The science is overwhelmingly clear; PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) works. But at this time, PrEP has only been approved by a handful of governments and France is the only country in Europe where PrEP has been approved. Meanwhile, new HIV infections among gay men in the European Union and European Economic Area (EU/EAA) increased 44 percent between 2004 and 2015.
Regardless of it’s approval, gay men are desiring, finding and using PrEP on their own, but their governments should be helping them; it has become a critical human rights issue.
The gay men’s social app Hornet, in collaboration with ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control), conducted a survey of nearly 10,000 gay men in Europe and found that 30 percent of respondents are likely to use PrEP in the next six months. Additionally 11 percent of those surveyed are currently taking PrEP.
To find and take PrEP in countries where it has yet to be approved requires a level of resourcefulness that not everyone possesses. In fact, the most vulnerable populations that could most benefit most from PrEP often lack the resources to acquire it by unconventional means.
Another key finding is that gay dating apps play a role in providing gay men with useful information about PrEP, HIV/AIDS and sexual health. Thirty percent of those surveyed gained information about PrEP from Hornet’s Know Your Status (KYS) feature, underscoring the tremendous potential of dating apps to provide gay men with critical information about health and wellness.
PrEP advocates have reacted with praise of the survey results. Renowned PrEP researcher Dr. Robert Grant called the survey, “historic.” The information gathered will provide advocates with a key resource as they fight for the approval of PrEP across Europe.
As the whole world watches and waits for PrEP’s approval in Europe, gay men have been left to their own devices to find creative ways to access this important prevention medication. Some have found success while many more have simply been abandoned by their health care systems. Healthcare is a long established human right and denying gay men access to lifesaving medication due to politics and economics violates the basic principles of social justice.
See more results from the survey below:
(featured image via Jasn)