Do I need to take PrEP if I’m straight?
Let’s get one thing straight here—little miss HIV doesn’t discriminate. She doesn’t care if you’re black, white, man, woman, straight, or LGBTQ+. In fact, according to HIV.gov, 24% of new HIV diagnoses were among heterosexuals in 2015. That’s a big percentage, y’all. So, the short answer is yes, you can take PrEP if you’re straight and you think you’re at risk of getting HIV.
How do I know if I’m at risk of contracting HIV?
According to the CDC, 1 in 200 heterosexual adults should be counseled for PrEP. How do you know if you’re one of them? Well, the most obvious reason to take PrEP is if you are HIV negative and with a partner who is living with HIV.
Not you? There are a few other candidates, as well:
- Injection drug users who share needles
- Anyone with multiple sex and/or drug-sharing partners, especially if the partners’ HIV statuses are unknown
- Individuals who exchange sex for money, shelter, food, and/or other services.
Why don’t we talk about this more?
There’s a misconception that HIV is a gay disease and a guy disease. Honestly, it’s not talked about enough outside of the LGBTQ+ community because of this reason. Straight people and ciswomen are at risk for HIV, too, and we need to talk about it more. But because of this delusion, many people aren’t educated on PrEP or any HIV prevention at all.
The San Francisco AIDS Foundation says, “The CDC estimates that the absolute number of heterosexual women in the U.S. who likely meet criteria for PrEP (468,000) is about the same as the number of men who have sex with men (492,000) who do.”
So… yeah. We need to talk about this more.
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Furthermore, there’s a stigma that if you take PrEP you’re a slut. While we all know that’s obviously not true, it’s hindered our society from accepting it and educating about it. Obviously you’re going to be deterred from taking something if it deems you a whore, right? There are a lot of reasons someone might take PrEP other than being a “slut” (?) as we mentioned above, such as having a partner who is living with HIV, or sharing needles. Whatever the reason though, it’s nobody’s Goddamn business.
It’s important for everybody, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or color, to be educated on HIV prevention and safe sex. Because everybody, regardless of who you are, deserves to have a healthy sex life. And after all, the more we talk about this, the closer we get to conquering the spread of HIV.
I’m straight, how do I get PrEP?
Well, coming here and reading our blog is a great first step! So congratulations, you’re in the right place.
To get PrEP, you need a prescription—you cannot get it over the counter. If you live in or near the Cleveland area, contact one of our PrEP navigators and they can lead the way for you:
University Hospitals: 216.286.7737
Once you get prescribed PrEP, you can start taking it every day. We repeat: EVERY. DAY. PrEP must be taken every single day in order to be effective. Once you start taking it, you’ll check in with your doctor every three months to make sure everything is going well and to check your HIV status.
Knowledge is power
Talking about PrEP, normalizing it, and reducing the stigma will go a long way in reducing the number of new HIV diagnoses among all demographics. HIV affects everyone, and openly talking about our risk factors benefits everyone as a whole.