You’re HIV negative – Should you trust a guy who says he’s on PrEP?

By Chris Williams, updated 3 months ago in Health / Mental wellbeing

topless gay man lying down in jeans

What a dilemma — he says he’s negative on PrEP, and you’re wondering if it’s OK to trust him. Is he telling the truth? And if he is on PrEP, what does it mean for you?

For some folks, this isn’t a new thought. Guys have been enjoying sex without condoms for a lot longer than any of us have been on the planet. Now there are even more HIV prevention options available, it can be a lot to navigate. So here’s the deal about being HIV negative and trusting a guy who says he’s on PrEP.

What does ‘negative on PrEP’ mean?

Being ‘negative on PrEP’ means someone doesn’t have HIV (in other words they’re HIV negative) and they use a modern HIV prevention strategy called PrEP to protect themselves from getting HIV.

PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. For anyone at risk of HIV, it’s a highly effective prevention strategy that combines using prescription medication with regular sexual health testing — more on PrEP in our Knowledge Hub.

Over 68,000 people across Australia have already tried one of three different ways to use PrEP as a safe and convenient way to protect themselves against HIV… but should you trust a guy who says he’s on PrEP?

Let’s assume the trust here isn’t about buying a car off him and get straight to the point: we’re talking about sex. To be specific, it’s a little question that might have popped into your mind: Does him using PrEP make it OK to do it without a condom?

… will you choose to protect yourself, or will you choose to believe somebody else is going to?

The situation – you can’t know for sure if he’s on PrEP

But let’s cut to the chase: assuming you’re HIV negative and don’t use PrEP, will you choose to protect yourself, or will you choose to believe somebody else is going to?

You can’t absolutely know for sure whether he’s telling the truth or not. He might be a charming sweet talker, a genuine and trustworthy guy, or just super handsome… But even if you do trust him, does that affect your choice and your right to use condoms?

I’m not going to preach in terms of shoulds and shouldn’ts. Using a condom is a proven way to prevent HIV… and so is PrEP. But if you’re not using PrEP and you have sex without a condom, there’s a chance you could be exposed to HIV and impact your long term wellbeing. Although HIV treatment options can control the virus really well, there’s currently no cure.

Two guys in underwear sharing an intimate moment on the kitchen worktop

Your body. Your choice.

If he is HIV negative and using PrEP as advised, then credit goes to him for protecting his own interests, as well as yours. But does that protect your mental wellbeing?

For some guys, the anxiety of coming in to contact with HIV is a hefty mental burden. Even if HIV isn’t present in your sexy situation, not knowing for certain whether you have or haven’t been exposed can take a toll on your mental health.

Whether you should trust a guy who says he’s on PrEP isn’t a question I can answer for you. But I’d suggest that taking measures to protect your body against HIV right now is more important than what you might think or feel about trusting him to do it for you.

Know about PEP

If you do have sex without a condom it’s good to know about PEP.

PEP stands for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis — it’s a 28-day course of anti-HIV medicine that helps prevent you from getting HIV after a possible exposure. In an emergency, act fast — for PEP to stand a chance of working it’s best started within 72 hours after exposure and ideally as soon as possible.

Exposed to HIV? Get PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)

Click on your state or territory for information on how to get PEP wherever you are: ACT | NSW | NT | QLD | SA | TAS | VIC | WA

Have you considered getting on PrEP?

If sex without condoms is something you might do more of, PrEP could be right for you.

Getting PrEP could be easier and more affordable than you imagine. And with different ways to use PrEP, there’s an option to suit your needs. Find out what could work for you with our PrEP Selector tool.

The PrEP’D For Change and PAN (PrEPaccessNOW) community websites can help with deciding if PrEP is right for you, as well as how you can access it wherever you’re based. There’s also a PrEP’D For Change Facebook group as well as a PAN Facebook group for you to connect with other PrEP users without judgment.

For our guide to getting support with PrEP, check out: Got a PrEP question? Here’s where to find support

How to get PrEP in Australia

For information on getting PrEP anywhere in Australia, here’s everything you need to know about finding a doctor, buying PrEP and free PrEP for anyone who can’t afford it

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