Peter was never able to use a condom. He didn’t fuck for years for that reason. But now that has all changed because he is taking part in AMPrEP.”
“In the nineties I wanted to fuck, but I couldn’t if I used a condom. You are in the middle of things, and then you have to stop, focus on properly rolling out the condom and putting it on. At that point I would be out of the mood and would totally lose my erection. To get it back while wearing a condom, is very difficult. It just didn’t work. And back then, you just never did it without one. So after trying a couple of times, I gave up and only had oral sex.
About 10 years ago, I became depressed. I was prescribed antidepressants. It had absolutely no positive effect on my life at all and I stopped taking it after a few months. My libido was seriously affected: my desire for sex disappeared due to the effects of the antidepressivum and I couldn’t get an erection any more at all. Even after I stopped taking it, it never really fully recovered. Erection medication was only available on a doctor’s prescription, but my doctor did not cooperate and refused to refer me to a sexologist. Looking back, I should have gone to a different doctor. ”
“Because of all this, I don’t really like taking medication. But the GGD (local Public Health Service) said that I could stop taking PrEP any time I wanted to. So I decided to go ahead and take it. I have been taking it now for a little over a half year and I take one daily pill. I did wonder what it would do to my body. I was a little nauseous for about ten days and after that I have not noticed anything else. I do still have vivid dreams. Not nightmares but just really lucid dreams that I can remember parts of the next morning. I never used to.”
“Before PrEP, you were always busy preventing HIV. Now you feel just about invincible. Another advantage is that the gap between HIV-positive and HIV-negative is disappearing. Yes, I knew about being ‘undetectable’ (when the amount of HIV virus has been reduced so much by medication that blood tests can no longer detect it- ed.), but a person could always lie about their status. This is no longer an issue at all because by taking PrEP, I protect myself. I know men who give blow jobs with a condom and are still scared that it will tear and they might still get HIV. Can you imagine how much they would benefit from PrEP? You can compare PrEP to the pill for women. Before it was there, it was impossible to enjoy sex as a woman because you were scared of getting pregnant. Having a child isn’t the same thing as getting HIV but both can turn your life upside down.”
“Of course I know PrEP does not protect me against other STIs. That is always something to be careful of. Luckily, those STIs are easily treatable. As a PrEP user, you are tested every three months which means that STIs are caught earlier and treated quicker. That may be a good side effect of PrEP.”
“Because of PrEP I have less hangups. I can fuck again. I am lucky that I am allowed to try it given my (medical) history. After 20 years of not fucking, PrEP is a gift from heaven.”
* The name Peter was changed on request of the interviewee to protect his privacy. A stock photo was used for the same reasons.
Man to Man interviewed men with a wide variety of experiences and reasons to use PrEP. Their personal stories about sex and health do not necessarily reflect Man to Man’s recommendations. PrEP is a very effective way to protect yourself against HIV. For other STIs, condoms are the best available protection.
Do you want to tell which choices you make to protect yourself from HIV and/or STIs? Mail your story to Man tot Man!