PrEP is a preventive tool in the fight against HIV infection. This once-a-day pill has been shown to be highly effective in stopping infection, and will play a crucial role in the ongoing efforts to stop and contain the spread of HIV. That said, PrEP is not a perfect treatment or strategy, and poses a number of problems. The linked article adresses one of the biggest of these. While condom use is recommended as a way to stop HIV infection, condoms also swerve to stop the spread of other STDs, and this value to condom use should not be dismissed.

CDC Finds ‘Alarming’ Increase in STD Rates Among Gay Men; PrEP to Blame?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported troubling news on Tuesday that sexually transmitted infection rates skyrocketed over the last year, particularly among gay and bisexual men. Read the report HERE.

While treatments for some STDs like syphilis exist, the concern is that antibiotic-resistant strains of them  are developing.

Too often any discussion of this turns to slut shaming and blaming men for being too promiscuous. That is an equally troubling problem. Sex is a good thing, and as a community, we are healthier when we are sex positive and sex supportive. The problem isn’t too much sex. The problem is unprotected sex.

For what seems like forever (I do remember sex before there was HID/AIDS), gay and bi men have been hyper focused on HIV, and little to no education or preventative efforts have surrounded STDs more generally. Because condoms protect against many STDs, on some level, it just wasn’t seen as a need. But things are changing.

A rise in STDs caused even in part by use of PrEP raises an issue that no one seems to want to talk about, namely why gay and bi men prefer unprotected sex. Since the earliest days of HIV/AIDS to have such a discussion was discouraged. The “party line” was use condoms, and that was all that was said. But condom use has lessened, and PrEP has lessened it even more. At some point, we are going to have to talk about why people have unprotected sex.

My opinion? Because it feels good; because it is less contrived; because it is more spontaneous; and it is just plain easier. None of these are bad reasons. Unprotected sex isn’t bad, but it does increase your risk of getting a variety of diseases regardless of if you are on PrEP or not.

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