Dear Reader, usually I work things out myself and in private, but there’s something I have to share with you. Some things in life, can become quite serious, especially if we’re ignoring them. This week it’s about trust, drugs and other sexual transmitted diseases.
We millennials are used to perceive reality in our own ways. Especially when it comes to serious matters such as intimacy or STD prevention. Most of the time we feel indestructible and powerful, when it comes to our liberated sex lives or our party behavior. But it’s also tricky, even in times, when most gay men are on PrEP and the commodity of the condom became almost obsolet. I never really could get myself into that kind of prevention, without doubt and the remaining fear of HIV or other slightly increasing diseases. HIV is still around us and as far as medical studies and prevention methods may go, it remains incurable for now.
Many young sexual active people don’t use condoms and even older generations became used to avoid the classic methods in order to exchange it with medical treatments. But do we know what it may do with our bodies and genes in the long run, nor do we know, what physical or psychological consequences it may or may not imply? PrEP is very new and even the studies cannot be as accurate as we wish them to be, since there’s no absolute guarantee.
As I broke up with my longterm boyfriend, a few years ago, I started thinking about using it as well, but decided against it for several reasons. I was young and stupid, though it wouldn’t get me and it still hasn’t, for which I’m very grateful. Not using a condom or medical prevention is simply dangerous and stupid. Therefore I could never get comfortable with someone, not even my longterm friend with benefits, who’s on PreP as well. Nothing could change that feeling and even after many months of research and conversations with my doctor, I remain skeptical.
Don’t get me wrong, not using a condom is quite enjoyable, as the feeling is more intense. On one hand it’s something which makes sexual intercourse more intimate, on the other, simply riskier, if it becomes a habit. Especially in a city like Berlin, in which very often prevention is forgotten as soon as drugs are in the same context. Not to mention, that a simple pill doesn’t decrease the risk of other sexual transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, syphilis or other infections which have become more common these days as studies indicate. Also a medical treatment always comes with a certain responsibility such as regular check-ups or a psychological therapy.
As far as it goes, every generation has issues with trust, when it comes to sex or relationships. Often drugs seem to change that perception and the younger generation between 16 and 26, seems to have less issues with unprotected sex, while they’re exploring themselves and others. At the same time the PrEP treatment is very expensive, especially for those who are endangered the most, such as addicted personalities, sex workers, younger male gays or simply students, as HIV isn’t only a gay disease. Currently the pill and the various test accompanying the treatment are approximately 40 Euros per month plus additional costs for other essential tests in order to make the treatment work properly. A though choice for someone who’s been asked to decide between an easy life with expensive drugs or a fundamental treatment, to stay healthy.
Personally I decided against it, not because I had to choose between party drugs and healthy drugs, but for the thoughts on genetic arguments. As I remember my biology classes, every autoimmune treatment comes with a genetic price and cells are used to store information only for a limited timespan, before a treatment has to be altered and repeated again. Also a resistance to the virus over the time of treatment is not completely impossible. This has to do with our human immune system and the highly complex ways the body fights against diseases in general. Another aspect of my decision was, that no matter whom I asked, prevention very often has been something, which has to be introduced by the female or passive part. Something I had to do all my life and with condoms.
It may not be an absolute truth, but in my own experience the active part often felt less responsible for a proper safer sex method, as the risk is less high for a top rather than a bottom. But when it comes to intimacy, sex and relationships, trust may be the most important thing. If you can’t trust your partner, I would always recommend a condom, no matter if you’re gay, straight or someone else on the rainbow spectrum. △
Editor’s Note: This Article only reflects personal experiences, personal conversations and critical thoughts in combination with a research on medical treatments. Please get tested on a regularly base and avoid unprotected sex.