIV acquisition and transmission risk among MSM. HIV prevention interventions should address concurrency among MSM.


Ready to get tested? Click here to schedule your appointment.


National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day - National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day March 10,2014


HIV/AIDS is a serious public health issue for women and girls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. Of those people, one in four (25%) is a woman 13 or older. Approximately 27,000 women have HIV but do not know they have the disease.


National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide observance that sheds light on the disease’s impact on women and girls.


Encourage the women and girls in your life to get tested and know their status. Project HIM offers free & confidential HIV & STD screening here in Central Iowa. Click here to go to our get-tested page to schedule an appointment.


Learn more by visiting this website:

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day |


HIV AIDS Study: No transmission with undetectable viral load, gay or straight.


Viral load suppression means risk of HIV transmission is ‘at most’ 4% during anal sex, but final results not due till 2017.


The second large study to look at whether people with HIV become non-infectious if they are on antiretroviral therapy (ART) has found no cases where someone with a viral load under 200 copies/ml transmitted HIV, either by anal or vaginal sex.
Statistical analysis shows that the maximum likely chance of transmission via anal sex from someone on successful HIV treatment was 1% a year for any anal sex and 4% for anal sex with ejaculation where the HIV-negative partner was receptive; but the true likelihood is probably much nearer to zero than this.
When asked what the study tells us about the chance of someone with an undetectable viral load transmitting HIV, presenter Alison Rodger said: “Our best estimate is it’s zero.”
Click here to read an in-depth report

Related topic: FACT SHEET: Undetectable Viral Load


A Gay Man’s Guide To HIV & STD Testing







Fact Sheet: Undetectable Viral Load

By Emily Claymore, San Francisco AIDS Foundation (as posted on


The term “undetectable viral load” pops up everywhere from lab reports and medical journals to social media and dating apps.


Here are some key terms and concepts to help HIV-positive and HIV-negative folks understand and explore what “undetectable” means.


Key Terms

  • HIV. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV hijacks cells in your immune system and uses them to replicate (make more copies of itself), destroying those cells in the process.
  • Viral load. Viral load refers to how many copies of HIV are present in a milliliter sample of blood. Viral load testing is a way to estimate how much HIV is in the blood. It is used to monitor immune function and see how well HIV treatment is working.
  • Antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART involves taking medications to keep the virus from replicating in an HIV-positive person’s cells. These drugs thereby decrease viral load.
  • Undetectable viral load. When copies of HIV cannot be detected by standard viral load tests, an HIV-positive person is said to have an “undetectable viral load.” For most tests used clinically today, this means fewer than 50 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood (<50 copies/mL). Reaching an undetectable viral load is a key goal of ART.
  • PrEP. Short for “pre-exposure prophylaxis,” PrEP is an HIV prevention strategy in which HIV-negative people take an oral pill once a day to reduce their risk of HIV infection.

Being Undetectable: Good News

  • You can live a healthier and longer life. Using ART to reach an undetectable viral load means that there is less HIV in your body. Less HIV means less damage to your immune system, allowing you to stay healthier and live longer.
  • You can reduce HIV transmission risk. Studies have shown that HIV-positive people who use ART can reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to their HIV-negative partners by as much as 9296%. More people on effective treatment and with their virus in check means more HIV infections are prevented—an approach called “treatment as prevention.”

A Few Words of Caution

  • “Undetectable” does not mean “cured.” An undetectable viral load means that so few copies of the virus are present in the blood that today’s monitoring tests are unable to detect them. Even with an undetectable viral load, however, an HIV-positive person still has the virus.
  • It’s not impossible to transmit HIV. Your viral load can fluctuate between monitoring tests. This can happen for no known reason, or when you have a sexually transmitted infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea, or when ART doses are missed. During these viral load “blips,” the chance of transmitting the virus may be higher. Also, viral load tests only monitor the amount of HIV in the blood, not in semen or vaginal fluid. We do not yet know how much virus needs to be present in body fluids for transmission to be possible.
  • Findings are largely from heterosexual couples. The studies that established ART treatment as effective at reducing HIV transmission by 9296% focused almost exclusively on heterosexual couples. More research is needed to assess whether suppressed viral load has identical benefits for gay and bisexual men and people who inject drugs.
  • New HIV infections continue to increase among gay and bisexual men. Despite the availability of ART and high levels of viral suppression, HIV incidence (the rate of new infections) is rising among gay and bisexual men, for reasons that researchers are investigating.
  • While suppressing the virus to undetectable levels has clear benefits for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative people, treatment as prevention is just one strategy for preventing new HIV infections. Other essential tools for HIV prevention include condoms and lube, sterile syringes for people who inject drugs or hormones, PrEP for HIV-negative individuals, regular HIV testing, self-education about HIV and sexual health, and open communication with sex partners.

