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HIV Prevention - Be PrEPared

What the fuck is wrong with you? Forget your one a day multivitamin and take your PREP. If you are gay, single and like to fuck around, (or think your partner likes to fuck around on you,) it’s the answer to your prayers. Despite this I can’t tell you the number of people who have told me they are not on PrEP.

I was one of those stupid people. There is never a good reason to be stupid. My reason and there was no excuse for it was I had never heard of it, I was probably about 55 and until Aaron told me about PrEP I had never heard of it, Nothing worse than an ignorant homo. After he told me I went straight to the doctor and got my prescription. Easy as that. I lived in the states at the time and my insurance covered it. I also know that if you are in the states and do not have insurance there are plenty of clinics you can go to where you can get it free of cost.

Recently I heard from one of our readers who was older like I was when he came out. He came out before Covid hit and had started PrEP. As it turned out he was seeing a few guys and during Covid stopped taking his PrEP due to lockdown. However he was still seeing some of his regulars and assumed they were, “clean”. After lockdown he went to resume his PrEP. He had to get tested again and found out he was HIV Positive. He is doing well and undetectable now, but I find it a heartbreaking story. It’s heartbreaking to hear of anyone getting ill. But for some reason it affects me more when someone just lets their guard down for even the smallest amount of time and has that kind of bad luck.

For those of you who don’t know PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis, better known as Truvada. It is a pill for those at high risk of contracting HIV and is about 95% effective in protecting you from getting HIV. PrEP is not just for single gays it also protects many other groups from getting HIV. Some of the larger groups at risk for getting HIV are, people who inject drugs, people having unprotected sex with people of unknown HIV status.

Be aware though, taking Truvada may be the best protection against HIV, but it will not protect you from getting STIs. If you really want to be more than protected from HIV and STIs wear condoms. I did not wear rubbers. that is your decision to make for yourself. Maybe that still makes me stupid but today at least most STIs are curable. I also had myself tested often for STIs.

From what I have read it seems that much of the population including gays think that HIV has pretty much been stamped out. This is not true. HIV is not the death sentence it once was. Today people with HIV can live long and happy lives. Huge strides have been made in medications helping people with HIV but preventing HIV should be the course of action for people. Ending this global epidemic should be paramount. To insure this everyone having bareback sex should be taking Truvada.

I would like to think of myself as being fairly well read and someone who is interested in current affairs, yet I did not have an understanding of what was going on in one of the communities I belong to. I take partial blame for this but I also think part of the blame should be placed on the governments of these countries where HIV has had such a devastating impact. I don’t think they have been doing enough to educate everyone who is or can be impacted by HIV. Too often it is something simply not dealt with.

I cannot even remember my doctor who is gay and who knew I was gay and single ever mentioning Truvada to me. My doctor is someone I hold in high esteem. I am not sure whether it was his job to educate me but I would hope if I had been a doctor I would have tried to educate my patients in HIV awareness and prevention. Certainly, it is the same as making sure people get their flu shots every year.

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