Talk About PrEP
Talking about HIV and PrEP
Talking openly about PrEP and HIV helps confront the stigma that is still often associated with the disease and those who decide to take PrEP. Research shows that communication between friends and partners can reduce the risk of HIV transmission and increase HIV testing.
Prepare for your conversation
The first step is knowing what you want to say about PrEP and what approach you want to take to get the conversation started. Learn the basics about PrEP and your risk for HIV. Make a checklist of why you feel PrEP might be right for you as well as any concerns you may have about PrEP. Remember that your friend may not have any answers for you but sharing your thoughts and concerns will help you feel less isolated and more empowered to make your decision.
Start your conversation
Identify who you feel you can trust and who will be the most likely to support and understand. Talking about PrEP may make you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed at first, even with close friends but with a little planning and practice, you can boost your level of comfort and overcome your fears.
Whether you have a conversation in person or via email or text, what is most important is you start the conversation. Remember, even after your initial conversation, part of talking to your friends about HIV and PrEP is to get their ongoing support and understanding which may involve a dialogue over time. In other words, continue the conversation so you can benefit the most from sharing your story with those who are close to you.
If a friend shares with you that they are on PrEP, return that trust with the same respect and understanding you would want offered to you.
Online dating and PrEP
You may also find additional support online. It is common to see online dating profiles and chat conversations include references to PrEP. Another phrase that appears often is “treatment as prevention” which can refer to PrEP or indicate the individual may be HIV positive but on treatment to reduce their viral load. People who have HIV and are taking anti-HIV medicines whose virus is suppressed are much less likely to transmit HIV than people who have HIV and do not have a low viral load. Either way, people are sharing the HIV prevention message online to stop the spread of HIV. Don’t hesitate to engage online to learn from others.