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Christchurch PrEP Community Forum

Ending HIV presents the first Christchurch PrEP Community Forum on Tuesday June 27th, at Pegasus Arms, 14 Oxford Terrace. The event will provide an upfront and honest space to find out more about PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) – a daily pill that provides protection from HIV.

You can hear from the leader of the New Zealand PrEP Study, someone living with HIV, a PrEP user and an HIV prevention specialist. Doors open at 5.30pm, with the Panel and Q&A session running from 7 – 9pm.

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PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) is a pill taken once a day by an HIV negative person that provides protection from HIV. PrEP is likely to become more readily available in New Zealand in the near future, which is why Ending HIV is hosting forums for our community to find out more about PrEP.

PrEP is a bit more complicated than condoms. It’s a medication and so needs to be taken under the supervision of a doctor – which involves regular check-ups. It’s also a drug used to treat HIV (Truvada) so it’s really important that you get tested for HIV before starting PrEP. If not, you run the risk of acquiring a drug resistant strain of HIV.

Because PrEP is so new here, there are only a few doctors in New Zealand who are fully across the new medication. One of the leading experts will be speaking at the community forum, so it’s a really great opportunity to ask them any questions you might have about PrEP.

It’s important to be aware that PrEP only targets HIV and does not provide protection against any other STIs. There are some particularly unpleasant STIs around at the moment including syphilis and some strains of gonorrhoea that are resistant to treatment.

PrEP isn’t intended to be for everyone – or to be a replacement for condoms. Condoms still remain the tool of choice for casual hook-ups for the majority of guys who have sex with guys. Some guys who are on PrEP still use condoms for an extra layer of protection against STIs.

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PrEP is a good option for couples with mixed HIV status – particularly where the partner living with HIV is not undetectable. PrEP is also particularly recommended for people who are regularly having unprotected receptive anal sex – for whatever reason.

Recreational drug use, and that includes alcohol, has always been a part of our community. The evidence shows a strong relationship between recreational drug use and lower rates of condom use. PrEP has a really important role in keeping our community safe here.

So, if you’re in Canterbury and PrEP is something you want to learn more about, we’d love to see you at Pegasus Arms on Tuesday, June 27th. We'd really like to get an ideas of numbers beforehand, so if you're attending or thinking of attending, please let us know on the Facebook event page!

If you can’t make it to the community forum - find out more about PrEP and Ending HIV by following us on Facebook for updates.

A PrEP forum will be happening soon in Wellington - stay tuned for more details.

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