Ask Central Outreach: Should I stay on PrEP in a relationship?

Dear Central,

So, my boyfriend and I got together before the pandemic and we have been together ever since. I think this might last forever, and I wondered if I should stay on PrEP that I have been on since before meeting him and since we’ve been committed, or can I stop taking it?

Dear X, 

I think it goes without saying that you are being proactive and wanting to take care of your own personal health, which is a major stance to take in your life.  When entering into a relationship, you want to make sure that the boundaries you are setting for each other are realistic.  

According to the CDC as of 2020, if taken daily/regularly PrEP has 99 percent effectiveness in aiding and preventing the spread of HIV.  Now each couple is different and we are by no means a therapist or life coach, but it will essentially be up to you and your partner on whether or not you’d like to continue on with the medication.

Yes, if you are in a committed relationship and the need for PrEP falls flat, then there shouldn’t be a reason to take it.  However, if you and your partner are in a more open relationship, which is quite common, then you should absolutely continue taking the medication for your own personal health. 

Let’s face it though, people will cheat on you. According to a 2017 survey by the Institute for Family Studies, 20% of men and 13% of women reported they have had sex with someone other than their spouse while married. The Health Equality and Rights Organization in Britain interviewed 961 gay men in 2018 and found that 52% of them had cheated on their partner. It is completely within human nature to betray and to make mistakes, or be non-monogamous, so all the emotional risk you are taking is not worth compromising your sexual health if you can stay on PrEP.

After all, you are in control of your own body and situations.

A transplant from NYC, Aaron always had a passion for helping and supporting the community in any way that he can.  Aaron hopes to bring to Central Outreach a sense of fun and laughter, but also compassion and empathy for all that are in need.