PrEP. It is officially an acronym for “Pre-exposure Prophylaxis.” It’s a pill that helps protect you against contracting HIV. Isn’t science amazing?
In fact, this crazy madness in a pill is nearly 98% effective at preventing HIV transmission. Holy hell that’s fucking awesome.
If PrEP is new to you, here’s the basics:
- A pill taken once a day that helps prevent contracting HIV.
- If taken every day without fail, it’s up to 92% effective according to the CDC. It’s thought to be more effective according to other researchers.
- It does NOT protect you or your partner from any other sexually transmitted diseases, including herpes, warts, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphillis or hepatitis. Only condoms will protect you from those.
I’m asked about PrEP by many of you. Primarily I’m asked about the controversy surrounding the pill. Many people, particularly in the men who have sex with men (MSM) community have decreased their use of condoms because they are taking PrEP.
Look, I’m a big fan of PreEP. It’s awesome. Think of how many lives we can save with this. But it’s not a ticket to get crazy and try to live out your 1970’s Castro sex party fantasies. It’s meant to be used as a compliment to condoms, not in place of them.
Working in a hospital I see patients with HIV or AIDS on a daily basis. This disease is still killing people, people. Plain and simple. I’m not in this to slut shame anyone or place judgment on your sexual practices. But I have to look at this issue as a nurse practitioner, as a public health advocate, and as a gay man. Our community has gotten complacent about AIDS. It’s amazing how quickly we’ve forgotten the lessons of our generation we lost to AIDS.
Yes, fucking without a condom feels so much better than with one. But I watch people die of AIDS related complications in the hospital all the time. I also see patients with other STDs that are stuck with them for life. It ain’t worth it guys. The rules haven’t changed. If you want to stay disease free, take your PrEp AND wrap it up.