This article was published on May 20th, 2015
If you haven’t heard it by now (perhaps you were no a trip to Antarctica), there’s a pill called Truvada that prevents you from contracting HIV. It is known as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). There’s one small catch though – you’ve got to take it. Referring to the pill, not cock, though you should take that too. And you’ve got to take it every day, at least while you consider yourself at risk of getting HIV.
Some people, no names Michael Weinstein, think that gay guys are too irresponsible to manage to down that load, I mean pill, every day. Gay men have been living with the trauma of the HIV epidemic for over 30 years. They can and they will take a pill to prevent infection. But yes, adhering to it can be difficult for some so here are some tips to help you take it each and every day for the foreseeable future.
Short term – routine
Fortunately, Truvada is not a very sensitive drug. You can take it at a different time each day as long as you’re taking it every day. However, taking it at the same time every day helps you to remember to take it. Set an alarm, or two, or three so that you don’t forget. It also helps if you can time this with something you do absolutely every day. That may be getting brushing your teeth, breakfast, lunch, your 3pm fuck down at the tubs. Work your pill into that routine.
If you’ve got a chaotic life with no routine, there are apps for your phone to remind you to take your meds. Or, if you’re on holiday and your usual routine is out the window, consider a new routine for your vacation and working the pill into that.
It’s also possible that you’ll leave home and forget it or you stay out partying and don’t go home. Carry an extra pill with you at all times (switching it out with a new one at least once a week). You can get pill bottles that attach to your key chain so that you’ve always got one on you.
Medium term – making excuses
So you’ve got a routine but, unfortunately, you’re human and humans tend to rationalize their behaviour. Maybe you’re out drinking with friends, forgot your pill and can’t be bothered to go home to get it. Or maybe you just think, if I skip this dose what harm will it do. Whatever the reason you give yourself, once you start making excuses, you may find yourself missing pills more often.
Write down a list of all the reasons why you decided to start taking the pill in the first place. Type them on a small piece of paper and carry it around in your wallet. Whenever you find yourself coming up with an excuse to miss a pill, take that paper out and remind yourself why you’re taking that pill each day. It may also help to have a punishment for missing a pill, maybe you have to give up sex or chocolate for a month. Okay, that may be an extreme punishment.
Long term – mental health
Gay men are more likely to suffer from poor mental health. This can impact adherence. People with depression or other mental disorders can go through periods where they don’t care about their own health and if you’re in that mindset, you may stop caring about the pill and preventing HIV. It’s times like these that you may expose yourself to unnecessary risks.
Visit a mental health professional regularly – not just when you’re feeling depressed but to help maintain good mental health even when you feel great. If you don’t have the resources or benefits to pay for it, you’d be surprised how many community clinics or gay centres have subsidized or free counselling. Keep your mind as healthy as your body.