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Should you tell your first date you are taking PrEP?

Should you tell your first date you are taking PrEP?

How do you 'PrEP' for a first date? A new short film explores what you need to think about | Photo: Prepster

How prepared should you be for a first date?

Should you go expecting to get lucky? Will they think you’re pushy if you take condoms?

And here’s the big question: are flowers on a first date romantic or cheesy?

These are some of the questions the new film ‘Date PrEP’ explores. Made by PrEP activist group PrEPster the new video is launhing on Valentine’s day.

Written and produced by filmmaker Ashley Panton a new short film explores these necessary discussions before going on a date in the new era of PrEP and U=U.

Set in South London, Date PrEP follows Antonia and Andre as they each get a haircut in preparation for their date.

Conversations about PrEP are happening more often

Whilst many gay men already know about PrEP, and the way it can be taken, that same discussion about PrEP is now being kick-started in other communities that can benefit from PrEP.

Marc Thompson, who co-founded PrEPster, reminds us that it’s young black Brits who are disproportionately impacted by HIV and poor sexual health.

‘We need to bring information about HIV, sexual health and PrEP right into the hearts of our communities. Having those conversations about sex, love, dating, and health,’ he says.

Dating and hook-up apps have made it easier to be clear in advance about what we’re looking for. They also open up conversations about what types of protection we might prefer to use. Whether it’s condoms, PrEP, U=U, or a mix of them all.

But what about more old-fashioned types of dating, when we haven’t got that information in advance?

When should you tell the person your dating you use PrEP?

With tens of thousands of people across the UK now using PrEP, bringing up your PrEP use with a date might go one of two ways.

Your date either thinks you’re a slag and I’m not knocking that!

Or they might think you’re looking your after health, and that’s an attractive trait. They might even think both – bonus!

Phil Samba, a young black African gay PrEP user, who volunteers with PrEPster.

‘As more and more people use PrEP, its use is becoming more and more normalized. It’s no longer something only a small amount of people use. Attitudes towards PrEP use are shifting, in the right direction!’

We need to get PrEP to more people

Both Thompson and Samba think that more works needs to be done among black gay and bisexual men to help make PrEP more accessible.

‘Through PrEPster’s own work, we’re seeing PrEP uptake being lower in men of colour, and men who weren’t born in the UK. We need to see better focus and investment in making PrEP available to everyone who needs it, including beyond the IMPACT Trial.’

Meanwhile, Josina Calliste, who heads up PrEPster’s work with women, applauds the focus of Date PrEP on women who are heading out for a date. “For too long, the discussions around PrEP have focused just on gay men. Date PrEP brings the needs and discussions about PrEP for women, as they prepare for a date, right to the forefront”.

So, how do we discuss and negotiate PrEP use in this new prevention era? Find out by watching Date PrEP. Oh, and flowers? Definitely romantic.

Ashley Panton’s short film, produced for PrEPster, can be watched at www.prepster.info/dateprep

See also:

UK government announces plan for zero HIV transmissions by 2030

10% of HIV cases in gay/bi men linked to gonorrhea and chlamydia infection

Extra Virgin: An emotional deep dive into trauma and gay online hookups