If there was a queue of queers waiting to sing the praises of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), girl, lemme tell you… I’d be first in line.
But recently, I’ve noticed a rather unfortunate side effect since that chunky blue pill came into our lives that I think needs some serious discussion:
I keep hearing that people who choose or prefer to use condoms are being shamed for it.
Now, I know that the magic blue pill is a pharmaceutical miracle and that even if I have bareback sex with the entire Blue Bulls squad and the rest of Eastern Pretoria that my chances of contracting HIV are basically zero because I pop that pill religiously.
But hear me now brothers and sisters and nonbinary siblings! I still use a condom when I have sex with someone who’s star sign and middle name I do not know.
It’s called Prevention, Princess
Why? you may ask. Well, because I know that PrEP cannot and will not protect me from a host of other sexually transmitted infections.
Without a condom, I am at risk of exposure to HPV (genital warts), gonorrhoea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes simplex and hepatitis not to mention crabs, scabies and Dolby’s itch, to mention a few.
Now, yes, I know, many of these can easily be treated with a good antibiotic but the HPV and the gonorrhoea, chlamydia and hepatitis can have serious health risks some of which include the possibility of throat, mouth and liver cancer amongst other things.
So, my pretty peeps, if that hunk of man you’ve just met and are about to ride like Vespa produces a condom, don’t laugh at him or say “leave that I’m on PrEP”, because he may want to be cautious about the other dozen or so STIs in the bouquet on offer other than good old aunty HIV.
Watch your PrEP Privilege
Also, not everyone can afford PrEP. Remember, that.
Some people don’t have access to fantastic clinics and initiatives that offer them free PrEP and there are many many spectacularly fabulous people who definitely cannot afford the extra R300 to R700 per month it would cost to buy PrEP every month.
Then there’s our HIV-positive brethren too who need considering. He may want to use a condom out of consideration for your STI status without having to tell you his whole medical life story.
Look, we know it’s preferable for HIV-positive individuals to disclose their status to their new lovers, but the reality is that this is not always the case. It’s your responsibility to look after your health though so take the precautions you need to do that.
Best of both world
When it comes to safer sex, you really can have it all, Boo. I am on PrEP and I use condoms. So, I guess in a way I’m having my Beefcake and eating it too.
The Little Poof is a contributing writer for the Anova Health Institute. These are his views, which may or may not reflect those of Anova and its affiliates.