PrEPed & ready to go!
“Boys boys all types of boys, black white Puerto Rican Chinese boys”.
So rapped Missy Elliot in her 2002 single Work It and I for one say, hell yeah!!! Until Mr Right locks me in the cellar, I see no reason not to fully explore the bounty offered in this hot little queer and mixed-race world — and I suspect a few of you adopt a similar approach to your own sex life.
Of course, if we’re going to acquire a taste for the global or just the local, then it’s imperative that we also develop an equally-evolved appetite for self-protection. Because there’s no fuller stop on your impressive sex-life than acquiring an STI.
In 2017, self-protection comes in many forms. There’s abstinence (you’re on your own there, kid), condoms (a time-honoured tradition) and new-kid-on-the-block, PrEP.
This once-a-day pill has dramatically decreased the number of new HIV diagnoses globally. In New South Wales and the ACT, where PrEP has been made available for free to 3,700 people on the EPIC trial, only 101 new cases of HIV were recorded in the first half of 2017. That’s the lowest figure since HIV first swept into our lives in the 1980s!
With help of PreP and after a rapid decline in new infections, NSW Health says it is on track to virtually eliminate HIV transmission by 2020.
Up until now, HIV-wary Australians have been able to get a prescription for PrEP from their sexual health doctor but have had to import it themselves online at a considerable cost and effort.
While PrEP does not protect you against any other STDs other than HIV, its arrival heralds a pivotal moment — especially considering the impact that HIV/AIDS has already wreaked on our community.
Set alongside marriage equality in Australia, it’s a privileged time where we’re finally able to start make informed and significant decisions about our own sex and love lives like never before.
Having imported my own PrEP for the past two years, it’s a relief for me that now it's on the PBS and I can get it freely in Australia wide. In most cases, the cost will be $39.50 per month or $6.40 per month for concession card holders.
It’s a great relief that I’ve also felt going for my tri-monthly STD tests over the past two years of ordering PrEP for myself online when I've experienced - for the first time in my entire life - a sense of calm about the impending results. Because for too many of us who came of age during the AIDS crisis, gay sex has been something to fear, something that could kill us. While advances in the treatment of HIV have been nothing short of revolutionary, the next-step is clearly making PrEP available, easily and affordably, to all HIV-negative people who want or need it.
Nobody should be getting HIV in Australia anymore. Get PrEP now!
While any GP can prescribe PrEP, many may not be familiar with it or not confident prescribing it to you. At Sexual Health & Family Planning ACT you can be confident that we can help you every step of the way and have the knowledge that you need to make the right decision for you. In most cases, the cost will be $39.50 per month or $6.40 per month for concession card holders.
To find out more or to make an appointment call SHFPACT on 6247 3077.
We are located at Level,1 28 University Avenue Canberra City.