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There is growing concern that young gay men are becoming increasingly complacent about HIV and AIDS and their effects. Is it because of treatment becoming available or could there be deeper issues related to our identity and self-worth at play?
Internationally, researchers have observed that this growing trend has emerged alongside the provision of antiretroviral therapy. It is generally believed that with the emergence of antiretroviral therapy, many people have become less concerned about the risk and severity of HIV and AIDS.
Just as we've started getting our heads around Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), now comes PrEP, or Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis . It may be a little confusing but ultimately it means that we're adding yet another weapon to the arsenal we can use in the fight against the HI Virus (HIV).
The primary difference between the two strategies is that PEP is a course of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) that is taken within 72 hours AFTER a risky sexual encounter – for example, after a burst condom or a drunken one-night stand.
Many of us have had at least one risky sexual experience that we feared might have exposed us to HIV. It could have been a drunken one night stand or a burst condom, but the next morning, in the stark light of day, is usually an emotional nightmare. Wouldn't it be great if we could simply pop a pill or two to solve all our problems? Well today, we can. Well, sort of...
Jeffery (36), a publicity executive, has had three frightening experiences he won't soon forget. "The condom burst three times, three years in a row, almost to the day," he says. "The first time I was completely freaked out. The fact that the guy never asked me what my status was when it happened made me think that he was positive because he didn't seem to care."
The recent murders of at least seven gay men in Gauteng have highlighted the reality that casual sex may not just be risky when it comes to diseases and viruses, but also to your immediate physical safety, reputation and well-being.
While there's no firm evidence, it has been suggested that at least some of the murdered men might have met their killers through online dating sites. There's also been recent press coverage about two homeless men pressing charges of rape against a Pretoria man who allegedly picked them up on the street.
HIV and gay rights activists say new guidelines released by the UN World Health Organization (WHO) on HIV programming for men who have sex with men (MSM) will not only improve health service provision for MSM, but will also act as an advocacy tool in the fight for the rights of this marginalized population.