My opportunities for sex in Raleigh NC were basically non existent due to my personal taste in men so using condoms 100% of the time was quite easy to control.
Fast forward to May 2014, Jared and I moved to Manhattan....basically the epicenter of the world. Our sexual options were/are endless...surrounded by constant availability of our idea of "dream guys in the bedroom". If you haven't lived in NYC this is hard to explain, but its one of the sexiest places on earth beside in my opinion Rio De Janeiro.
So, I found myself in bathroom stalls at parties, a orgies, at hookups edging on the verge of not using condoms all the time. Just letting people stick it in or vice versa...you know just the tip...then became the shaft, then becomes a few pumps...before one of us stops and says wait....we should be using condoms.
About the same time I was faltering on my use of condoms the dialogue of PrEP really hit social media quite hard. It seemed like daily there was a new thread or debate on PrEP vs. Condoms as a means of safe sex. I was very adiment that I was to remain a 100% condom user (lying to myself) and why would I want to take a pill when wrapping it up was so easy (again lying to myself). Granted I had not had full blown sex without a condom yet but I have very much been penetrated or the penetrator for brief moments unprotected.
So I began to read theses threads, articles, and debates being shared and discussed about PrEP. Slowly as I let myself understand the science, which being a scientist I now question why I was so slow to evolve, I knew PrEP was the right decision for me.
Then began the hard task of getting on PrEP. I live in Harlem so I first chose a local doctor in my area to speak with about starting PrEP. Disaster, not only was he living under rock but his staff was highly judgmental of my sexual behavior and lectured me about basic human impulses. They had no idea PrEP sex was safe sex. And herin lies a huge problem when you have health care professionals that selectively believe in science or don't know about the current science about gay mens sexual health-you leave the office feeling shamed. I finally got into a gay health clinic in Chelsea and was able to have honest conversations about my sexual behavior and be offered viable options....based on real science not perceived biases.
PrEP sex on its own is safe, PrEP used with condoms is a safety net, PrEP when you are rolling your tits off at a circuit party and don't know what the hell you did the next day is definitely a piece of sanity. I am speaking about the prevention of HIV transmission here and not the prevention of bacterial infections.
I am now a very happy #Prepster. Does that mean I am always having bareback sex....NO. Sex is between all the partners involved...not just you. So if you are on PrEP don't be a "bareback bully". I can't tell you the number of times I have been in group situations and there has been at least one person not on PrEP in the group that was almost ashamed to speak up and say "I would prefer you use a condom on me". No one should feel ashamed about how they want to practice safe sex. It's your responsibility as a PrEP user to present the facts and not be a bully to non-prep users about condom use.
I am sure we have all have that big feeling of regret the next day as we rush to a clinic....don't put someone else in that situation cause you want to be selfish.
Here is a really great article that presents some of the history of PrEP.