My PrEP experience

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01 Dec 2014

Andrew is a 37-year-old gay man who has been in a relationship with his HIV-positive partner for the past ten months.

“I think my partner always thought we would use condoms but my research showed me that, as he has an undetectable viral load, my risk of getting HIV from him was low already.

When we first had unprotected sex though, I freaked out. I rushed off to get post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) from the local hospital the next morning. It was clear I wasn't as comfortable with the idea as I originally thought.

I was so glad that I did go to the hospital because I met a great clinical nurse who explained the facts about transmission to me, and that I was unlikely to even need PEP because of the low risk.

After informing my doctor of my experience, she asked me to consider PrEP. She said I should look up the CDC website and to research information about the PARTNER study. With a prescription I could legally order it online from overseas.

Prior to receiving the prescription I agreed to quarterly check-ups with my doctor and signed a waiver acknowledging that I understood there may be some extremely small risk of transmission.

I did my research and discovered that I could order the generic medication from a Canadian website for $125 a month. My partner and I felt it was worth paying that for peace of mind — for both of us.

The effect on our relationship has been very positive. It's probably been a greater relief for my partner who was so worried about the possibility of passing the virus onto me. This has meant we can relax, have more confidence and a more spontaneous sex life.

I know how important it is to take it every day and I have only forgotten once. I now have a tablet dispenser for each day of the week. I have my partner to remind me though — if he is having his pills with breakfast, then I know it's time for me to take my little blue pill.”