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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 285 > IS THE BATTLE FOR PrEP THE FINAL FRONTIER?

IS THE BATTLE FOR PrEP THE FINAL FRONTIER?

In this 50th anniversary year of partial decriminalisation, many gay men think the fight for HIV prevention drug PrEP is the last battlefield in the war for equality. Currently it’s only available on the NHS in Scotland; not in England and Wales. But other gay men believe PrEP is too expensive and encourages us to have sex without condoms. Attitude’s editor-in-chief Matt Cain began taking it to find out more

“WHY SHOULD MY TAXES PAY FOR THESE SLUTS TO HAVE BAREBACK SEX?”

These are just some of the comments registered on Attitude’s social media feeds whenever we’ve posted stories about PrEP.

And I have to admit that when I first heard about PrEP, I too had mixed feelings. The NHS is already at breaking point and can’t afford to pay for certain cancer treatments, so why should it cough up for PrEP? But I was worried that my reaction was the result of anti-gay conditioning, being brought up to think I didn’t deserve the same rights as the rest of society. And I wanted to challenge this.

“PEOPLE TAKING PrEP GIVE GAY MEN A BAD REPUTATION”

I’m lucky enough to be able to afford to buy PrEP from one of the websites that allow people to source their own. Earlier this year, I ordered mine from a Bangkok clinic recommended on iwantprepnow.co.uk. It’s priced at around £40 per month and I bought a three-month supply. It was quite a tricky process, especially for someone like me who struggles to cope with any form of technology, let alone transferring money to Thailand. But I was successful and a few weeks later three boxes arrive in the post.

“WHY CAN’T THEY JUST SHUT UP AND WEAR CONDOMS?”

Before I start taking it, I go to my local sexual health clinic to check that it’s safe for me to do so. Several sexual health clinics in London and cities such as Manchester, Brighton and Birmingham, offer PrEP monitoring services. I book an appointment at the Mortimer Market Centre, which is part of the Central and North West London Foundation Trust.

The Mortimer Market Centre looks very much like an old-style hospital rather than the new generation of sexual health clinics, which are more akin to coffee shops or lounges. But the staff are friendly and nonjudgmental and the service is excellent. The nurse assigned to me is Abramo Marchesani, who’s gender non-binary and prefers female pronouns and the name Amanda.

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About Attitude

On the cover, exclusive interview with The Walking Dead star Daniel Newman Plus: Declan McKenna talks pop & politics; First Dates’ Fred Sirieix gets Active; previewing the BBC’s major new gay drama; one British man tortured for being gay; cruising through the years; and Attitude joins the great PrEP debate.
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