Australia: The Other Blue Pill

Jess Jones is Star Observer's senior journalist. His background is in public health and sex work, and his special interests include health, gender and travel. When he's not writing, Jess is into movies, martial arts and margaritas.

A mild misunderstanding with a doctor recently led to me being asked about my viral load, despite the fact that I’m HIV-negative. The doc had no idea that Truvada was used for HIV prevention, and I had no idea it was used for treatment.

More and more queer guys are getting on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), though. Every morning I get up and have my ritual coffee, multivitamin, and little blue pill, and I’m far from alone.

Open up Grindr and you’ll see heaps of guys advertising that they’re on PrEP. The same drug that some guys use to manage their HIV is becoming a popular way for others to stay negative. Everyone seems to feel differently about what being on PrEP means.

Some guys consider it code for going bareback all the time. Others are still stringent with condoms and think of it as a backup. I’m somewhere in between, and I get a lot of peace of mind out of knowing that I have that protection if I’m not as careful as I perhaps should be.

If anything, having been on PrEP for the last year, I’ve probably been more attentive to my sexual health than before. The trial that allows me to access the medication requires me to have HIV and STI tests a little more frequently than I was, and the whole thing has put my sexual health into the front of my mind, so I’m more likely to exercise caution and use condoms with new partners. Read more via Star Observer