Since PrEP, the miracle pre-exposure prophylaxis, became readily available in Australia, initially as part of a medical trail in NSW called EPIC-NSW and then on the PBS, gays everywhere have rejoiced at the reacquaintance of being able to feel the kind of intimate skin-on-skin closeness that humans are supposed to be able to enjoy, you know, without that thin membrane of rubber, a barrier that has been cursed for the intimacy it robs!

And while condoms have certainly played their important role in the last decades, the EPIC-NSW trail, where PrEP was made available to 9,714 HIV negative people, including this lucky participant – initially for free and then at around $40 per month on the PBS (around $6 for concession card holders) – was a massive success, with HIV transmission dropping in NSW by as much as 40% in three years when PrEP was made available to gay and bisexual men in New South Wales.

These historically low rates persisted after PrEP moved to the PBS in 2018 and with an estimated 50,000 people initiating PrEP, it’s made a real dent in Australia’s HIV diagnoses up to 2022, with a 37% reduction in new HIV notifications since 2016, though the impact of COVID-19 and the fact that people were getting less HIV testing has also contributed to that decline.

And this technology just continues to improve, with dosing initially occurring daily in conjunction with quarterly trips to the sexual health clinic (already a regular occurrence for any responsible sexually active gay man) for blood and kidney tests, with this now reduced if preferred, to on-demand PrEP, where you can plan a wicked weekend and dose accordingly in the lead-up and after the event or you can even decide you’re going to have extended sexy time and decide to go back to the daily dosing for a while – it’s that flexible and murmurs abound of a periodic shot almost ready to replace the need for pills all together!

But besides all of the technical details, the coming of PrEP just takes some anxiety out of being a sexually active gay man and the awkward mumbling and fumbling condoms induced. The amount of times I’ve screamed out “thank you PrEP!” mid-gravy stroke, far outnumber the times I’ve screamed out a man’s name so that’s a pretty good indication of just how great PrEP is!

For informational purposes only. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice.

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