PrEP

Truvada

 

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a drug protocol for the prevention of HIV transmission. Essentially, one of the drugs used for HIV treatment is Truvada (the blue one) and when used by HIV negative people, can prevent HIV infection from taking hold. Studies are still underway but preliminary results are showing two key results:

  • On an individual basis, when taken religiously every day, PrEP is showing a 99% success rate at preventing infection. The study is multi-years on, and is showing good success in couples where one is poz and one is neg.
  • Looking at whole community, and taking into account those in a population who don’t take it religiously or miss doses, PrEP reduces the chance of infection by 86% in a community. This was remarkable enough to spur the UK National Health Service to begin paying for the treatment for HIV negative people.

Essentially, it’s like this. If everyone who was positive got on their meds and reached undetectable status, and everyone who was negative and in a risky population took PrEP, we could eradicate HIV in a generation. It is not a replacement for condoms—there are plenty of other STDs out there—but it’s a damn good option to supplement safer sex practices. We don’t advocate for or against condoms, it’s a personal choice, and we take that choice on a case-by-case basis.

Both Sir and I have been on PrEP for almost a year. It basically changed my life. I used to be quite afraid of sex. I grew up in a religious repressed culture where sex was fraught with disease and it was a foregone conclusion that all gay men would get AStigma_Project_Got_Prep_adIDS and die. That’s, of course, stupid and untrue, but still – those stigmas and fears run deep when you grow up with them. Since we started PrEP and HIV treatment has improved overall, I don’t fear infection or sex anymore. And I can finally be my hedonist, kinky, slutty self without innate worry.

So we are huge, huge fans of PrEP.  Truvada is not a cheap pill (it’s something like $50/day), but most insurance plans do cover it because it’s cheaper to pay for PrEP than it is to pay for a lifetime of HIV regimens. Plus, Gilead has a co-pay assistance program that covers the co-pay, so it’s basically been free for us since the beginning.

Learn more about PrEP at PrEPFacts.org.