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Tag: resources

12
Aug

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,
27
Nov

A Gay Man’s Guide To HIV & STD Testing

HIV Testing GuideCLICK HERE FOR A DOWNLOADABLE/PRINTER-FRIENDLY PDF VERSION.

 

CLICK HERE FOR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT HIV TESTING.

 

CLICK HERE FOR OTHER RESOURCES.

28
Feb

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 PEP411.com 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.