And HIV-positive gay men are more likely to smoke and smoke more than other gay men. Here are some of the health problems HIV-positive are vulnerable to:
Lung Cancer- HIV-positive smokers are more likely to get lung cancer than HIV negative-smokers. Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers not normally related to HIV. In HIV-positive people it often occurs under the age of 40, and when the patient has a health immune system (CD4 count). The most significant risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, and stopping smoking significantly reduces the risk.
Anal Cancer- HIV-positive smokers are more likely to get anal cancer than HIV-negative smokers. Anal cancer is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV is far more common, and more likely to develop into cancer, in HIV-positive men. Theree are othere risk factors involved in anal cancer, and in the increased incidence of anal cancer in HIV-positive men, but smoking is one of the risk factors that cant be altered.
Heart Disease and Stroke- HIV-positive smokers are more likely to suffer heart attacks, heart disease and stroke than HIV-negative smokers. Smoking, being a white gay male, increased age, and taking anti-HIV medication are all collected with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Of these, smoking is the only risk factor that can be changed.
Dementia- HIV-positive smokers are more likely to develop brain illnesses than HIV-negative smokers. Before anti-HIV drugs, AIDS-related dementia was common. Now it had been widely thought that HIV-related brain disorders had disappeared, but there are increasing reports of problems.
Although there is a much decreased rate of AIDS-related dementia thanks to anti-HIV medication, the condition still remains a problem. We know that smoking and having HIV are a risk factor for brain degenerative disorder.
Sexual transmitted infections (STIs) are infections that you can pic up or pass on to others through sex. They can be caused by bacterial, viruses or parasites. Thankfully, they are treatments for all of them and most can be cured. Those that cant be cured, such as HIV, can now be controlled with drugs. Some STIs, such as hepatitis A and B, can be prevented by vaccination.
Many STIs don’t have symptoms, so you may not know that you’ve caught one or that the guy you’re with has one. Some STIs stay inside the body and do not show up till a long time after you were first infected. But if you feel that something is wrong you should get a medical examination. Many gay men have a full sexual health screening every six months, or annually, just to be sure.
Gonorrhoea (also called ‘the clap’) is a bacterial infection that can affect the mucous surface that line the penis, rectum, throat and even eyes. The bacterial can be in your mouth, rectum or penis, you can catch it from all types of sex, but especially through unprotected anal and oral sex, and rimming. The bacterial is present in pre-ejaculation (pre-cum) and semen (cum).
The most common symptoms burning sensation when they urinate, sore throat, pain in the rectum, or pus coming from your rectum. This can be cured quickly and completely with antibiotic. Usually treatment is with a single dose of tablets or a single injection. Using a condom for anal and oral sex can prevent the spread of gonorrhoea.
This is a bacterial infection. It usually affects the urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen out of the body) but Chlamydia can also affect your rectum or throat. Chlamydia live in the urethra, rectum and throat so you pick it up or pass it on by anal and oral sex if you don’t use a condom. The common symptoms for Chlamydia are burning sensation when you urinate and you might notice a discharge from your urethra and also can spread to your testicles, making then swollen and painful.
This can be treated and cured with a course of antibiotics.
Syphilis is a highly infectious bacterium that usually affects your penis but can also affect your rectum, or throat, or other parts of your body. This usually gets into your body through tiny breaks in the skin, especially around the anus, pens and mouth. So any direct contact with the sore or rash of syphilis can lead to transmission. Most often passed on through unprotected anal or oral sex, but also fingering, rimming, mutual masturbation or fisting can spread the disease.
The symptoms of syphilis vary according to the stage of the disease. It has three distinct phases or stages which are – The Primary syphilis, where you only get a single sore or ulcer on your penis or testicles or in your mouth or rectum .These sores are painless so you not notice that they are there. Then there is the Secondary syphilis, you will mostly feel tired and achy, as if you have the flu. You can also get mouth ulcers. Then the last stage is called Tertiary syphilis, in this stage your heart, brain and nervous system are seriously affected.
This can be treated and cured with antibiotics. But it usually requires a series of injections or a course of tablets over a few weeks to get infection under control.
Pubic Lice (‘Crabs’)
Pubic lice are tiny crab-shaped, about one millimetres long, that feeds on your blood. They usually live in your pubic hair at the base of your penis and around your testicles.
Pubic lice can’t jump or fly but must crawl from one infected person to another and so are almost always spread through intimate body contact, most commonly during sex. The main symptom is severe itch, usually in the pubic region. Some guys tend to self-treat and shave themselves in hope that this will clear the infection- but it doesn’t really work for all. To kill the lice you need a medicated lotion that you can buy from a chemist without prescription.
You apply it to the whole body, avoiding the face and the neck and leave it overnight before showering in the morning.
Hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis A is probably the least serious of the many hepatitis viruses that can cause this condition. This virus is very infectious. It is present in faeces and so can easily be passed to your mouth through sex act such as fingering, rimming, handling sex toys. Hepatitis A is not only transmitted sexually. Most often it is caught by eating food prepared or handled by someone with the infection who has not washed hands after visiting the lavatory.
The symptoms are mild flu-like illness, and it can make you feel very tired. Some people become very ill and lose weight, having itchy skin and dark urine.
There is no particular treatment for Hepatitis A because usually your immune system deals with the infection. If the liver is damaged there are separate treatments for this.