Sticking To The Rules: PreP In The Lab versus The Real World

pic by Jes Mugley

I came across this interesting little snippet on the web today. Now I know you’re not supposed to believe everything you read online, lest you end up like those poor deluded child-abusers who refuse to vaccinate their children. But this little gem from HIVPLUSMAG deserves wider distribution.

Following Doctor’s Orders

A National Institutes of Health study found that participants given daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)—anti-HIV drugs used as a preventive measure—did not experience any more protection against HIV than those taking a placebo. The reason may be that participants did not take the study drugs as directed, a reminder of why it’s important to follow instructions on medication.

And there’s the problem with PreP as prevention in a nutshell.

I’ve been on a ten day course on antibiotics. Not an onerous regime. One pill four times a day.  Yet despite doing my best to be diligent, I accidentally missed one dose altogether, and got my timings mixed up on another day.

It’s probably psychological: I’m so over the constant low-level nausea, fatigue and digestive upset. Which I gather is pretty common among PreP users too.

There’s a lot of stuff on the net – strongly reminiscent of the aforementioned vaccine-refusal or pro-anorexia sites – posted by Proud Truvada Whores talking about their ‘gay boy birth control pills,” and how wonderful it is to have sex ‘naturally’, like your mother and father did.

The dangerous loon who wrote that rubbish – I refuse to link to his site – works in HIV prevention in one of the gayest cities in America.

Even if his drugs have no side effects for him, that won’t be true for everyone. Even if he religiously remembers his daily gay boy birth pill, not everyone will.

And even if they do, without condoms they’ll be exposed to resistant gonorrhea, Hep C, meningitis, HPV, and whatever else evolution brews up in the condomless bug development lab he is advocating.

Last time we didn’t know what was coming. Next time we’ll have no excuse.

About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)