PrEP is a prevention strategy where HIV negative people take medication to prevent HIV infection. Taking PrEP is as simple as taking one oral pill a day. ComePrEPd is a community-driven HIV prevention campaign by the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health to increase awareness of PrEP. To find out more, visit the ComePrEPd website here. Below, Sean explains that living in regional Queensland doesn’t prevent him accessing PrEP to protect himself.
My name is Sean, I come from a small rural place called Bowen in the Whitsundays. Trust me, it’s a hard life growing up next to beautiful beaches.
I lived there for 19 years before moving further north to the Tropical Far North city of Cairns.
This is where I came out to my mum as gay via text message, because I was scared. Her reply was “You’re still my son”.
Coming from a small community, I didn’t have the access to any knowledge of HIV, PrEP or even the gay community.
This was definitely a massive change in my life at this point. From the best of my knowledge, it was just like hooking up with women, only difference was the hook ups were with males.
It was not until I got more sexually active and was on the hunt, I thought I had to be more streetsmart and not just think with you know what.
It was through a friend and hearing about QC promoting the awareness of PrEP. I did some research and educated myself about PrEP and how to prevent getting HIV. It did scare me a fair bit and I went into a drought from guys because I was so nervous.
After many questions – and I mean a lot – I decided it was street smart to go on PrEP.
It’s probably one of the smartest things I have done. I feel a lot more comfortable and confident to know that I can prevent HIV, and still have fun.
I had heard of the negative side effects like feeling sick or upset stomachs but to be honest I didn’t have any side effects from PrEP at all.
Any GP can now write you a prescription for PrEP, so you don’t need to go to a sexual health clinic. Let’s face it, there are not many doctors who specialise in sexual health in rural or regional Queensland.
Once you find a GP, all you need to do are some tests for HIV, STIs and kidney function. Then if you’re all good you will receive your prescription on the next visit. Too easy!
You can also order your PrEP online from legitimate online pharmacies and have PrEP delivered discretely to your door.
There’s no need to go to a local pharmacy if you don’t want to. You just need to scan or take a picture of your prescription, order and pay online, almost like an eBay order.
If I have to give any advice I would say, “You can still have fun playing safe”.
Educate yourself and do your research. You can always reach out and talk to someone.
Living in regional Queensland doesn’t stop me from accessing PrEP, and it shouldn’t make a difference to you too. There are options for all people: rural, regional or the big smoke.
To find your local PrEP prescribing doctor click here or ask your GP about PrEP.
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