This article discusses LGBTQ+ healthcare, HIV stigma and PrEP in Canada:
Guest article written by Thomas Trombetta (@thomasigle) of Freddie
PrEParing for a Sexual Revolution – How a Pill Can Take Fear Away from Sex:
Since the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 80s and 90s, our perceptions of sexuality have been largely centered around fear, anxiety, and the unknown. Strong levels of homophobia and transphobia at the federal level caused the government to largely ignore and stigmatize an HIV/AIDS epidemic that overwhelmingly targeted LGBTQ2+ populations. When entire communities were swept away too soon, sex and fear became synonyms for many.
Stigma and government inaction were pillars that held up the foundation of blame and shame, placing responsibility on the people that needed care the most. Anecdotes of people losing entire friend groups; of waking up in fear of a positive test result were not uncommon.
Now, putting oneself in a position where firstly society perceives you so negatively that the only way to find community is through underground connections, and secondly that those relationships become riddled with the fear of infection and death. When that which provides you belonging and liberation is melded with anxiety and fright, we’re bound to have strong dissassociations.
PrEP came up not only as a very successful harm reduction strategy in the field of HIV, but it has also represented an enormous cultural shift in how many people feel about sex. No longer riddled by fear, shame, or guilt, many are finding in PrEP a new way to live their sexual life. Jason, interviewed for our Life on PrEP blog series, says:
“I experience less fear and shame around HIV transmission and focus more on sex as an act of pleasure between myself and my consenting partner(s). It also allows me to build more trust and communication with my sexual partners, which should be an experience that all sexually active folks can have.”
Whether you’re on PrEP or not, it’s important that we know we have more HIV prevention and management tools than we have ever had. All of those play a role in our sexual life and how we engage with our own bodies. Anxiety and fear no longer have to partner our sexuality, today we get to focus on pleasure and all of the wonderful things it can do for our health.
To conclude, we have some quotes from Jordan and Jeff illustrating their PrEP journey. Jordan adds that the biggest change he’s noticed “ is the solace in knowing that I’ve taken steps to remove variables outside of my own control in my sex life.” While Jeff states “I am a very sexual being and with PrEP I am able to get active in mindful and conscious ways that lower any stress around contracting HIV.”
If you want to access PrEP through competent and affirming providers, Freddie is here to help! You can schedule an appointment with one of our providers by visiting us on our website here. If you have any questions or would like to know more about Freddie, please email firstname.lastname@example.org