Tag Archive: PrEP

Truvada, Undetectable. and Condoms; what is best for you?

Condom fatigue: how to reduce your risk of HIV infection

Condom fatigue: how to reduce your risk of HIV infectionWhile there are many effective methods in reducing the risk of HIV transmission during anal intercourse, some are more popular or more widely used than others. Condoms have been promoted as the most popular option for over 25 years, but condom fatigue has long set in. It’s time for public health to offer a more meaningful dialogue on other alternatives to reduce HIV transmission.

Current research suggests condoms are only up to 76% effective in preventing HIV infections during anal intercourse, whereas, Truvada as PrEP can reduce an individuals risk by over 99%. It’s also incredibly important for HIV negative people to know that having bareback sex with a partner who is undetectable is over 99% effective.

What you need to know about reducing your risk of HIV infection:


  • Inexpensive and widely accessible.
  • Protect against some STIs, but not all.
  • Most people do not like condoms and report sex is not as good with them.
  • It’s easy to lose and erection.
  • They reduce the feeling of intimacy and skin-on-skin touch.
  • Condoms break, slip off, or aren’t used properly.

Truvada as PrEP:

  • Incredibly effective in stopping HIV transmission when taken daily, as prescribed.
  • The reliability of information on HIV status from a partner is not a concern.
  • You do not have to worry about stealthing.
  • There is no disruption of sexual activity to stop to put on a condom.
  • Any kind of lubricant can be used.
  • Prescriptions can be expensive if not covered under insurance or other assistance plans.
  • Less than 2% of people experience side effects from taking Truvada.
  • It can take some effort to find a doctor informed about Truvada as PrEP an willing to prescribe it.
  • There is still the potential risk of getting other STIs.

Undetectable partners:

  • Most guys in developed nations who test positive are immediately treated with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to reduce their viral load count to an undetectable level.
  • A sense that positive undetectable guys are more fun to have sex with and are more open to exploring sexuality.
  • Guys are more open about their undetectable status as the community embraces and understands sexual health risks.
  • It is still possible to contract STIs.
  • You must trust your partner is undetectable and has had a recent viral load test to ensure an undetectable status.
  • You have to openly discuss HIV status with your partner.
  • Not all positive undetectable guys will have condomless sex with HIV negative partners.

You can use these three risk reduction methods separately, or combined. For example, you can take Truvada as PrEP and have an undetectable partner. Or use condoms with undetectable partners. Or use Truvada as PrEP along with condoms.

It is also important to be educated on sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You should know how you can reduce your risk and be easily treated for STIs. Getting tested regularly is key for your sexual health. You should always know your HIV and STI status.

Public health has been slow to provide new information for individuals to make smart, educated, and informed decisions. The conversation needs to move to alternative options to reduce the risk of HIV and to make sex fun again. The message of using condoms is engrained, but with the advances of AVR’s, condoms aren’t the only method of risk reduction like they were during the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Besides, it is still possible to become HIV positive even while using only condoms.

Change can be difficult for some, especially when condoms have been the only message hear for decades. The time is now to talk to your doctor and understand that there are new and alternative ways to reduce your risk of HIV, that doesn’t rely on out-dated practices.

– See more at: http://www.thehomoculture.com/author/billcoleman/#sthash.izn6gr3H.gWdkW4Vv.dpuf

2015 International Aids Society Conference

Highlights from the 2015 International AIDS Society conference

Highlights from the 2015 International AIDS Society conference

Photo credit: Vancouver Sun

Held every two years, the International AIDS Society conference is a gathering of doctors, researchers, and experts who comes together to discuss and report on the latest developments. This 2015 conference was held in Vancouver, British Columbia, and hosted over 6,500 attendees. While there were numerous presentations and findings presented over the three day event, these are the top highlights:

  • Guys who get tested frequently love the idea of getting their results right away. While quick tests can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes, which often results in a waiting period filled with anxiety and fear, there is a new one-minute HIV test. This test is the best at detecting HIV in early stages of infection. Interesting fact, this test was developed and manufactured in Vancouver, BC!
  • Viiv, an HIV drug manufacturer (a partnership between Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline), reported they are interested in the idea of providing free counselling to people taking their medication. Having HIV can be extremely stressful and finding emotional support can be difficult. The idea would be welcomed by the HIV positive community as another resource available, especially during the early stages of learning they are HIV positive.
  • Truvada as PrEP is available to in Washington and New York states free of charge. The decision was made to offer the drug for free because it was less expensive to prevent HIV than to treat someone who is HIV positive for his entire life. While the medication is free, the patient still needs to pay for his own lab work, which ranges from $100-300 per month. Canada still lags behind the use of Truvada as PrEP, frustrating many doctors and gay men.
  • Known as the Berlin Patient, Tim Brown was both HIV positive and was diagnosed with cancer. Tim underwent cancer treatment after his doctor found a donor who was immune to HIV. The procedure resulted in Tim being cured of both cancer and HIV. He is the first person in the world known to be cured of HIV.
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a controversial subject for some segments of the gay community. There is a false belief that guys who take PrEP will have more sex and unprotected sex, and therefore result in having more STI’s. The studies to date to not support these myths and rumors. However, a small segment of the HIV positive community is having trouble with negative guys taking antiretroviral drugs because they feel it is unfair that they can have sex, without the guilt and worry of contracting HIV. This has lead to some judgement about guys not being responsible. Right or wrong, the fact is, PrEP is safer sex and not a single person who takes Truvada as PrEP on a daily basis has seroconverted.
  • Treatment as prevention (TasP), is when a person’s viral load has been reduced to such a minimal level that is not detectable, and therefore they cannot transmit HIV. In 2013, there was still some researchers that doubted the studies; however, it has now been proven as an effective method to reducing the spread of HIV because people who are HIV positive undetectable cannot infect others when their viral load count is undetectable.
  • The conference did not dive deep into HIV immunity research; however, 15-20% of Europeans are immune or partially immune to HIV. There is a lab in Toronto that can conduct tests to check your immunity levels.

HIV is a very complicated subject and it is through these types of conferences that information sharing is so important. From how to treat people living with HIV, to treatment as prevention, to keeping people HIV negative, there is much the medical community is still learning and researching. Since the AIDS epidemic of the 1980’s we have come a long way. While there is still much work to be done, there is a sense of optimism that there could be a cure in the near future! We already have prevention!

– See more at: http://www.thehomoculture.com/author/billcoleman/#sthash.izn6gr3H.fdaDSKhW.dpuf