Possible Exposure to HIV?

Do you believe you’ve been exposed to HIV within the last 36 hours?  Click the link below to find out more about PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis.   Mistakes happen and it’s important to know your options!  While the site lists resources in the NYC area, emergency rooms and health providers here in central Iowa can offer PEP, too.    Also, get your PEP questions answered by Dr. Joe, Project HIM’s medical expert.  Go to our “contact” page to send a message.

Pep 411


Sero-discordant Coupling: Looking after each other in Pos-Neg relationships

A Serodiscordant (sero-discordant) or magnetic relationship is one in which one partner is HIV positive and the other is HIV negative. This contrasts with seroconcordant relationships in which both partners are of the same HIV status (i.e. both are HIV positive or both are HIV negative).


Serodiscordant couples face numerous issues not faced by seroconcordant couples, including facing a decision as to what level of sexual activity is comfortable for them, knowing that practicing safer sex reduces but does not eliminate the risk of transmission to the HIV negative partner. There are also potential psychological issues arising out of taking care of a sick partner, and survivor guilt. Financial strains may also be more accentuated as one partner becomes ill and potentially less able or unable to work.


Research involving serodiscordant couples has offered insights into how the virus is passed and how individuals who are HIV positive may be able to reduce the risk of passing the virus to their partner.

Here are some of the most recent information and resources regarding sero-discordant coupling.




Is safe sex for gay men in serodiscordant relationships more than just condoms? (pdf)


There are no stupid questions say, Nurse Pam (pdf)


Sex without condoms? You can still reduce your risk!

Condoms are a highly effective way to avoid HIV infection and are the best protection from STDs.
If your condom use is inconsistent or nonexistent, here are some tips to reduce your risk of getting HIV:

Know your status – Get tested regularly for HIV and STDs—even if you don’t have symptoms because most STDs don’t have any symptoms.

Guys with STDs are 5 times more likely to get HIV. (BTW rates of syphilis have increased over 400% in Polk County from 2011 to 2012!)

If you have unprotected sex partners and don’t know their HIV status or they’re HIV-positive*, get tested more frequently than once a year. Click here to assess how often you should test.

Project HIM offers FREE HIV testing, as well as Chlamydia & Gonorrhea screenings. We also provide referral services for other STD screenings, such as Syphilis. Go to our Free Testing page to schedule an appointment.

Discuss HIV status: yours and your partners’ – We understand that having THAT conversation isn’t fun. But it’s important! Some guys have found that telling their status empowers others to do the same. However you choose to do it, discuss your status with partners BEFORE things get too hot & heavy!

Remember, you’re not at risk for HIV if you and your partner(s) are all HIV-negative or if you and your partner(s) are all HIV-positive.

Bottoming puts you at greater risk for HIV than topping – The membrane inside your anus is sensitive and easily torn (the tears may be microscopic). During anal sex, it’s easier for HIV and other STDs (if present) to be transmitted because of this. If you are the bottom, take precautions to keep yourself safer.

See the tips below and check out BarebackHealth.Net  And if you’re taking loads, it increases your risk for HIV. If you are the bottom and your partner ejaculates inside you, it puts you at more of a risk if you don’t know their status or they’re HIV-positive*.

By not taking loads or taking precautions if you do (see next tip), it will help to decrease the risk of getting a HIV/STDs.

Medications such as PrEP and PEP can reduce risk for HIV. – PrEP is a single pill called Truvada taken once daily before potential exposure to HIV in order to prevent HIV infection in people who are at high risk of getting HIV.

Read this previous Ask Our Experts entry.

Check out these resources to learn more —and consider talking to your health care provider to see if this is an option for you.

Love May Have Another Protector

My Life on PreP – Positive Frontiers 

My PreP Experience

Is Taking PrEP the Right Choice for You?

PEP (or Post-exposure Prophylaxis) taking anti-HIV drugs as soon as possible after potential exposure to HIV in order to reduce the chance of becoming HIV-positive. It consists of taking antiretroviral medications (HIV meds) for 28 days.

To be effective, it must be started within 72 hours of potential exposure to HIV. Click here or check out for more information about PEP.

*Along with PreP and PEP, there is Treatment as Prevention.

HIV-positive partners can greatly reduce their risk of passing on HIV to their sexual partners by regularly taking HIV medication.

