This article was published on March 15th, 2017
There is a revolutionary drug that could very well save the next generation of gay men. Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is leading the way in preventative medicine against the gay plague: HIV/AIDS. Used daily, PrEP is up to 99% effective in preventing new HIV infection in negative people. So what exactly is PrEP and how do you get a hold of it? Why should you be on it, and what are the side effects of taking such a drug?
Pre-exposure prophylaxis, known simply as PrEP, has been prescribed for HIV positive patients as part of their regiment for over a decade. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 to treat HIV positive patients, Truvada, the earliest and most widespread form of PrEP, contains two anti-retroviral drugs, Tenofovir and Emtricitabine, in one pill form. In 2012, the United States FDA approved the use of Truvada as a prophylactic against HIV and the CDC endorsed it in 2014. Health Canada approved Truvada as PrEP for Canadians in February 2016, and the World Health Organization has also endorsed the use of PrEP.
The scientific community universally agrees, through dozens of studies conducted worldwide, that consistent and everyday use of Truvada is up to 99% effective against the spread of HIV, with little to no side effects. This is a breakthrough in the war against one of the most deadly viruses of the last century and is a new twist in the millennial sexual revolution.
Nicknamed gay birth control, PrEP taken daily has proven to be effective in preventing the spread of the virus. Most insurance companies cover Truvada as a prescribed prophylactic. Originally embraced by the porn industry, PrEP has new, widespread use and is appearing in countries around the globe. The more PrEP is discussed and pushed as an issue, the more it gains vitality as a necessity that the public needs better access to. Finally there is a preventative response to dealing with the spread of HIV and it beginning to catch on like wildfire.
For people living with HIV, it has become manageable by taking a single pill a day, and positive people retain an undetectable status while maintaining the highest level of health through strict adherence. It’s called Treatment as Prevention (TasP). Most people have a regiment when it comes to their lives and adding a pill a day no longer seems such a far off idea when we stop and think about our health conscious society.
Once more people are taking Truvada on a daily basis, HIV negative people for prevention, and HIV positive people to maintain an undetectable status, the less and less individuals will become newly infected. This scenario could effectively wipe out AIDS altogether in 30 years if everyone was on PrEP and all positive people remained undetectable. This statistic may be too hard to swallow, but should be harder than tossing back a little blue Truvada pill.
The more pre-exposure prophylaxis is discussed and pushed as an issue, the more it gains vitality as a necessity that the public needs better access to. There is relatively no risk and very little side effects; in fact, less than 2% of people experience any side effects—less than Tylenol and antibiotics. So there are no excuses. Now is the time to take control of your life and get on PrEP as a way to stay healthy, stay negative, and do your part to eventually irradiate the disease.