Wrap It

Pride Month, for members of the LGBTQIA+ community in Pittsburgh, signals the unofficial start of the Summer season, with events lasting all month long.  The young, wild and free come out in full force to celebrate, and to most, nothing is going to stand in their way.

While excitement and frivolity within the community is on the rise, condom usage sadly is not.  Since the initiation of PrEP medication regimes, such as Truvada or Descovy, or bi-monthy shots like Apretude, condom usage has decreased exponentially.

During the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, the ideology around condom usage became scripture, with everyone from healthcare leaders to drag queens preaching “if you tap it, you wrap it” in order to help stop the spread of STDs and HIV.

Condoms became a security blanket for a generation of gay men, with many filled with fear and anxiety over the “what-ifs” of contracting an STD. In 2023, that notion of “what-if” has subsided to a newer, more lackadaisical feel.

The world of modern medicine changed with the introduction of PrEP in 2012 as a battle cry for help in protecting gay men from HIV. Take a pill once a day for protection and forget the rest. With that has come a new wave of ease, and fear has thus begun to dwindle (not to mention, there have been incredible advancements in treating HIV, with the understanding that an HIV diagnosis in 2023 is not a death sentence).

Among men, condom usage is down, specifically while other STDs are surging at the moment, including syphilis and chlamydia. According to a 2017 poll, nearly sixty-perfect of men say they use condoms, but not every time they have sex.

The dangerous idea of PrEP is that alone, it may ward off all sexually transmitted infections, But a 2016 study by the University of California, Los Angeles demonstrated that PrEP users were almost twenty-five times more likely to get gonorrhea and nearly forty-five times more likely to develop a syphilis infection.

Even though we do not wish to impede on anyone’s fun this Pride season, it is important to protect your health, along with your partners. Wrap it up!

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.