How do you know what you know?

It may seem that guys are using condoms less these days for casual anal sex. In reality most gay guys still use condoms.

Gay and bisexual men can be proud of our efforts to eliminate new HIV infections in our communities. But HIV infections among gay and bisexual men in Canada are on the increase again. We need to start talking about it.

The purpose of this campaign is to encourage that. The firs phase of it ran for the summer of 2004 and included sexually suggestive graphics to get guy's attention, and included the phrase, "How do you know what you know?"

Talking about sensitive issues isn't always easy with friends and boyfriends. And in a casual fuck scenario the kind of communication needed to negotiate sex without condoms is even harder. So guys wanting to fuck without a condom look for clues about their partner's HIV status. The decision about whether or not to use a condom in these situations is often based on assumptions not facts.

Sometimes these assumptions are correct and things work out. But when our assumptions are wrong there's a risk of HIV transmission.

Think Again

Fucking without a condom: do you know you have the correct information to make the decision? Many guys think they are HIV negative, but may be positive and not even know it.

Committed to remaining HIV negative, or to not accidentally infecting someone else? Then think again about the assumptions you're making. Are you being as safe as you want to be?

There is no "one size fits all" answer. For some gay and bisexual men the answer is using a condom every time. For other guys fucking without condoms only happens with a committed, monogamous partner.

Just as there is a huge diversity of men in our communities, there is a diversity of personal approaches to reducing our risks. Our communities need to have more discussion about what's working and what's not. We'll beat HIV, but it's going to take every one of us to do it.

The main web page for the Canadian part of the worldwide Assumptions campaign is:

Other health-related issues can be found on pages marked as HealthCategory


Here, have a poster: pic Someone writes: PLEASE stop putting this on the frontpage. We have a space for advertising on the bottom.

Someone else writes: Its NOT advertising per se, its a public service message and I would rather see it on the frontpage where it will seen instead of hidden away. Could the prudes be the ones who won't get tested in our community???

CapnDan writes: this is an important message, people. HIV infection rates among gay men are on the rise for a variety of reasons. We need to get the message out, that nothing has changed with how AIDS is transmitted and there is nothing like a cure. The campaign only has another couple of months to go.

MikeGodfrey writes: Yes, but having a big honkin' poster on the front page with lines like "He came inside me, but I can twirl like a ballerina so I must be negative" are off-topic for the front page, which is supposed to be showing people where to go for various topics. If you want to stop the spread of AIDS, take 15 minutes and contribute to a discussion on one of the pages on here about aids. Taking two seconds and re-adding a message to "educate" people that are so far gone that they've forgotten grade 10 health class is a strategy with more heat than light.

Relax Mike... take a deep breath! I looked at the gallery of the campaign and your statement of: "He came inside me, but I can twirl like a ballerina so I must be negative" is pathetic as its not even close to any of the well designed safe-sex messages this campaign is putting out.

What you did was add drama, that wasn't needed, to a very serious subject. This and other STD prevention messages belong on the opening page where people will take notice. They aren't going to look at it if its gonna take effort to look it up!

Interesting reply but I really wonder if someone, who is too dumb to figure out how and why a condom is used, is going to be able to surf a website to search for the information.

I play with many HIV+ guys and there is a reason I'm still negative - condom use. I'd prefer that the young guys experimenting with sex have condom usage (and the consequences for not practicing safer-sex) thrown in their face everytime this site opens. Safe sex is something that many in the community think is old stuff and aren't practicing it anymore. Multiply this by hundreds of thousands of gay men and you quickly realize how widespread the problem is. So why not start with targeting our own community members when it comes to condom use. This campaign and the posters on here do just that.