PrEP – Fact vs fiction

The most common misconceptions of PrEP revealed.

PrEP has had a huge impact on the health on men across the UK. Since it was introduced, we have seen a huge drop in new HIV diagnoses. PrEP is one of the best tools we have against HIV, but some men still choose not to use it – even if they don’t use condoms all of the time.

Just as some people with HIV face stigma, there is also some undeserved stigma around PrEP use, which could prevent people from taking it. We feel it’s time for the gay community to be PrEP proud and tackle the misconceptions.

Myth: If I take PrEP people will think I’m too promiscuous

Fact: It’s no secret that most people love sex. How much sex is right for you differs from person to person, but taking PrEP isn’t just for people who like to have lots of sex. It is precautionary measure that can help keep you safe from HIV whenever you have sex. Taking PrEP every day doesn’t mean you are having sex all the time. Sex can be spontaneous and unplanned, so taking PrEP every day means you are ready whenever the situation arises. Taking PrEP means you are looking after your health and helping protect your partners.

Myth: If I take PrEP guys will think I am irresponsible

Fact: Would you say someone with a seatbelt on was irresponsible or think they are always driving too fast? Of course not. It’s the same with PrEP. Taking PrEP is being responsible for your health. There is no shame in safety.

Myth: If I take PrEP men might think I take more risks, or that I’m more likely to have other infections.

Fact: You are most likely to get HIV from a guy who is not aware that he has the virus and is not taking PrEP or HIV medication. If someone is taking PrEP it means they are taking responsibility for their health. Dean Street also offers men on PrEP three monthly monitoring so that they get regular sexual health checks – can everyone else say the same? Most research suggests that PrEP isn’t linked to an increase in sexually transmitted infections.

So, don’t be in the PrEP closet. Research from Canada has shown that most men find using PrEP empowering and feel proud to be taking action to reduce HIV risk and fear.

One participant said, “Sex isn’t something you’re ashamed of or fearful of. It’s meant to be enjoyable and PrEP has made sex enjoyable for me, which is fantastic.”