Ask Kim: Should I Take PrEP?

Dear Kim,

It feels like everyone I know is on PrEP! Is there a gay man out there who isn’t? Give it to me straight – how do I know if I should be taking PrEP, and who do I talk to if I want to get it?

Thank you,

Surrounded By Preppers

Dear Surrounded,

You are right that PrEP use is pretty common among gay men! And with good reason – it is excellent at preventing HIV transmission through sexual means. It reduces your risk of getting HIV through sex by 99%, so for many people, it’s a great method for safer sex.

Studies show that it’s a safe medication for most people, and that most side effects are tolerable and go away after a while. For folks at high risk of HIV infection, PrEP can literally save lives.

It’s important to note that it’s not a cure-all, though. It doesn’t prevent other STI’s – just HIV – so using condoms alongside it is important. Rarely, it also can lead to kidney function issues. Your doctor will need to monitor your kidney function through regular blood testing while you take PrEP. In addition to monitoring your kidneys, you will also need to be tested several times a year for HIV to make sure you are still negative.

PrEP is especially recommended for folks with certain risk factors, such as having an HIV+ partner; having condomless sex with a partner(s) whose HIV status they do not know; people who share needles; anyone who exchanges sex for money or necessities; and people who have been diagnosed with an STI recently. If your healthcare provider determines that you’re not at increased risk, they may not recommend PrEP for you.

Going on PrEP is a personal choice. If you have questions about it, or would like a referral to a prescriber, give us a call at 860-278-4163.

Be well, be yourself.


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