Sexual Health Information for Gay Men

Syphilis has been on the rise among gay/bisexual men in Rhode Island. It can spread through oral sex or anal sex. You may have syphilis and not have any symptoms, so being tested for it by a doctor is important.

If left undetected and untreated, late-stage syphilis can lead to muscle movement difficulties, paralysis, numbness, gradual blindness, and dementia.

What you should do to stop syphilis

  • All sexually-active people should get tested yearly, and perhaps more often if you have multiple sex partners. If your partner has syphilis, you should get tested immediately.
  • Tell your doctor that you would like to be tested for syphilis. Your doctor will ask you some questions and will probably order some lab tests.
  • If you have syphilis in an earlier stage, your doctor can treat you so that you are cured.
  • After treatment, continue regular testing as your doctor recommends. If you already had syphilis in the past, you can get it again.
  • Always use a condom during anal sex.
  • Avoid having oral sex with a man that has a sore/rash on his penis.
  • Avoid having oral sex if you have a sore in your mouth. more

What you can do

Know the facts about syphilis, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and how STDs can increase the risk of HIV infection.

Keep the conversation open with sexual partners about STDs, HIV, and testing. more

Talk to your doctor about your sexual health. Your doctor is trained in talking to people about sensitive topics like sex. more

If you don’t have a regular doctor:

Put on condoms correctly every time with your partner.more

Get free condoms at adult venues, health clinics, college campuses, bars, and clubs.

Learn about prescription medications that now help prevent HIV before exposure and after exposure (for example, through sex, injection drug needles, or other accidental exposure at work).