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The Rising Trend of Barebacking: Risks and Health Considerations

In recent years, the practice of barebacking has gained popularity, posing significant health risks, especially within the LGBTQ+ community.

Renowned researcher and HIV rights activist, Ricardo Baruch, recently conducted a conference shedding light on the practice and its associated risks. The importance of regular HIV and STI testing was emphasized during this session.

What is Barebacking and Why Does It Occur?

Barebacking involves engaging in sexual activities without the use of a condom, a practice particularly prevalent among the gay community and men who have sex with men (MSM). Many choose to partake in barebacking despite the known health risks, citing reasons such as the belief that HIV is less severe nowadays, a desire for a more "natural" experience, exclusivity with a single partner, disinterest in condom use, or the influence of substance use.

Influences of Social Media and Pornography

Social media, the internet, and pornography contribute significantly to the decision to practice barebacking. Numerous individuals share unprotected sexual encounters on social platforms, while the adult film industry capitalizes on content featuring bareback sex.

Risks Associated with Barebacking

The primary health risk associated with barebacking is the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV, among others. The high incidence of STIs among MSM engaging in barebacking in cities like Mexico City underscores the urgency of regular health check-ups.

A Related Practice: Bugchasing

Bugchasing involves intentionally transmitting HIV from individuals living with the virus to those seeking to acquire it. Dating apps often witness instances of bugchasing or barebacking, contributing to the spread of HIV and other STIs.

Major STIs Resulting from Unprotected Sex

HIV: Transmitted through anal or vaginal penetration, sharing of needles, or from mother to child during pregnancy. Regular testing and early detection are crucial.

HPV: Often asymptomatic, contributing to various cancers. Some strains cause genital warts, even with condom use.

Hepatitis: Causes liver inflammation, commonly transmitted through unprotected sex. Vaccines are available for Hepatitis B.

Syphilis: Results in genital and anal sores, easily transmitted through contact with these lesions. Early treatment is crucial.

Gonorrhea: Bacterial infection transmitted through fluids. Improper antibiotic use contributes to drug-resistant strains.

Factors Reducing HIV Transmission

Understanding the viral load of a partner significantly reduces HIV transmission risk. An undetectable viral load poses no transmission risk. Circumcision may reduce HIV acquisition risk for those assuming the insertive role, but it's not a substitute for condom use.

Prevention Strategies

Condom Use: Essential for preventing STI transmission.

Lubricant: Reduces friction, minimizing the risk of internal injuries and HIV transmission.

PrEP and PEP: Medications significantly reduce HIV transmission risk.


Ricardo Baruch's insightful conference serves as a reminder of the critical importance of condom use and regular HIV testing. As we explore the risks associated with barebacking, it is crucial to make informed decisions regarding safer sexual practices. This conference, held on March 21, 2019, remains a valuable resource in promoting sexual health awareness.

Now armed with knowledge about barebacking and its risks, think twice before engaging in unprotected sex. Stay informed, stay safe

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