Men who have sex with men (MSM) is a term used to describe people who identify as men who engage sexually with other people who identify as men. The term MSM may apply to transgender and cisgender men. It should not be used to describe transgender women. The health concerns listed below are intended to be general and may not apply to you simply because you identify as gay, bisexual, and/or MSM. We acknowledge that there is a wide range of diversity with men’s bodies, and we cannot assume that all men have the same reproductive organs or genitals. It is important to find a medical provider that you trust to respond to your questions and concerns.
Safer Sex as HIV and STI Prevention
Safer sex is proven to reduce the risk of receiving or transmitting HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some STIs that may be transmitted through sex include those for which effective treatment is available (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, pubic lice, and others), as well as those for which no cure is available (HIV, Human papillomavirus, and hepatitis A, B, or C virus). Human papillomavirus (HPV)—which causes anal and genital warts—may play a role in the increased rates of anal cancers in MSM. Getting the HPV vaccine and practicing safer sex is highly recommended.
Regardless of gender identity, sex without the use of barriers (e.g., condoms) or prophylactic medication (i.e., PreP) increases the risk of HIV infection.
Pregnancy Considerations for Trans Men
For trans men or people on the trans masculine spectrum who have not had a hysterectomy (i.e., have a uterus/ovaries), there may be a possibility of pregnancy when having sex with men who produce sperm. Testosterone is not a means of birth control, even when there is cessation of menses. Hormonally-based birth control methods may affect hormone/testosterone therapy, so using condoms may be the best method of contraception. If you are interested in pregnancy or fertility preservation, it is best to explore options with your doctor.
A Few Safer Sex Tips