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No more taboos nor closets: bareback, drugs and PrEP

No more taboos nor closets: bareback, drugs and PrEP

access_timeFebruary 13, 2017 04:25 pm

Carlos García de León is a gay mexican activist with a long career who visited SOMOSGAY last Wednesday January 25th to talk about some subjects that are not easy to deal with: bareback sex, recreational drugs and the latest technology to prevent HIV: PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). García de León’s motto was: We need to question ourselves some things to change paradigms.

A world without aids is possible

Today, living with HIV is no hindrance to enjoy an optimal quality of life and to exercise our rights to sexuality. It is a fact that adherence to the treatment leads to undetectability of the virus. What does this mean? It means that by following the treatment, the amount of virus in the blood is so low that it cannot be measured. In this situation, when the viral load is undetectable, the virus cannot be transmitted. Therefore, by having a low amount of virus, aids cannot be developed. This doesn’t mean there is a cure for HIV (scientists are still working on that) but current advances allow us to live with the virus as a chronic condition like diabetes.

 

The latest technology for the prevention in people not living with HIV is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) which consists of the daily intake of antiretrovirals to avoid contagion. Moreover, another advancement is PEP (postexposure prophylaxis), a new method used after a high risk situation and it consists of taking drugs within 72 hours and a treatment for 28 days.

Fear to pleasure

Science makes progress but our concepts around sexuality stay adamant. Controversy over bareback sex evidences all prejudices about sexuality’s exercise. Such is the mentality that denies pleasure and enjoyment of sex as a right.

It is a fact that in developed countries bareback sex is increasing: we cannot hide it anymore. It’s a sex practice that has always been around, it never ceased and now due to a greater availability of information, preventive technology and effective treatments, people are taking decisions consciously and freely on the exercise of their own sexuality. The key is a critic education that empowers people, not a “formation” that imposes or censures arbitrarily.

Some recommendations by Carlos García León:

If you’re living with HIV:

Adhere to your treatment to achieve an undetectable viral load so your chances of transmitting the virus are virtually zero.

If you’re not living with HIV:

Do the test every 3 months. In SOMOSGAY we carry it out for free and quickly. Through our app EQUIS you can request the test.

Consider PrEP in case your partners live with HIV or you don’t know their HIV status. You may ask us how to access this technology.

This same situation happens with the use of recreational drugs, starting with those ones we use in our daily lives as coffee, then alcohol and finally other substances that are not legal in all parts of the world. The path is value-free information which allows people to take their own decisions in sexual practices as well as in drug taking.

Carlos García de León’s advice on consuming substances:

Find out as much as possible about the drugs you’re taking or you’re planning on taking. Get information about which combinations are the best, the effects and also minimum standards of quality.

It is also important that you know and assume your relationship with the substance: if you’re an occasional, moderate or dependent consumer.

If you’re trying out something new, do not do it alone. Be always in the company of other people. Having a network of support from family and friends is always very important to minimize risks.

 

If we prefer silence, we won’t make any progress. We must be capable of seating down and talk about these and other practices of risk. Risk will always be present in everything we do, remembered García de León. The difference lies in questioning and taking decisions with the greatest knowledge possible.

 

Pleasure is a very important and essential part in our lives. We cannot deny it anymore. From SOMOSGAY we recommend you to look for value-free information, that is: complete and not distorted information so you can take your own decisions.

Watch out for more talks and workshops here at the Center so you can learn more about these and other subjects to fully exercise your rights without any fear.

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Norma Flores Allende

Redactora, SOMOSGAY.