Let’s Talk About PrEP!

PrEP is an abbreviation for pre-exposure prophylaxis, a medical term for a treatment to prevent the transmission of a disease or infection. For the purposes of this posting here on ReNude Pride, the disease is HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In the language and literature of the bisexual, men who have sex with men (MSM) and same gender loving community, PrEP is often referred and used instead of the commercial medication Truvada (emtricitabine and and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate). It is a once a day pill that helps prevent the transmission of HIV.

KISSBcpl

Truvada is a prescription medication that helps reduce the sexual transmission of HIV-1 by as much as 90% and the injection drug-use transmission of HIV-1 by as much as 70%. However, once prescribed, it must be taken daily and used together with other safer sex practices (such as latex condoms and new needles and syringes). HIV-1 is the most common strain of the virus and the effectiveness of Truvada in stopping the spread of HIV-2 is not known at this time.

In the USA, there are certain criteria that must be met before a doctor prescribes Truvada to an individual. Among these are the following:

  • a person must be HIV-negative for both HIV-1 and HIV-2
  • the person must be at risk of contracting HIV-1 and weigh at least 77 pounds (35 kg)
  • understands that Truvada alone does not prevent pregnancy nor prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

In the state where I live, the Commonwealth of Virginia, PrEP is available through the Virginia Department of Health. Once it has been prescribed by a physician, it is free to everyone who resides within this jurisdiction. At this time, of the fifty states comprising the USA, Virginia and one other are the only localities where PrEP is provided at no cost.

Given the notorious conservative political climate and rampant homophobia in this state, the fact that Virginia is only one of two states that offers free Truvada medications is remarkable. Virginia, back in the 1990s, approved a constitutional amendment that outlawed gay marriage. This remained in effect until the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the amendment in June, 2014. The state also banned any needle exchange program as a tool in HIV prevention and only reversed this ban in light of the opioid crisis and only then following the deaths of family members of several politicians from opioid use.

RNPPrEPcpl

One of the popular misconceptions about PrEP – which is commonly used instead of the commercial name truvada – is that it eliminates the need for condoms. This myth is unfounded. Condoms have been scientifically proven to significantly reduce HIV and other STI infections. Truvada, although it has proven efficacy in HIV-1 prevention, is not effective in preventing other STIs. Condoms are still a necessary prevention strategy to eliminate the transmission of HIV-2 and STIs. Both PrEP and condoms offer the best defense against unwanted infections.

The lower efficacy rate of truvada for injection drug-use transmission of HIV-1 is primarily due to the judgment impairment that substances cause in the accompanying safer-sex practices of individuals. This altering of mental status also affects the ability to use a condom properly or even using a condom – period.

As a Red Cross trained and endorsed HIV/AIDS prevention educator and as a current volunteer with an AIDS service organization, I know the importance of PrEP in providing communities with an additional resource in fighting against alarming infection statistics. For more than thirty years, we have all been living in the age of AIDS. We know how to prevent transmission. Hopefully, every tool we implement will be the “magical” one that will enable us to finally triumph over this tragedy.

PrEPSquadB

For additional information on PrEP, as well as a source for these statistics, please click on the links listed below:

U. S. Public Health Service

We Are Greater Than HIV/AIDS

Truvada

Naked hugs!

Roger/ReNude Pride

Published by

renudepride

A same gender loving (gay) bare practitioner (nudist) who invites you to explore my blog. At times I may appear irreverent but I am in no way irrelevant!

8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About PrEP!”

  1. When talking to my (gay) physician about whether I should consider taking this as I prepared to get back in the saddle as a newly single man, he mentioned a risk of kidney damage and decreased bone density.

    Is this really a concern, or is my doctor trying to scare me into being reliant on my right hand for sexual gratification?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have access to your medical records or know your family’s medical history. I’m unable to respond to your question. If you’re comfortable with your health practitioner, a follow-up visit is possible. You may ask him/her for supporting statistics for the effects you mentioned. If it is a general warning that accompany all medications, then the decision is your own to make.

      What I like about PrEP is that it offers us an opportunity for a secondary “line of defense” against HIV infection. It is recommended that Truvada is taken daily in addition to other endorsed prevention methods.

      I don’t know your sexual practices. If you feel strongly about the need to incorporate the prescription into your prevention routine, then please consult your physician.

      Naked hugs!

      Like

      1. At the recent PRIDE event in my area this past summer, I spoke with someone whose professional job includes promoting and counseling people about PrEP. I specifically asked him about possible side-effects of the medication. (I am not on PrEP not have any current plans to get it; I was simply curious to learn more about by talking to real person instead of reading about in a pamphlet.) He told that there are certain side-effects with (and justifiable concerns users have about) PrEP but those side effects, like any medication, often vary by person based on that person’s physiology and certain other health conditions. He explained that not everyone will see or suffer side-effects, either immediately or late/long term.
        ANYWAY, as Roger suggested (and I concur), it is always best to speak frankly with the health care/primary care physician who regularly treats you. That person will know your current health situation and will know whether PrEP will or will not interfere with other meds which you may have been prescribed or may be taking short term (like an over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medication, for example). In short, g, just go ask YOUR doctor – NOT any doctor who isn’t treating you, and get a straight answer.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good info about PrEp, Rog, and a good article all the way through!
    And thank you much for mentioning at least two of the most important aspects about using PrEP:
    (1) Still wear condoms (and insist that your sex partner(s) do the the same; and
    (2) PrEP is neither designed, meant, nor intended to protect, prevent, or alleviate contracting other STIs.
    I’ll add that taking PrEP does NOT [automatically] mean that getting tested regularly for STIs/STDs is no longer necessary. YOU SHOULD STILL GET TESTED on a regularly basis; not just for HIV but for other STIs and STDs too.
    Be safe out there, fellas. The health (and life) you save may be your own and/or that of someone else you’re fucking.
    Naked hugs, my friend! 😎

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s