It feels like slut-shaming
Ben van Heerden via email I’m writing in response to an article published on Sunday, March 5 2017, headlined Playing with Fire.
The article is about “reckless sexual behaviour among gay teens and men who are increasingly ditching their condoms, believing their preventive HIV medication will protect them”. There are several issues with the article: 1. There are not enough people on preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to draw the conclusion that its use encourages promiscuity. The evidence presented is anecdotal.
2. Even assuming PrEP use does encourage promiscuity, it’s illogical to argue that its use increases the risk exposure of users. By its very design, PrEP reduces the risk of HIV. Of course, there are other ways of reducing risk, like abstaining altogether.
But seriously, this is like arguing that the use of seat belts in cars encourages more driving, thereby increasing risk exposure.
Seat belts, like PrEP, are designed to reduce risk, not increase it. Sure, you can elect to walk (or masturbate), but what about people who want to drive/have sex?
Since there is no logic in this argument, I think it’s coming from a position of moral superiority, as if there is something inherently immoral about promiscuous sex.
It’s sex between two consenting adults, who are taking active steps to reduce their risk exposure. There’s absolutely nothing immoral about this.
3. Lastly, PrEP users are taking active steps to manage their sex lives and their risk exposure. The easy/stupid thing to do would be to simply have unprotected sex without PrEP. It’s cruel to judge people who are taking active control in this way. It feels a lot like slut-shaming.