Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Gay indulgence

The Danger in Comparing the HIV-Prevention Pill to Condoms - The Atlantic

The writer of this article, about the rather vexing issue of gay men going on permanent (and expensive) medication so they can sleep around with as many (possibly) HIV positive guys they want without a condom, has not done his cause any favours:
As a gay man who has receptive sex—and who lives in Miami and Washington, D.C., the cities with the first- and fifth-highest HIV rates in the U.S.—I knew how high my risk was, and for the most part, I wasn’t willing to chance it....

How often do you have sex without a condom? this new doctor asked.

I explained my situation: I was there because I don’t like sex with condoms. I knew it put me at risk, so I rarely had sex. I knew it wasn’t the right reason to ask for PrEP, and I knew it wasn’t 100-percent effective, but I knew asking for it was the right thing to do.....
I swiped my credit card. On the way back to my apartment, I popped a pill in the street.
I took the pill for 30 days. I had sex once. I couldn’t afford to refill the prescription, so I didn’t.

Over the next few months, I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a steady partner so that I could have a condomless sex life without fear. That seemed like my only option: I literally couldn’t afford sex with multiple partners. The truth is, though, even that option seemed suspect: Several of my HIV-positive friends had acquired the virus from boyfriends who’d cheated on them.
Well, this is extraordinarily self indulgent, if you ask me.   Instead of the cheap, simple option that he doesn't even have to put on his own sensitive bit, he prefers to take risks and then use an expensive medication to keep him virus free.  (But won't stop a wide variety of other STDs.)

And people in comments following note the same:
It would seem disingenuous to file this under 'Health' rather than 'Lifestyle', given that at almost every opportunity the author states that medical/scientific experts were wrong, without explaining why, and all to justify his personal (and understandable) preference for condomless sex without feeling bad for the negative externalities it engenders. A study earlier this year already showed resistance mutations in a clinical study. Cavalier usage of prep as a lifestyle drug will only shorten it's efficacy, not to mention increased STI rates in all other areas.

In short, it's a selfish personal essay to excuse and justify behaviour that the author knows deep down is wrong.
 And this:
This article sounds like it was written by a Reagan-era conservative to destroy any sympathy for AIDS patients by portraying them as irresponsible, selfish, and greedy.
On the other hand, some argue that it makes sense to issue this expensive drug because preventing contracting HIV outweighs the lifelong cost of the drugs that keep it from killing those who contract it.

Yet, the point is, if people could have monogamous relationships, and only with those who don't have the disease, it costs nothing to stay healthy, and doesn't even involve a condom.   This works for billions of heterosexual couples on the planet.   And lots and lots of straight people have trouble finding "intimacy" and long term relationships for a period in their lives, too.   Hard to see why so many gay men find their lives need expensive financial medical assistance and worthy of special sympathy.

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