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Here’s The Best Combo: PrEP + Condoms

by | Dec 22, 2021

The water has finally run clear and the hottest hookup around is nearly at your house. What a momentous moment! He walks in and as you’re grabbing the condom, he says he’s clean and asks if you are too. You’re left wondering, “is a condom really necessary?” Yes! If you aren’t sure why a condom is still a good idea – there is one word for you: Gonorrhea! 

Did that get your attention? How about, syphilis? Or chlamydia? Or herpes? Just because you are taking PrEP doesn’t mean you are safe from all STDs. A common misconception people taking prep has been that they are invincible to catching anything. Well, newsflash! You can still get many other diseases if you decide to have bareback sex while on prep. You’re only protected against the biggest killer – HIV. If you want to avoid a horrible burning sensation when you pee – use a condom. 

The misconception that prep keeps you safe against all STDs is common and it’s leading to some super strains of common STDs. Most notably, super-gonorrhea. What exactly is super-gonorrhea and why is it worse than regular gonorrhea? It produces the same symptoms as regular gonorrhea – yet the strain is much more resistant to antibiotics. The symptoms of super gonorrhea manifest themselves in the genital regions. If you got an itchy butt, unexplained penis discharge, discomfort or swelling in the testicles, or painful urination you could have caught the super clap. 

Imagine telling a partner that you caught a case of candy coated chlamydia because of bareback sex. Now further imagine telling them that you caught is because you were on prep and thought you were safe. Sounds silly, but people make this mistake every day.  Although chlamydia is incurable, HIV is not. It’s been around since the 80s and we still don’t have a cure. So, we also recommend staying safe now instead of later being sorry. 

If there’s one good thing that came from COVID-19 it’s that we may have found a possible cure for HIV. We are still a long way from making this pipeline dream a reality though. Nobody wants to experience the effects of HIV – so it’s always best practice to cover your stump before you hump.

Not yet sure of why you should use PrEP and condoms? Well, just because you and your partner are taking prep it doesn’t mean that you are completely safe. If your sexual partner is not taking the prescribed regiment regularly then it may increase your chances of becoming infected. For prep to be 99% effective both you and your partner need to take it as prescribed and on a regular basis. Otherwise your protection drops from 99% to 74%. Transmission also increases with the use of intravenous drugs and at the end of the day we can never fully know the life of the person we are sleeping with.  

PrEP is not an alternative to using condoms. It needs to be used in addition to condoms to make sure that you are safe. However, the public use as an alternative is having consequences. As mentioned previously, it is leading the way to new super STIs that are becoming resistant to antibiotics. PrEP continues to be a great tool at our expense when trying to stay safe from contracting HIV. However, this is a façade that lead to many problems. When we start to use PrEP as the alternative rather than the solution we are speeding up the resistance of STIs to drugs. We are creating super STIs that are harder to cure. Protect yourself and other by always opting for a condom. 

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Sean Kivi

Sean Kivi

Author

Sean Kivi holds a master's degree from the University of Nottingham in translation studies from Spanish to English. He specializes in writing about gay culture and its influence on discourse. Sean speaks Spanish fluently and focuses on translating gay-themed literature to English and analyzing the discourse to understand how our culture is universal yet distinct in countries worldwide. He has translated for authors in Mexico and completed case studies related to machismo and its influences on gay culture in Latin America.
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