Q:
I know you can get AIDS from oral sex with a man, but can you get it from a woman? If so, is there a device such as condoms for men except for women?

A:
Yes, you can contract HIV from performing oral sex on a women, because HIV is found in both semen and vaginal secretions. The device used for safer oral sex on a woman is called a dental dam. It is a 6 inch by 6 inch square of latex that is used to cover the vagina during oral sex to prevent vaginal secretions getting in the giver's mouth. Dental dams can be difficult to find (try your local health department, AIDS organization, a dental clinic, or a shop such as Condomania in NYC). If you can't find a dental dam, you can make one by cutting up a latex glove or an unlubricated condom. The basic idea is to put a layer of latex between someone's vaginal secretions and your mouth. In an absolute emergency, you can use non-microwaveable saran wrap, but it is not made or tested for these purposes and therefore is not that reliable.



 

Q:
I had unprotected sex in my room this afternoon and I think I might have contracted an STD (sexually transmitted disease). What is the action I should take?

A:
First, make a commitment to yourself not to have unsafe sex again, so you don't put yourself at risk of contracting another STD and so you don't put anyone else at risk. The next thing to do is seek medical attention. STDs do not go away by themselves, and they can cause nasty long-term effects like sterility and impotence if left untreated. There are many sources of free or low cost STD treatment and they do not require parental consent. Clinics like Planned Parenthood offer these services, or you can contact the local Department of Health, or your private doctor. If you are having trouble locating help, call the National AIDS hotline at (800) 342-AIDS and they can refer you to a service in your area. Once you have been tested and treated for STDs like Syphilis, etc., you still have to decide whether to be tested for HIV. If you decide to be tested, you will have to wait at least three months before you get the test, so you will get an accurate result.


Q:
What can one do if they are raped or forced to have sex by a person infected with HIV or AIDS?

A:
First, anyone who has been forced to have sex should seek counseling because rape is an extremely traumatic experience. Look in the yellow pages under "rape crisis" for a service in your area. Unfortunately, there is no immediately way to determine if someone has been infected from a sexual encounter. The person in question should wait three months and then be tested for HIV. They could consider being tested at six weeks, since many people will test positive at six weeks if they have been infected, but a negative test at six weeks does not mean they are not infected. There is also a new type of test called a PCR that can give accurate results sooner, but it is expensive and hard to find.


Question:
Do flavored and colored condoms work any less then original ones?

Answer:
Colored/ flavored condoms are usually fine to use ­­ they're required to meet Federal standards.

The big exception is condoms marked "for novelty use only" on the package ­­ novelty condoms are usually dyed after they're made which weakens them.

The best bet are the colored/flavored ones made by major US manufacturers like Ansell, which makes Lifestyles.

Another consideration is that some people are allergic to certain dyes and flavorings - if you think this might be the case, rub the condom in question against in the inside of your arm to see if you develop a rash.

Also, flavored condoms should only be used for oral sex, unless you add lubricant (water-based please) and colored condoms are frequently lubricated which makes them a bad idea for oral sex since the spermicide can cause tingling and numbness of the lips, not to mention tasting terrible.


Question: How do "bi-sexual" people deal with identity(s)?? Doesn't it get twice as confusing???

Answer:
I am a bisexual woman who in the past has identified as lesbian while today has a boyfriend. I can be sometimes one thing and sometimes something else -- that's the nice thing about fluid postmodern sexuality.

I can be historically bisexual but identify as lesbian and travel primarily in lesbian community -- did that in the past... can't say it will never happen again. I can be historically bisexual and identify as such, have a primary partner who is male and have a girlfriend and hang out in a primarily activist community with people of many sexual orientations.

The funny thing, refering to HIV prevention, is that the prevention messages I get change according to what I call myself, not what I do. If I am a lesbian, I am told by lesbian-produced safer sex materials that I should wear latex gloves if I put my hand inside my girlfriend. If I am a bi-girl who travels in the straight world, no one talks to me about anything but condoms.

If I suck my male partner's cock, no one talks to me about using a condom. but many sources would suggest that _he_ do so if he's going to suck someone off. And no one tells _him_ to use a dental dam or other barrier when he goes down on me, but it is strongly suggested if _I'm_ going down on my girlfriend.

No wonder I sometimes want to be one thing and sometimes something else! __-- love, julie from philly.


 

 

You can ask more questions by e-mailing to us at YELL ~ ACT UP/New York

or writing to:

ACT UP/New York c/o YELL
332 Bleecker Street, #G5
New York, NY 10014

YELL home

ACT UP/New York