Thursday, March 05, 2015

The PrEP Files: Part 2 Educate Yourself

After making the decision we started researching.  PrEP is a relatively new way to use a well established product.  I powered up the google machine and started doing research on not only it's uses but on how it is being implemented in Canada.   I also touched base with a number of friends who were using it to see if there was anything I had to be concerned about.  

Before you can talk to your physician you need to prepare yourself so that you can educate them about PrEP.   Some of these are newer links and I wish I had access to them before I started this process.

Here are some great links to get you started.

CATIE PrEP Introduction and Canadian Information (this site is amazing and I would say it is required reading for anyone interested)

New studies are being published every day.  It is a really exciting time for research related to PrEP but it is also one of flux with each study shedding light on appropriate uses and issues related to real world implementation.

Monday, March 02, 2015

The PrEP Files: Part 1 Making the Decision

Over new years we were very lucky to get get to spend the holiday in Mexico with the fella's company.   I had never been to Puerto Vallarta before but I was amazed at how gay and gay friendly it was.   We even ran into a friend down there.

While on the trip it became clear to us based off of discussions with not only friends but just by reading people's profiles that so many gay men are taking PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylactic) treatment to help protect themselves from HIV.  I had heard that this was becoming more popular but to hear first hand what a positive experience taking PrEP had been it convinced me to try and find a way to start protecting myself with it.

The only problem is the Alberta government and Canada as a whole has been dragging it's heels on approving PrEP for use. Gilead the maker of Truvada has not even applied to have it approved for use in Canada for PrEP.

As there is significant lack of information about PrEP and how to get on it in Canada I thought it would be valuable to document my experience in trying to protect myself.

Now there are a ton of articles about using PrEP out there and a bunch of research studies.  I would advise using the wonders of google to find out if PrEP is something that is appropriate for you and your lifestyle.  It is not for everyone.

Personally for me as a gay man in a loving but non-monogamous relationship PrEP represents an added layer of protection for both myself and the fella.  We generally do not bareback with others but no method of protection is perfect.  We have had condoms break at bad times before and it always causes a huge amount of anxiety around something that should be a celebration of life.

For me the value is knowing I can worry less about the condom snapping and more about enjoying the act.  That freedom has never been something I have had.  

Since we both have good drug coverage and the ability to pay the remainder it made the decision to go on PrEP much easier for us.

Next Up: Part 2 Education