Many articles have been written about PrEP since it became available in 2012, and many of those articles have promoted the use of PrEP and many others have criticized the use of it, branding the users as “sluts”.
There seem to be two camps about the use of PrEP. PrEP stands for Pre-exposure prophylaxis and is one of the staple HIV drugs called Truvada. The argument against the use of PrEP is that encourages unsafe sexual behavior and that if you are on PrEP, you are a “slut”. The use of PrEP and the personal behavior of the individual taking it are in no way connected. In my opinion, individuals that are on PrEP are concerned about their health and wish to remain HIV Negative. I remember when the birth control pill first came out and women who took the ”pill” were labeled as “sluts”! Nothing could have been further from the truth. The use of PrEP is no indication of the behavior of the individual taking it. What is the downside risk of promoting the use of PrEP? It has been said that it encourages unsafe sex without the use of condoms. It's my opinion that those using condoms today will continue to use condoms even after they begin their PrEP regimen. They understand that PrEP is not 100% effective and does not prevent the transmission of other STI’s such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. I also believe that there is a segment of our “high risk” population that refuse to engage in safer sex practices. In 2014, there were 762 new cases of HIV here in Arizona with 569 of them in Maricopa County. Over half of the new cases were with men and women between the ages of 20 and 40! PrEP is over 90% effective. Perhaps we could have reduced the number of infections by 685 had they all been on PrEP. I was not a proponent of PrEP, but I have come to believe that if we can get “high risk” candidates on PrEP, we can stop the HIV epidemic. There is a segment of the population that refuses to adhere to safer sex practices and as much as we would like to change that, we must admit that we have not been successful, so perhaps PrEP is the answer for them. Of course, I am still a proponent of the use of condoms. So if you are in a “high risk” group, I encourage you to go to HIVAZ.ORG/PrEP and learn about it and give yourself an additional layer of protection.