Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis is now a reality in the lives of gay men. The general principle is that one takes antiretroviral medications to reduce the chances of contracting HIV. Currently the only drug approved for such use is Truvada. We wanted to give you an inside look at one man’s experience with PrEP so we’ve started a new column called My Life On PrEP.
This will be an ongoing series that provides an account of what it means to be on PrEP and how it impacts one person’s health, sexuality and relationships. PrEP can be a controversial issue but I believe that controversial issues are best dealt with by engaging in open and honest dialogue.
I think the most important point I can make is that there is no shame in using PrEP. It’s a safe, effective, and legal option for preventing HIV infection. People who decide to go on PrEP shouldn’t be seen as reckless, or stupid, or promiscuous. We’ve heard the same argument in regards to women’s reproductive health and we know that using contraception does not make you a slut.
The fact is gay men now have more options for preventing HIV. What is that going to mean for our community, our relationships and our every day lives?
Our new columnist, Jake Sobo, is going to help us understand what PrEP means for the lives of gay men. “Jake” is a pen name, not because the author of the column is ashamed of his choices or behavior, but because we live in a world were future employers can now use the internet to discover all the details of a person’s life. Jake is on the job hunt and would hate for an honest discussion about his sex life to prevent him from achieving the career goals he has worked so hard for
Here is how Jake describes himself:
Jake has worked in the world of HIV prevention for nearly a decade, and is eager to share his experiences taking PrEP. Having closely followed the development of PrEP from early trials to FDA approval, he was excited to give it a shot when it was approved for use among MSM for preventing HIV. He has spent the better part of his adult life having as much sex as possible while trying to avoid contracting HIV, and started taking PrEP as a way to help him stay negative. He is well aware that the drug is not 100% effective and that he could test positive; while he hopes that does not happen, he knows that he can rely on his numerous HIV-positive friends to deal with that situation should he seroconvert.
PrEP isn’t for everyone and the decision to go on PrEP is something that should be made after research and careful consideration. The pill should be taken everyday and one should be engaged in care. It’s really shouldn’t be that controversial of a topic. If PrEP isn’t for you, then don’t take it. But it might be right for someone else and they should be allowed to explore that option.
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