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The man who contracted HIV while on PrEP speaks out

On the man he thinks gave him the virus:

Here’s the story. He’s in a relationship and “discreet.” We met on bbrt [a bareback community], and he says he’s negative. I prefer to be with people who are positive and know it and are on meds—I’m on PrEP, you’re undetectable, the chances of transmission are like negative 10 percent—but I broke my rule with this guy. So it was with him, I think—it was a bit of a busy period. I reached out to him and he says, “Well, I’m not worried, I’m OK. But I’ll go see a doctor.” And I checked in with him again: “Have you gone? What are the results?” “Oh I’m really busy and haven’t had a chance.” I checked in again. “Oh, I’m out of town on work.” Checked again, and he stopped replying to me. To be honest, I gave up. I don’t need to be vindicated or have him say I’m sorry or whatever. I just wanted to let him know. It’s being socially responsible.”

On his involvement with the flurry of press:

Normally, I’m involved, but I try to stay away from the social commentary regarding this announcement. There was someone, a Facebook friend, who made a blanket statement about, “Enjoy your AIDS, PrEPsters.” I don’t know if it comes from fear or hatred or whatever, but some people feel vindicated that PrEP is not 100 percent. And it’s the Internet, right? Everyone’s got an opinion. To be honest with you, I’ve been focused on work; I applied for a new position, and there are a lot of expected changes. It’s been good.”

Takeaways from his experience and why he wanted to share his story:

Because knowledge is power; the more we know, the better we’re prepared. 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.”

On the news that Canada recently approved Truvada as PrEP:

I was relieved. I thought, ‘Finally. It’s approved!”’As PrEP becomes more mainstream, there will be more awareness. Doctors will know more. Patients will know more. Many of the myths will be dispelled. And more people will have smart, as well as safe, sex.”

To read the full interview, head to POZ.

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