What You Should Know About PrEP, The HIV-Preventative Drug

by Donny Meacham

Ever since PrEP came on the market, there has been so much talk around it. Like most things there are strong advocates and even stronger opponents.

PrEP (short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a pill that can prevent one from contracting HIV.

If you look at it on the outside, you see a pill that could stop a disease that’s been crippling our community for years.

Yet, can the widespread use of PrEP have a negative impact on our community?

I think yes, if not taken responsibly.

As more and more gay men are using PrEP, they are using it as an excuse not to use a condom during sex.

Guys are seeing PrEP as a way out of responsibility during sexual activity.

This is absolutely not true.

Guys still need to be responsible when having sex, because there is so much more than HIV to worry about when having casual sex. You need to worry about protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases as well.

In our community, STDs are very common.

There’s nothing wrong with them, and I’m not judging someone with an STD, but if you can prevent it, why wouldn’t you?

Our generation is probably one of the more clueless when it comes to HIV.

We live in a time where we’re told to get tested by signs in almost every gay bar bathroom, billboards and even mobile vans around most major cities offering free testing.

Meanwhile, ask yourself when the last time you got tested for HIV or STDs was? I’m going completely honest and say it’s been over six months for me, which means it's past time for me to get tested.

Yet, I would argue we are the most promiscuous and unsafe generation of gay men.

This is in part due to technology, in that we have literally the ability to hookup in the palm of our hand throughout a plethora of gay apps.

With these apps, gay men are having more and more random hookups, and a lot of the time those random hookups can be without protection.

I’ve personally had guys say to me that they are on PrEP, therefore want to have unprotected sex. This is extremely ignorant and irresponsible.

This is what needs to be stressed when taking PrEP. It is only safe against protecting you from HIV; it does not protect you from STDs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes.

This is all about education, something that our generation is really lacking when it comes to HIV, unprotected sex and the pit falls that can come from it.

It's also important to note that the widespread casual use of drugs in the gay community has led to an increase in STDs and contraction of HIV.

There’s even an acronym for drug use during sex called PnP (party and play).

Let’s be clear: I’m not badmouthing PrEP.

Hell, if I had health insurance (I know all about Obamacare, and that insurance is mandatory, but tell that to my bank account), I would personally be on PrEP as a measure of protecting myself.

I think it’s an incredible breakthrough in modern medicine, and something that will have a lasting impact on our generation.

The fact that we could eradicate HIV in our lifetime seemed nearly unfathomable before PrEP came along.

Now other drug manufacturing companies are trying as fast as they can to duplicate the drug, make it more affordable and more accessible to gay men everywhere.

I just don’t want to see it blindly used as an excuse not to protect yourself during sex. Once you have sex, you’re an adult, so as an adult act like one.

Be smart, make good choices and protect not only yourself, but your future partners.