A man who contracted HIV while taking drugs to prevent HIV infection was having risky condomless sex with multiple hook-up partners, it has emerged.
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) drug Truvada can drastically reduce people’s chances of being infected with HIV by up to 99 percent if taken daily.
The drug has been endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is already routinely available to at-risk men in a number of countries – but opponents of the drug warn it may wrongly be seen as an alternative to condoms.
A case study last month revealed the first case of an HIV infection in a man who was taking PrEP – and the newly-diagnosed HIV positive man has now spoken out.
The 44-year-old man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told POZ magazine that he had entirely stopped using condoms after starting to take PrEP, with multiple hook-up partners.
The Toronto man says he’s “mostly a bottom”, but stopped using condoms because he believed “science was in my favour.”
He explained: “To be honest with you, I stopped using condoms after going on PrEP.
“I was such as big proponent of PrEP that if I was chatting with someone on a hookup site who wanted to use condoms, it was a deal-breaker for me. I was having sex to enjoy it.
“And if I was wearing a condom or the other person was wearing a condom, I wouldn’t enjoy it.”
He continued: “I knew there was always a possibility of becoming infected on PrEP, but the science was in my favour.”
The man explained that he contracted HIV after meeting a man on a “bareback only” hook-up site
He explained of taking the drug: “I became more sexually liberated. It took away the fear.
“I mean, that’s really one of the reasons why people behave themselves [sexually].
“It’s not because of morals or religion or society; it’s just the fear of getting sick—especially the fear of HIV. But once you’re on PrEP you’re more comfortable. You feel safer.”
However, he insists that his case should not be a nail in the coffin for PrEP.
He said: “I don’t know if it comes from fear or hatred or whatever, but some people feel vindicated that PrEP is not 100 percent.
“PrEP’s a calculated risk. It’s important for people to know that there is the possibility as opposed to the fantasy that there have been no recorded infections on PrEP.
“At least now there is one, so it makes it more real. And I tell people, ‘It didn’t work for me, but I still think it’s great’.
“If I had to do it all over again, I would still go on PrEP. I just wouldn’t have sex with that specific person.”