Guys like Tom use PrEP to prevent HIV

By Chris Williams, updated 2 months ago in Lifestyle / LGBT people and culture

Tom man smiling talking to friend

Across Australia, guys are using different methods to stop the spread of HIV. Tom uses PrEP combined with condoms for helping prevent STIs too.

Tom’s story

At 20 years old, Tom’s got his feet firmly on the ground and his sights set on a degree in law. As a university student, Tom’s balancing a life of working hard and playing harder. Not to mention having to keep a mindful eye on finances, as a full-time student money only goes so far. Then there’s his health and wellbeing, of course.

Tom’s clued up about that kind of stuff. For his sexual health, Tom opts in to a PrEP program that involves using affordable medicine to protect him against HIV, as well as seeing a doctor at least once every three months for comprehensive HIV and STI testing. For him, using PrEP is easy — just one pill a day protects him all day, every day.

Tom knows PrEP protects him against HIV, but he’s also conscious about protecting himself and his sexual partners from other STIs, so condoms often make an appearance — especially if he’s with a hook-up rather than a regular partner.

“I use condoms as well. They seem like a safe bet, especially when combined with PrEP.”

Tom appreciates the value of round-the-clock protection following a need to access PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) a few years ago before he’d considered PrEP. Unlike PrEP, which is a daily pill taken before sex, PEP is a 28 day course of anti-HIV medication that must be started within 72 hours of a possible exposure to HIV and ideally, as soon as possible. Starting and finishing a course of PEP can significantly reduce the chance of someone becoming HIV positive after a possible exposure to HIV.

A casual encounter with a guy whose HIV status he didn’t know meant it was best for Tom to seek out PEP from a nearby hospital Emergency Department. It was a good choice for looking after his health and a great opportunity to chat with a healthcare professional about HIV prevention options that could be right for him.

“The nurse consultant who gave me the PEP then suggested that I maybe start going on PrEP, and so I did. And since then I’ve been taking it every day.”

After finishing the 28-day course of PEP, it was straightforward for Tom to see a doctor and switch straight on to PrEP — since then, he’s been using PrEP every day for highly effective HIV prevention and the peace of mind that he’s protected no matter what his day brings.

New cases of HIV in Australia are decreasing thanks to the ongoing efforts of guys who are choosing and combining the various different ways to prevent HIV — Guys like Tom. Guys like you. Guys like us.

Real guys making real choices

Guys across Australia are using different methods to stop the spread of HIV. We caught up with other guys around the country to find out how they each make choices, and how that can sometimes change based on the circumstances. Check out their videos here:

Many ways to prevent HIV

From using condoms to highly effective preventative medicines, different methods work for different guys, and that can all change depending on the circumstances. Discover more about this in Using four great options to prevent HIV: a combination for success

So whether you rely on PrEP, an undetectable viral load, condoms, an emergency course of PEP when it’s needed, or even a blend of options, having real conversations about real choices is the foundation for everyone’s safety and enjoyment.

For more information on HIV prevention methods, check out these articles:

Discover more about sexual health topics by checking out our Knowledge Hub. And if there’s anything you’d like to know or discuss, contact us or start a conversation on Facebook Messenger.

If it’s been more than three months since you last had comprehensive HIV and STIs tests, our interactive map will help you locate testing services nearby and across Australia.

You can also reach out to your local HIV/AIDS or LGBTI health organisation as well as community groups providing support to people living with HIV, and for people considering PrEP. You can find their details in our national network of partners.