If you’re sexually active and smart, you’ve probably heard about new drug called Truvada. Now Truvada is the brand name of a drug approved by the FDA to prevent someone from becoming infected with HIV. Generically, it’s called a Pre Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP, for short. According to a study done back in 2010, gay men who take this pill once a day have a 99% chance of not contracting HIV. Amazing, right? A new sexual liberation is potentially here. No longer shall we be chained to condoms because going bare feels so much better… Am I right? But wait, there’s more.
While doing research for this article, I’ve found out that condoms are only 98% effective during vaginal intercourse and only 86% effective during anal intercourse. My chin unceremoniously dropped to the floor. Last time I checked, men don’t have vaginas, even if you refer to your brown star as a mangina or pussy… a rose by any other name… you get the point. This has to be a miracle drug, but is it? Would widespread use of PrEP lead to an increase in unsafe sexual practices? Remember that even if you’re using PrEP with no condom, you’re still at risk of contracting any other STD, like Gonorrhea, and who wants a penis that looks like it has a cold. I sure don’t.
There’s a great piece over at Slate that tackles this very issue. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation was pushing the FDA to reject the drug claiming what I posited above. From my own personal experience from living in Spain and meeting guys for sex, gay men are lax about condom usage. Even when I’ve asked to get one, they seem to think it’s an inconvenience. No bueno. So gay men are already gambling with their lives and the lives of others. I would gladly take this pill in tandem with other safe sex practices such as condom usage and regular STD checks. As it is, I get tested every three to six months. The statistics on condom efficacy are really disturbing. It makes me not want to have sex with anyone unless it’s a boyfriend or husband. As Mark Joseph Stern says over at Slate, “Every gay man with multiple sex partners should take Truvada, and AIDS activists should do everything they can to get the drug in the hands of those who want it.” Also, please wrap it up every time and don’t be stupid with your health or your sexual partner’s health.