I saw an article questioning the safety of lubricants for anal sex. Should I stop using lube?
A recent study showed that using lube while having anal sex increased the risk for some sexually transmitted infections ( STIs ) . Data about HIV transmission was not reported in this study, so there is no evidence that using lube increases HIV risk. Another study showed that some lubes may harm cells of the rectum. For more information on these studies and responses, check out: tinyurl.com/LubeMania.
Important questions remain to be answered, however. Particularly, since bacterial STIs may act differently in our body than a virus like HIV, do these findings translate to HIV infection? Also, how might lubes cause physical damage in the rectum, and could that be connected to HIV transmission?
Despite these questions, here is what we do know
Condoms are still your best protection
Using lube with condoms can prevent condom breakage
Anal sex without lube can be painful and may cause trauma/bleeding in the rectum ( a risk for HIV transmission )
No, you shouldn't stop using lube. However, there is no safety data on sexual lubricants. As AIDS expert Gus Cairns states, "There is clearly an urgent need to conduct further research into sexual lubes."
Peter Pointers is an online, gay health educator and is assisted by a group of qualified health specialists who work as a team to answer your health questions. Check out Peter's Question/Answer forum at www.lifelube.org/experts.php for more pointers and to ask your own questions.