Fever, sore throat, headache, muscle pain, rash, and swollen lymph nodes may sound like the flu, but it could indicate a bigger problem, like HIV.
Passing on critical information is the goal of the “Get on it” campaign targeted to gay and bisexual men about issues relating to HIV and syphilis testing.
“The program is targeted specifically to men who have sex with men, it’s a campaign to encourage testing for HIV and syphilis,” said Zhaida Uddin of the Healthy Sexuality & Risk Reduction Unit of Ottawa Public Health.
In Ontario, gay and bisexual men continue to be greatly affected by HIV and syphilis. Gay and bi-sexual men represent the majority of people living with HIV and the majority of new syphilis cases. Toronto and Ottawa are the most affected regions in Ontario.
"Get on it" provides gay and bi guys with the information they need to make an informed decision about whether or not they need to be tested for HIV and syphilis, and when to be tested.
In August, Ottawa Public Health released a PSA to the media and their community partners detailing information about the increase in HIV among young men in Ottawa.
“The rise in HIV among 20-29 year old Ottawa men is the highest it’s been in the last decade. We’ve had 14 cases in 2011 versus 7 cases in 2010,” said Uddin.
According to the www.come-on-in.ca website, safer sex is any kind of sexual activity that reduces the chances of becoming infected, "superinfected" (getting a different strain of a virus you already have), or transmitting HIV, hepatitis C or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
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