It is administered when people at very high risk for HIV take HIV medicines daily to lower their chances of getting infected. PrEP can stop HIV from taking hold and spreading throughout your body. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed, but it is much less effective when not taken consistently.
As of 2018, numerous countries have now approved the use of PrEP for HIV/AIDS prevention,
Yet despite these previously unimaginable bio medical technogical breakthroughs, the incidence of new cases increases. Most significantly in marginalised populations , such as Men who have Sex with Men. (MSM) This includes all men who identify as gay, bisexual,, occasionally/regularly have sex with men even while identifying as heterosexual. Why, I ask, is it this is happening?
In the past, HIV/AIDS focus has been on risk reduction – condoms, condoms , condoms. People never stopped to consider the man behind the penis. Especially the MSM man who has a host of bothersome and troublesome emotions and psychosocial health problems that drive him into high risk situations and make him vulnerable to HIV infections. Just because we have a free Constitutional pass to express our sexual orientations however and with whom ever, does not mean that MSM people are protected In Real Life from the slings and arrow that a still intolerant society throws at them.
Managing these slings and arrows can be exhausting, socially isolating, depressing and anxiety provoking. Add in some old fashioned childhood sexual abuse, already a huge vulnerability factor for depression , drug abuse, anxiety , and partner violence , and the desire to escape these feelings requires lots of courage and assistance.
Bring in the firefighters, scream your brain . And so it is that drugs, sex and alcohol are needed to numb out what might feel like, difficult emotions. Add in the hassle and raw vulnerability , of condom negotiation, possible rejection- well, you can see how this may not be a priority when all you long for is social acceptance, anxiety free sex, and an escape from loneliness.
Now that bio medical technologies exist, surely the incidence of HIV/AIDS will diminish? Right? no wrong.
A study done by Trevor Hart, highlighted the psychosocial health problems and increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS among urban MSM. Inspite of availability of Pep, PrEP, ARV’s.
Seems as if MSM have a higher prevalence of substance abuse, partner violence, depression, childhood sexual abuse than in comparison with other community based samples of men . These health problems in MSM are interrelated. There is a bilateral relationship with these health problems and risk of HIV Infection . In other words, there is a connection in relationships between HIV infection and partner violence, childhood sexual abuse and depression. And there is interconnection between these three psychosocial health problems themselves.
in other words, the MSM populations experience multiple serious health problems, HIV/AIDS is only the most recognised. These named health problems result in increased vulnerability to HIV infection .According to Dr Hart’s research, it is the ADDITIVE INTERPLAY of these psychosocial health problems that magnifies the vulnerability of the MSM population to serious health conditions such as HIV/AIDS.
If you are a MSM, and have any of these psychosocial health problems, how does it impact on your sexuality?
- Do you take more risks?
- Use condoms irregularly and incorrectly?
- Depend on bio medical technology to avoid transmission ?
- Polydrug use.?
- Depression ?
- Partner violence (been stalked, verbally threatened, kicked, hit, forced to have sex,?
- Childhood sexual abuse ?
- Feel as if you are having disempowered sex?
According to Dr Hart the solution is to work more broadly with MSM . Health Care providers must work in tandem with organisations addressing mental health, partner violence substance abuse and problems within the community., while working with sexual risk taking. Basically he calls for a recognition of the psychosocial health problems from which MSM people suffer.
Perhaps then there will be higher compliance to the magic of PrEP. and other bio medical technologies.