Life I got HIV after passing out in the sauna by Gerry 23, from London. A few months ago I found out that I’m HIV-positive. I guess what happened was my own fault. It was a Friday afternoon and as usual I went out with the gang from work for a few drinks. Generally we have a few pints in the local pub, grab some food and then head on to another pub. Fridays tend to be one of those days we get pissed early and usually I’m home in bed by 11pm. However this one Friday after I had said goodbye to my workmates I was on my way home when I got the urge for a few more pints. So I got off the bus in Shoreditch and headed to the gay bar. I was already fairly tanked and didn’t have much to eat. I wasn’t there long as I got the horn so I had a couple of shots for dutch courrage and made my way to the sauna. My memory is a bit hazy after this point and I don’t remember much but after wandering about the sauna for a while I decided to find a cubicle and sleep for a while. When I woke up the cubicle door was open and my towel was undone. I felt really odd and felt a soreness in my arse. I quickly got up grabbed my towel and headed for the toilet. It was in there that when I checked my ass I could feel cum and there was some blood. It took me a while to figure out that I was fucked while passed out. As soon as I realised what happened I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. I instantly felt ashamed at what happened and felt stupid becuase I was so out of it that I didn’t notice that someone had sex with me without me knowing. I left the sauna there and then and went home to bed. The next day I stayed in bed all day staring at the wall thinking about what happened. How could I let something like that happen? I started to blame myself. I then thought, ‘maybe I had sex with someone and just can’t remember’. But the more I think back the more I am sure I didn’t. Eventually I just ‘got over it’ and vowed it would never happen again. But a couple of months later I knew there was something wrong with me. After feeling sick for a while I went to get checked out and my results came back as positive. Three months passed since I got that result and I’m starting to cope with the idea of being HIV-positive. I’m sure I got it from that night in the sauna and as much as I’d love to go back in time and stop myself from going there, I can’t. My advice to you is if you are drinking, or doing drugs please watch what you are doing. Being so drunk that I didn’t know what was happening made me HIV-positive. Don’t make the same mistake I did. FS SAYS... Is this a common story? Lots of gay men drink way too much or take too much drugs, get the horn, then head to the local sauna and end up passing out in a cubicle. We at FS have heard stories of guys waking up with someone fucking them or waking up and feeling like they have been fucked. There are a few things you need to know if this happens to you. First: If you think you’ve been fucked without condoms, PEP is available from your nearest GUM clinic. PEP is a month long course. If you start taking it within 72 hours of possible infection you have a good chance of remaining HIV-negative. PEP should not be seen as a ‘cure’. For more information, visit, www.gmfa.org.uk/pep Second: It’s way too easy for us or anyone to say mind your drinking. We know it’s easier said than done but getting yourself into a state where you don’t know if you’ve been fucked or not is something to be concerned about. If you are planning on heading to a sauna try and curb your drinking a little so as to minimise the chances that you pass out. For more info on alcohol and drugs, visit www.gmfa.org.uk/alcohol-and-drugs Third: Just because you pass out in a sauna (or back room) does not give anyone the right to have sex with you without your consent. This is sexual assault. The person who fucked you without you knowing just raped you. If this has happened to you we suggest you get in contact with GALOP who specialise in situations like this. For more information, www.galop.org.uk or www.gmfa.org.uk/rape. Lastly: Incidents of this nature are rare but they do happen. Some people’s first reaction will be to ‘positive bash’ and put some blame on ‘wreckless HIV-positive man’ taking advantage of someone who passed out. Please remember that HIV-positive men who are on medication are less likely to pass on HIV. The majority of people who pass on HIV are men who are undiagnosed. It’s easy to judge. Education rather than finger pointing will help stop incidents like this happening in the future.