People have been asking me for months what my feelings are about PrEP, and for months I have been withholding commentary. To be honest, I’ve been a little bit out of the loop on it, which is an odd thing for a sex educator to say, I know, but I didn’t want to express any opinion until I felt confident that it was a thoroughly informed one.
Well, now that “Cootie Catcher” is gradually gaining lift-off, and everyone is talking about that article in New York Magazine, I’ve taken some time to school myself on the matter so that I could properly speak on it.
Overall, I think it’s a good thing. I mean…obviously. Any step that we take towards ending the virus is most certainly a positive move. I, personally, am not on PrEP, and I don’t plan to be at any point in the near future (At this point, HIV is the least of my concerns when it comes to STIs, but more on that later), but for some people, this is a much-needed resource and it’s about fucking time they got it.
But as is the case with all drugs, it can be abused, and I am terrified that that’s exactly what the majority of its users are going to do with it. I still don’t understand why, but guys (gay ones in particular, it seems) are always looking for an excuse to avoid condoms.
I have actually read and heard people saying that they don’t feel like they need condoms any more because they have a pill to fight off HIV. Pornographers who once swore they would never produce bareback porn (*cough* MICHAEL LUCAS *cough cough*) have decided that it’s now perfectly fine to start producing titles like “Loving Him Raw” and “Barebacking in Budapest”. Charming.Way to show your responsible side, Mikey.
A lot of folks are comparing it to Plan B, which I think is perfectly accurate: like Plan B, it eliminates one problem. But what about the rest? I’m infuriated by heterosexuals who think that birth control makes it perfectly okay to ditch the condom. When my female friends tell me they’re having condomless sex because they’re on the pill, I take it very personally, because to me that sounds like they’re implying that STIs are my problem, not theirs. There are plenty of menaces out there that can be transmitted during sex. Birth control combats one of them. Truvada combats one of them. Condoms combat all of them. I’m definitely keen on the latter.
Guess what folks: I’ve had gonorrhea. I’ve had HPV. These fuckers are real. And there isn’t a pill out there that could have prevented me from catching those (Okay, maybe Gardasil, but I wasn’t aware it was available to men until after the fact, and even if I had taken it, there’s no way of telling if it would have caught my particular strain or not). And not everything else is easily curable either. What about that strain of gonorrhea that’s resisting antibiotics? I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely lost some sleep over that beast.
Have we seriously convinced ourselves that sex with a condom is worse than no sex at all? From the way some guys talk about them, it’s like they’re offended by their existence. Really dudes…they’re nothing personal. I wish we didn’t need them either, but we do. We should take pride in protecting our bodies. Partaking in unprotected sex is simply disrespectful to yourself. Treat your bodies like the motherfucking temples they are, wrap your dicks up, and stop being whiny little bitches.
In short, PrEP is an excellent method of extra protection; it is not a replacement for responsibility. It’s the armor you wear over your chainmail. If you just wear the armor, there are still plenty of exposed tender areas where you could get stabbed. Feel safer, but be smarter.