So, you are hooking up with someone who tells you they are on PrEP… what do you do?
PrEP is a pill that greatly reduces the chances of getting HIV, but it only protects the person who takes it. When people rely on others to protect them, we often find that they worry about the sex more in hindsight.
Often they come in for PEP afterwards, which is an option if you are worried about an HIV risk or if you are not sure whether your partner(s) were being truthful about their STI status, PrEP use or testing. When you get PEP, use it as an opportunity to reflect on what you can do next time to protect yourself.
So what can you do to feel more assured?
Instead of leaving the conversation as a tag on an app or a foregone conclusion, why not ask?
Simple things like:
- “When did you start taking it?”
- “When did you last take it?”
- “Where do you get it from?”
- “How have you found being on it?”
We recommend talking about it early on, to make it feel easier for you and to avoid making decisions in the throes of passion. A lot of PrEP users are pretty chuffed to be taking it and enjoy talking about it. Plus that way you can feel more assured about the information being truthful when making your decision.
Some folks have cottoned on that saying they are on PrEP might make their partners more willing to bareback – remember there is no pressure to ditch the condoms if you do not want to. You have to feel confident in the sex you are having, and if increased risk of other STIs means you cannot enjoy sex, you are certainly not alone.
If this applies to you, maybe it is an opportunity to consider your own PrEP use? There are more and more ways you can access PrEP, so why not ask us about it next time you visit the clinic? If you are a trans woman, you can be reassured the latest evidence shows that PrEP does not interact with hormones
Decision making is easier when you communicate, either with partners, or friends, or a health professional in the clinic or in your community. If you want help finding out what is best for you, come and speak with a member of our team. We are here to help you make your own informed choices with no judgement or pressure.
Aaron Chady, Health Advisor