Should I be on PrEP? Why?
I think those two questions have gone through most gay men’s minds. But those are often followed by so many more. The internal conversation varies in length depending on your personal and sexual life. Here are some of those questions and statements that have come up when we’ve talked to people about PrEP and their decision to be on it or not.
- I hate condoms, but still desire some protection.
- I use condoms, but I would love more protection.
- I have a healthy amount of sex and you never know when something might happen.
- I don’t have sex so why should I be on PrEP?
- Will I always have to be on PrEP?
- I don’t want to deal with the hassle about taking a pill a day. What if I forget a day?
- I heard there are side effects to taking the pill.
- I’ll just use a condom since both are about the same effectiveness, right?
- Everyone else is doing it so I better if I want to stay a viable sexual partner.
Yes, there are many other variables that are out there, but it is that last one that resonates more than others. If you’re looking to have sex in the future, does PrEp need to be a part of your daily routine?
Some readers have written in with a couple of different scenarios in regard to “PrEP-Pressure.”
One reader has mentioned that he’s been blocked more than once when the chat has turned to safer sex practices and the other thirsty chat partner asked him about PrEP.
“During one chat, the other guy was almost shaming me for not being on it. He was basically calling me an idiot for not being on it. I didn’t have much to say except I didn’t want to take it and use condoms.” He said he was then blocked after that proclamation.
“During another chat, well, it just stopped as I was blocked after I said I was not on PrEP. It made me wonder how many times I was passed over because I don’t list I’m on PrEP in my profile.”
Another reader mentioned that he’s been treated differently since he has been off PrEP.
There’s been a lot less chatter on the apps since I removed the fact that I was on PrEP. I am no longer on PrEP and that has altered my chats. That’s the ONLY thing I’ve changed on my profiles. And men that I have hooked up with before have noticed that and brought that change up and have not wanted to meet up again for that reason.
That reader went on to write that one previous hook up basically texted, “Let me know when you’re back on PrEP.” does this reader need to go back on PrEP to get back with this previous hook-up? Is this no-PrEP shaming?
Most of the comments coming in about PrEP are from Scruff users. Scruff allows you to choose multiple options when it coms to Safety Practices. Looking at the other big two, Grindr does give the option to list only one HIV Status selection which “Negative, on PrEP” is one and Growlr does as well provide the “hey, I’m on PrEP, too” choice, but allows you to choose more than one, like Scruff.
My choice about PrEP has been easy. I personally have not had a date or a hook-up in, wow, I just did the math, in about 1,000 days. There must be a Rent song about that, no? There are many reasons for that, but I don’t want the fact that I am not on PrEP to be a reason for that. But maybe that has been one of the unseen reasons.
What do you think Instincters?
Will you need to be on PrEP to have sex in 2020?
Do you need to wave the PrEP flag high to be a chosen sex partner or is NOT being on PrEP a negative mark on your hook-up profile?
This is the opinion of one of Instinct Magazine’s contributing writers and may not reflect the opinions of other contributing writers or the magazine.