Learn more here: HIV Treatment As Prevention or Positive Frontiers.


A Pill To Prevent Getting HIV?

I’ve heard about a pill you can take to keep from getting HIV. How do I get a prescription like that?

Good, you heard about TRUVADA, the pill recently recommended for daily use to prevent HIV infection. This pill is a combination of the two HIV drugs emtricitabine and tenofovir and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is now considering its final approval for prevention of HIV in those at high risk for getting HIV. Two recent studies showed the risk of getting HIV was cut 42% in healthy gay and bisexual men who also had counseling and used condoms and another study showed that the rate of HIV in heterosexual couples where one was HIV positive was cut by 75%. These studies showed that DAILY use of the drug was very important as those taking the drug less regularly had higher rates of infection.

So is it as simple as taking a pill a day? Not really.

There has been a lot of debate, like will it actually increase the rates of HIV because people may take more risks? Who’s going to pay for it? Will money spent on this take money away from treating those with HIV? How do we get people to take it daily? How do we convince people to keep using condoms? What about women who don’t seem to have as good a response to this medicine? What about side effects from the medication and drug interactions?

In spite of all the controversy, TRUVADA is a new and possibly very important tool to fight HIV, which can be added onto what you are already doing (condoms, safer sex activities), but remember it does NOT prevent HIV 100% of the time, it can be very expensive ($900.00 a month), may not be covered by insurance and needs to be taken daily.

If you are at risk for getting HIV, it is important for you to talk this over with your doctor or other health care provider, as only the two of you can decide if this is the right thing for you. Do it soon!


Men’s National Sex Study

Interested in what other guys are doing in bed (or elsewhere)?  The findings may surprise you…


<a href =”“> Men’s National Sex Study </a>


Primary Health Care & The AIDS Project To Join Forces


First Images from 2014 Project HIM Calendar

Whatever You're Into

2013 Project HIM calendar cover girl, Shenatta Tweenk Belle loves her Twinkies.

Last year, when we released the 2013 Project HIM calendar, Whatever You’re Into…, we did not anticipate that it’s going to be popular. We still have people asking for it, and it’s already September! It may have something to do with the sexy photos by Billy Porter (and the hot guys in it!). We just wanted to spread the word about Project HIM, and our particular brand of “no guilt, no shame” approach to HIV prevention.


For the 2014 Project HIM calendar, we took inspirations from our childhood. We partnered with photographer Robert Whicker and graphic designer Jordan Selha to create fun and sexy pictures of local guys and drag performers posing as characters from fairy tales, folk lore, and other literary fictional characters.


Earlier today, a portion of the photographs from 2014 calendar were released through our multiple social media outlets. The calendar will be unveiled during the annual Black Party this fall. More information about the event will come soon. In the meantime, here are some of the photos from the 2014 Project HIM calendar.


James & Joe as "Hansel & Gretel".

James & Joe as “Hansel & Gretel”.

2013 Mr. Iowa Leather, Mark as the big bad wolf, and Marwan as Red.

2013 Mr. Iowa Leather, Mark as the big bad wolf, and Marwan as Red.

The fabulous Tyona Diamond in and out of drag as Mulan

The fabulous Tyona Diamond in and out of drag as Mulan.

The handsome Anthony as the emperor in The Emperor's New Clothes.

The handsome Anthony as the emperor in The Emperor’s New Clothes.




Pride Yoga


Pride Yoga


Stretch your body, mind, and spirit in an accepting, judgment-free environment. Through our partnership with Glaza Studio, we are pleased to offer Pride Yoga. 

This class will incorporate yoga-inspired stretching and peace of mind through breath-work and intentions of gratitude and acceptance of oneself. Each class will begin with intentions and relaxing breath-work. We will continue with intentions as we stretch the body and work to gain strength and flexibility. This class is suitable for all skill levels-including beginners.

Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to open your heart. 

Sundays, starting March 10th. 12pm – 1pm

Glaza Studio, 502 E. Locust

$5 Drop-in or $35 for an 8-week pass.

Click here to download the registration form.

Project HIM assumes no liability, claims, demands, actions and causes of action whatsoever arising out of or related to any loss, damage, or injury, including death, sustained while participating in this class.


New Testing Hours for 2013

New hours starting in 2013!
Mondays: 9am-2pm (walk-ins welcome)
Wednesdays: 11am-7pm (walk-ins welcome)
Fridays: 9am-2pm (by appointment only)


New Testing Hours Starting October 1st!

New Clinic Hours