The Line between PrEP and Promiscuity
Some say people on PrEP’s reason behind taking the preventative HIV drug is to allow more sexual encounters with multiple partners. We know PrEP isn’t proven to increase more sexual activity amongst users. So, are PrEP takers promiscuous or proactive? Let’s explore some myths around PrEP and sexual activity.
First of all, why are people—outside of healthcare providers—so concerned with people’s sex lives? Does the curiosity stem from a place of care and concern, morality, or judgment? A study conducted by Cornell and New York University essentially summed up the question of whether or not casual sex is a good or bad thing as: Casual sex is psychologically good for you if you think it’s acceptable, but not if you don’t (The Atlantic, 2014). The Atlantic (2014) also shed light on another interesting piece of information from The Archives of Sexual Behavior, which found that promiscuity—by both men and women—is more likely to be considered a moral violation in places where women are economically dependent on men.
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I think it is safe to say societal standards for men and women often vary, and even more so regarding casual sex. However, when it comes to PrEP there is a stigma towards users of all sexes, and stigma can lead to users not taking or improperly taking the medicine to protect themselves. According to a POZ (2019) article, a study from Chicago showed positive results of interventions that reduce PrEP stigma among PrEP users. The intervention results showed that reduced PrEP stigma could lead to better PrEP adherence and more willingness to take the HIV prevention drug.
The media plays an important role in many aspects of our day-to-day lives. Depending on the angle, to an extent, the media can make or break a cause, election, verdict, etc. Interestingly enough, HCP Live reported a new study found that the media is both complicit in increasing stigma around PrEP, and helpful in reducing it as an impediment to its use for HIV prevention. Again, it is all about the angle and the message users choose to consume.
At the end of the day, the most important note to remember is: PREP WORKS! No one needs to justify their reason for taking PrEP, nor should there be shame surrounding taking a preventative drug that benefits your health. Everyone has an opinion and, apparently, even more so when it comes to casual sex, promiscuity, and morality. If it is hard to grasp why a person chooses to take a preventive drug proactively or has a different sex life or perspective than you, here’s a tip that helps on any occasion: *mind your own business*, respectfully.
Stay well and stay prepared.
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