Image and quote via Gawker
When I'm single, I don't bareback on purpose usually. I practice safe sex often enough to consider myself "always safe," even though that's not quite true. While the overwhelming majority of times that I've had casual anal sex, I've had the wherewithal and self control to stop and put on the condom I've already made sure is within my reach, there have been times when pre-sex teasing has led to penetration. I've slipped. There are times when a few condom-free strokes don't seem like they'd hurt anyone and we were both down so… I've given in to requests of full-on bare sex to orgasm on occasion, depending how hot and convincing the invitation was and how turned on I already was. It's always the exception, though. "That's not me," I tell myself during and especially after.
It's easy enough to sweep this all under the rug if nothing comes of it. If you don't contract HIV from bareback sex, was it unsafe? What does it even matter? Just do better next time and take solace in the personal rules—somewhat informed, somewhat arbitrary—that you suspect are keeping you protected: I've never gotten fucked raw by anyone who wasn't my monogamous boyfriend—I never need to bottom so badly that I'd ever let a casual acquaintance enter me without a condom.
But what hasn't harmed you in the past, if you're one of the luckily negative like I am, could still harm you when you do it in the future. Owning up to this fact is a crucial step in choosing to take Truvada, the antiretroviral drug cocktail of tenofovir and emtricitabine that's manufactured by Gilead. For years, Truvada had been used to treat HIV, but in 2012 it was also approved as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), to protect HIV negative people from picking up the virus. A study suggests that taking Truvada everyday reduces HIV transmission risk by 99 percent.
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