5 Ways To PrEP Yourself For Winter Pride
Queenstown's favourite festival, Winter Pride, is almost here! If you're going to the sexiest winter party in the Southern Hemisphere, we've got some tips to keep you safe in the snow... or the hot tub... or the underwear party.
If you're anticipating a sexcapade this Winter Pride, then there's one thing you might want to add to the checklist of things to take: PrEP.
Here are five things to know about PrEP before heading down south:
1) Take it daily
You need to take PrEP every day for it to be fully effective - but if you're partying for 9 days straight, it can become hard to remember to take it on time. A good way to get around this is keep a few pills in a ziplock bag in your wallet, and set a daily alarm to remind you that it's time to take one. That way, if you end up in someone else's hotel for 48 hours, you won't miss any doses.
2) PrEPare for the unexpected!
Picture this: you're waiting in line for the chair lift, but it's a long queue so they pair you up with a stranger. You sit down together and as the chair rises from the ground, he takes off his ski goggles. You're shocked to find yourself sitting next to Nick Jonas. He's not wearing his engagement ring, his thigh is much closer to yours than it needs to be, and your butthole is starting to quiver.
You'd packed a condom in your jacket for this exact scenario, but unfortunately, you've just used it on a chair lift operator. Nick casually asks if you've heard about PrEP and you thank God that you read this blog post and immediately booked an appointment with your GP.
You get off the chair lift, disappear into a cluster of pine trees together and he fucks you so hard you can't ski for the rest of the week.
3) Get started well before you mount(ain)
PrEP is a highly effective HIV prevention method, but it takes time to build up in your system. If you're bottoming, PrEP takes 7 days to build up enough protection against HIV - and if you're topping, it takes 20 days. This means if you're a top or versatile, you'll need to start taking PrEP 20 days before you get to Winter Pride (around August 12th), or make sure you have a good supply of condoms on hand. When you go to your doctor for your PrEP prescription, they can also give you a script for up to 144 condoms, which will only cost $5 to fill (the same cost as three months' worth of PrEP, if you're eligible for subsidised medicines in NZ).
4) Give your body time to adjust
Like any medication, PrEP can come with certain side effects. These can be different for everyone, but some common ones are nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea and low energy. For most people, these subside after a couple of weeks, so it's a good idea to start taking PrEP well before you get to Queenstown, so your body has time to adjust. You don't want a sudden wave of nausea when you're about to turn up the heat with someone, right?
5) PrEP is only effective against HIV, not other STIs
You can still contract syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and many other STIs while you're on PrEP. Guess what? Our trusty friend the condom is still the most effective tool to protect you against a range of STIs, including HIV. Talk to your doctor about getting them on prescription - or keep an eye out for the Ending HIV team at Winter Pride. We'll have plenty for you to load your pockets with - as well as free HIV testing over the entire festival!
Want to know if PrEP is right for you, or where to get it? Go to our PrEP page to find out more. Happy "skiing"!