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Mental wellbeing

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

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

If you’re not familiar with PrEP, it 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.

Thousands of guys across Australia already 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: I wonder if it’s OK if we fuck without a condom?

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

For some folks, this isn’t a new thought. Guys have been enjoying sex without condoms for a lot longer than either you or I have been on planet Earth. Now there are even more HIV prevention options available, it can be confusing to navigate.

To start off, let’s assume you’re reading this because:

  1. You’re HIV negative
  2. You’re not currently using PrEP
  3. You’re considering condomless sex with a guy who says he’s using PrEP

The situation

Assuming these are true, let’s focus on what this boils down to: 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 hot… But even if you do trust him, does that affect your decision 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 excellent treatment options can manage HIV really well, there’s currently no cure.

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 would suggest that taking your own 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 fuck without condoms 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)

The Get PEP website can help you get PEP wherever you’re based. There are also PEP information phone lines available in some states and territories. Showing the website to medical staff can help them provide you with the best possible healthcare and getting PEP if you need it.

Considering PrEP

If fucking without a condom is something you imagine you might do more of, PrEP could be right for you.

Getting PrEP could be easier and more affordable than you imagine.

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.

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

For more like this, check out Emen8’s other PrEP articles.

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