Gay Lib Dem peer Brian Paddick opens up about being on PrEP
Brian Paddick, formerly the most senior-ranking gay policeman in the UK, has opened up about his use of PrEP, the drug which prevents the acquisition of HIV.
The former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police told the website Prepster that he is on the trial for the drug.
He says: “I was having one of my regular check-ups at Dean Street a few years ago when the nurse suggested I would be a good candidate for a new PrEP trial, called PROUD.
“I had always had problems using condoms, which either meant it just wasn’t happening or if it was, it wasn’t going to last very long!”
“I’d also had a couple of close calls with HIV positive sexual partners, one a long-term partner who didn’t find out until afterwards, and one who didn’t say anything until I found out.”
Although he knew he was gay, the cop-turned-politician says that being in a heterosexual marriage from 1983 – 1988 may have saved his life.
He writes: “I was married at the time of the first diagnosed cases of AIDS and I honestly question whether I would still be alive if I had not been “playing it straight” at that time.
“Of course, HIV is no longer the threat it used to be and having an undetectable viral load means you can’t pass it on but what if your sexual partner isn’t aware that they’re positive?
“Getting checked, and getting treatment if you are positive, is so important.”
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However, Paddick urges people to have safe sex to protect them from other STIs.
He adds: “PrEP doesn’t stop other STIs, so it’s not an alternative to condoms, but if you’re not using condoms anyway, it saves you a lot of anxiety and the NHS a lot of money if they don’t have to treat you for the rest of your life because you have HIV.”
Paddick joined the Metropolitan Police in 1976 and retired in 2007, before becoming a politician.
He unsuccessfully ran for the London mayoral elections in 2008 and 2012 as the Liberal Democrat candidate.
However, he currently sits in the House of Lords as a life peer.