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The Great PrEP Debate

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Recently I’ve been having conversations about PrEP with clients of ASGCC.   And when I tell people this, they sometimes ask: why are you talking to poz guys about PrEP?

Here’s my theory: PrEP affects us all.  If you are a sexually active HIV+ gay man, odds are you’re going to start hearing about it.  And I’d bet money that if you’re out there dating or meeting guys for hook ups, you’ve in the past experienced stigma and discrimination based on your HIV status.

If you go online – or use any of the social media … err, hook-up … apps – you’ll notice more and more guys talking about PrEP.   Here are a couple of blurbs from app profiles:

“Negative as of May 2014.  On Truvada, or PrEP. 

I do not discriminate based on HIV status.”

“Hey guys.  Don’t use terms like ‘D&D Free’.  Or ‘Clean’. 

What do you think that implies to HIV+ guys?  That they’re ‘dirty’? 

I’m HIV-, I know my status, and I’m on PrEP.  Say hi.”

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a medication (Truvada) which has been used for years to treat HIV, and is now being prescribed for prevention of HIV in HIV- individuals.  Many insurance plans now cover PrEP – and the drug company will often cover costs for a year’s worth of meds for those who don’t have insurance coverage.

Here’s a great article featuring firsthand accounts of guys who are using PrEP:

 http://www.advocate.com/31-days-prep/2014/10/06/their-own-words-men-prep-explain-why-they-take-it

If you have questions about PrEP, call me or drop me an email (dgates@asgcc.org / 508-487-9445).  And if you know someone who’d like to start PrEP, ASGCC’s UNIT 10 can help facilitate that with a medical provider (call UNIT 10 at 508-487-8311).

-Dan

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