I read a few of the gay blogs and gay news sites on the internet on a fairly regular basis and about a year ago now - maybe 15 months - I started to read a lot of articles about PrEP. Not sure if I just started to notice them more or if there were more being published, but I took note. After doing more reading (more clinical data research than anything) I started to think about PrEP in a very positive (pardon the pun) way and decided to talk to my doctor about it. At the time, I was also engaging in rather risky behavior - albeit only with one person, but we were not practicing safer sex and I was never really sure I trusted his sexual activities to be safe with anyone else. So, because of my situation I realized that I needed to consider PrEP as an option and really as an additional protection. It has never been my intention to engage in bareback sex exclusively. I use condoms and PrEP the majority of the time.
Anyway, I went to my doctor and asked him about PrEP. At the time, I was seeing a gay doctor in Seattle who specialized in HIV care / prevention and we talked actually over about two appointments about whether it was the best option for me and how and why I intended to use it. After several talks with him, we both decided that it wouldn't hurt; side effects seem low and as long as my body (kidneys) remained functional it seemed like the right option at the time. So, I started on it.
I guess being on PrEP has made me looser about condoms, something I'm not proud to admit, but it's true. I do worry about STIs so I prefer sex with condoms, but I am not consistent. SO that's definitely a change. It has, however, raised my confidence that I can remain HIV negative despite that behavior. The data I read on PrEP indicates that the chances of seroconversion are very low for a regular user.
I've not received any shaming, but I do feel shame about it sometimes. Specifically when I go to the pharmacy for refills. I feel like I'm being judged, though I suspect that's all in my brain (so, self-shaming?)
I have been rejected by two people because of it. Because, I think, they don't understand it. When I told both of them I was on it, they both seemed to believe that it meant that I had HIV or had been exposed to HIV and that was why I was on it. They didn't seem to understand the PRE-exposure part of it. I tried to explain to the first guy (I was horny) but just gave up with the second. It amazes me that in this day and age, living where I live that there are gay men who don't know what it is. Those guys who know what PrEP is seem surprised when I tell them that I'm on PrEP and still use condoms. I'd say that the majority of the men I have met only use PrEP and don't use condoms, like it is a license to bareback.