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Articles tagged with: Truvada

Jul18

I made an HIV prevention video for guys who hate condoms. Here’s why (NSFW)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // Social Media, Alternative Therapies, As Prevention , African, Caribbean and Black, Gay Men, Youth, Treatment Guidelines -including when to start, General Health, Health, Treatment, Media, Revolving Door, Guest Authors

“I thought that we needed something bolder, something sexier, and something that reflected the realities of gay sex...”

I made an HIV prevention video for guys who hate condoms. Here’s why (NSFW)

Mr. Leather LA 2014 and LA County HIV Commission member Eric Paul Leue    Photo: John Kiffmeyer

To read the complete article by Chris Tipton-King visit Huffington Post, here.

If you weren’t aware that Gilead recently started running Truvada for PrEP ads, I wouldn’t blame you: they’re exactly the sort of vanilla, stock-photo-and-fine-print yawners that you might expect from a pharmaceutical company. For a prevention strategy meant for men who enjoy dicks in butts au-natural, most outreach efforts have been about as sexy as burnt toast. As a gay filmmaker, I’ve been watching from the sidelines as a parade of ham fisted attempts have tried to move the needle. Frustratingly, less than a quarter of the men who meet the CDC risk criteria are on PrEP, despite four years of public availability.

I thought that we needed something bolder, something sexier, and something that reflected the realities of gay sex, so I raised a modest sum on Kickstarter (thanks Mom!), called in every favor I could possibly think of, and created my own video series. There’s naked guys (and actors of at least six different nationalities), sex toys, bondage, exploding glitter-filled condoms, lip sync, un-bleeped four letter words, a drag queen serving lemon jello in urinalysis cups… it’s deliberately as explicit as YouTube allows, and the furthest from high school sex-ed as I could get. I’m not a department of public health or a pharma company, so I don’t have to shy away from controversy. I went straight for the target market that would most benefit from PrEP: guys who don’t like condoms. To get their attention and signal that we get it, the first scene has activist Eric Paul Leue doing something that’s never been done in a HIV prevention video before: listing the reasons he doesn’t like condoms.

I know that it’s still taboo to admit that barebacking is a thing, but I think it solves the paradox of PrEP outreach thus far: PrEP is the best strategy for people who don’t like condoms, yet the organizations typically tasked with educating about PrEP can’t appear to endorse condomless sex. The subtext is still that barebacking is bad, and no one will start the conversation with their doctor if we layer it with so much shame. PrEP is about harm reduction, not harm elimination.

If a condoms-only strategy were working to stop HIV, we wouldn’t need PrEP. The shocking statistic that got me started down this path was the CDC’s report in 2013 that only 16.9% of gay men use condoms consistently, and that number had been riding the down escalator for years, even before PrEP became available. If we’re going to beat HIV, we have to start talking to the other 83.1%, and we have to stop assuming that yet another clever billboard will suddenly make them religious latex adherents. Whether it’s forgetting the condom at home, bodily incompatibility, decreased sensation, etc…, I believe prevention should address these concerns instead of dismissing them.

There’s a lot of hand wringing about “the end of safe sex,” but the thing is, the definition of the term has evolved, and gay culture must evolve with it. Even the CDC has stopped using the term “unprotected” and now uses “condomless,” because condoms are no longer the only form of protection. Value judgements shouldn’t get in the way of enabling guys to make the best possible choices about their health, whether they have one partner or one hundred.

To read the complete article by Chris Tipton-King visit Huffington Post, here.

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