By Guest Blogger: Munir Nadim
“How big is your dick?”, David asks.
I stare at my phone screen for a few seconds. “Average”, I type, knowing that he wants me to be more specific.
“Do you have some pictures?”
“Umm… let me check.” I scramble through the photos saved in my phone. Why can’t we find something when we need it the most? There, there is a side shot of me in all my glory. I carefully crop off two third of my face and send it to him.
“Nice”, he replies quite immediately along with some more of his photos. “Do you bareback?”
I am intrigued and alarmed at the same time. “Not really.”
“Just so you know, I am on PrEP.”
This is not the first time that I heard about PrEP. Apparently one can take this pill and be just as protected against HIV as one would, using condoms. Still apprehensive, I say, “You will have to excuse me because of my ignorance. I don’t know much about PrEP and now I am suddenly not interested.”
I close the chat window.
PrEP and it’s application has been on my mind since David and I chatted. During a party I ask my friend about it. He introduces me to a website called thesexyouwant.ca while we discuss my conversation with David. The Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance of Ontario just redeveloped this site in January. They want it to be a more of a dynamic and interactive experience for people like me. I pull up the website and am pleasantly surprised. Vibrant colors and beautifully drawn sketches with splashes of watercolor in the background catches my attention immediately. Only one menu bar and one search field on the top right hand corner makes it very simple to navigate.
Browsing through the site I come to a page titled ‘PrEP’. It reads, “PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) is a daily pill that can stop HIV from establishing itself in the body. It’s really exciting because it’s another way for HIV-negative guys to prevent HIV while having the sex they want.” But how? I keep on browsing for more information. Right above there is short animated video explaining the basics of PrEP. Scrolling down I find,
* how the pill works;
* the reasons why one should be on PrEP;
* how to get them, etc.
I browse through the site quite a bit with ease. Its colorful graphics are definitely treats for my eyes. The neat drawings retain my attention. There are plenty of information available about condoms, viral loads, PEP, testing, treatments, STIs, etc. It is all the information I seek and much more, packed in one neat candy-like website.
‘So can poz guys and negative guys fuck without a condom?’
The answer is yes, if there is consent, disclosure and proper health care in place. It is all our responsibility to negotiate our preferences and seek out information. An exuberant site like thesexyouwant.ca fulfills the necessity of a reliable source. I pull out my phone and open the dating app.
“Hey David, how is it going buddy?”, I type, feeling more equipped to have a discussion.