What you need to know about PrEP.

One of my followers was pretty concerned about me and being safe after my last post talking about having had an STI. We made a deal that he’ll quit smoking if I “play safe”. Now, something to keep in mind if you’re a gay or bisexual male, condoms are great for preventing STI’s but they can still break/tear and leave you at risk not just for the common STI’s like HPV, gonorrhea, or chlamydia but also HIV. The others can be cured with a couple pills or a shot in the ass and you’re on your way, HIV is a life-long disease that, while manageable, will affect your daily life and it is now completely preventable.

I briefly talked about being on Truvada on my Let’s Talk Sex post. What is Truvada you ask? Truvada is a pre-exposure prophylactic (PrEP) that’s anywhere from 92-99% effective against the spread of HIV. If you don’t believe me google Truvada and get the facts yourself.

I’m shocked at the number of guys I talk to that have no idea what this is or choose not to be on it because they don’t think they need it. As gay and bisexual men (depending on the state you live in), we have many free benefits to take advantage of and you might even get your Truvada for free, why snub your nose at a free prescription, woman don’t even get birth control for free.

PrEP is only for people at high risk for HIV (Which news flash, if you’re having casual anal sex, either receptive or giving, you’re at a high risk. Or sharing needles, but that’s a different conversation).  Truvada is barely marketed at all. There’s a widespread fear that if the risk of HIV is taken out of the equation for gay men than the use of condoms will decline and we’ll end up with super strains of gonorrhea and chlamydia that are drug resistant and overall that the spread of STI’s will rise.

I was all for being put on Truvada when I first found out about it but when I tried to get a prescription I found out that the doctor didn’t know what it was, didn’t care, and wasn’t going to prescribe it to me (Montana thinking right there) so I pretty much ditched the idea because I didn’t think I was having enough casual sex to be at risk. I always knew my partners and trusted that they were tested and knew their status. That was until I had a “friends with benefits” that I didn’t know very well who was open about his high number of sexual partners, I was afraid that maybe he was one of those people that assumed no symptoms meant no problem so I was concerned with whether he actually knew his status or not.

Although we barely did anything that would warrant the spread of HIV a friend of mine made me extremely paranoid and I went in to the hospital to get PEP (which is Post-exposure prophylactic) which is a combination of drugs that are effective against fighting the HIV virus up to 72 hours after being exposed to it. Although the doctor told me my chances of getting HIV were very slim in my interaction she was impressed at my knowledge and desire to be responsible and recommended PEP for me. That was how she set her trap.

I had to follow up with her a month later and she was insistent on me getting on PrEP. Who was I to argue when I’m sitting in that office because I just had a scare, that’s like saying, “No I don’t think it will rain today” as it’s raining on you. I was reluctant at first because I didn’t want people to think I was this huge slut for being on PrEP and that I just slept with everyone or have someone assume that they didn’t have to use protection with me because I’m on PrEP.

First of all, you don’t even have to tell anyone you’re on it I just happen to keep mine on my bathroom counter so I remember to take them daily, so naturally people ask questions when they see them. I’m not going to try and sell you on this because the choice is yours I just think you should know about it and know you have options to take extra precautions to take care of your body and future self.

Everyone always says they’re clean in the heat of the moment but if that were always true we would have already eradicated all these infections and diseases by now. It’s your body, don’t trust just anyone with it and don’t believe anything said in the heat of the moment, perhaps the person doesn’t think they have anything because they don’t have symptoms.  Always use condoms guys but add to your protection with Truvada.

If anyone has questions or personal comments you’re welcome to send me a personal email and I promise to answer it zak@zakawry.com.  I try to avoid Facebook because of all the ads but you’re welcome to message me on Facebook too if email is too old school for you.  Your questions are what keep me going guys, nothing is off limits.

Life Update

I have had a few questions from people (Hi Alex!) asking how I can be so open about my life, What I tell people and what I keep private. I am not afraid of what people think of me and etc. So I just don’t care. I get to hide behind a computer and type out the stuff in my head without worry of offending someone, boring someone, or inconveniencing someone, they can choose when and where they read my babbling.

As for what I choose to tell people — I’m an open book. You’re judging me one way or another right this second either negatively or positively so what the fuck do I care if you know I had an STD, or moved across the country for love or made a bad decision getting laser hair removal. It’s not your life and if you want to judge me for my actions so be it, perhaps you’ll learn a lesson from me and NOT follow my mistakes. I write about life experiences and hope they have helped a person. I want you all to avoid the pitfalls I ran into.

I’ve been dealing with a lot these last few weeks. I’m suing my roommate, I just taped a show for MTV (Catfish if you must know) Had the holidays and trying to decide where to move. I moved to Delaware on a whim because I fell in love with a boy, rookie mistake, I lied and said it was for school and now that school is done, no guy around here has given me a reason to stay, and my job certainly hasn’t given me a reason to stay, so I know that it’s time to move on.

If you’re no longer being challenged in life or you’re not happy with your situation, CHANGE IT. I have no idea what I’m going to do, to be honest. I have a feeling I’m going to purge as much of my stuff as I can, rent the cheapest trailer I can find and just city hop for a couple months. Try Columbus OH out for 6 months and if I like it cool I’ll stay and look for a more permanent job, if I don’t I’ll pack my few things again and move to the next city on my life until I can nail down the place I want to live.

Moving’s hard unless you have someone or something you’re moving too and I think that’s why so many people stay in their hometowns. They have nothing or no one to move for so why bother disrupting what they know. I literally printed out a US map spun around a lot and stuck a pin in it to see where I was going to move to.

Sacramento is probably the closest to the pin I put in Cali so looks like I *MAY* be moving across the country again. I just have a lot of dependents going on right now and the next upcoming months should be able to give me an indication of how I’m going to choose my next location. My dear friend Andrew is very sick so I may end up in Tennessee taking care of him because he’s become more than a friend, he’s become family and you make sacrifices for family right?

If my house sells fast enough I’ll be down in Tennessee as soon as I get my stuff loaded up, if not then I’ll head to Columbus take an English as a 2nd language teaching program and go teach people in Thailand English, or get my graduate degree in social work and come back east to go to Widener to get my Ph.D. in Human Sexuality.

I probably sound like I’m wicked smart and have my life together right? Well jokes on you, I don’t even know what I’m having for dinner tonight. I just live my life with not wanting to live in regret. I want to live a full life and I want to know what would happen if I dated that guy that’s perfect for me but I’m too afraid he might hurt me. I want to move to a new city I’ve never visited with a guy I’ve internet dated for months.

So we’ll see what the next few months hold, how fast my house sells, and where I end up. Hell, I might just stay in Delaware for my therapist alone.
If you like my posts remember to subscribe I’ve stopped putting them on Facebook as much because my IT guy won’t fix my thumbnail viewer.

So IF there is a computer guy out there that can help me with SSL and thumbnail views I don’t have much money (any really, this is a free blog) but would totally appreciate some help so I might be able to get back to posting regularly.

Love my little Awry’s *Muah*