The Importance of using PrEP alongside condoms
Who’s not using condoms?
Condoms, if used correctly, are known to be close to 100% effective when it comes to HIV and STI prevention. However, many sexually active individuals in the UK do not use condoms as regularly as they should, which puts them at high risk of acquiring HIV amongst a variety of other sexually transmitted diseases.
Polls and studies have shown that there is an alarmingly large number of‘at risk’ individuals who do not use condoms during their first sexual encounter with a new partner. Reports also indicate that many sexually active individuals aged 18-35 are having unprotected sex with more than two people per year. Government statistics also indicate that there is a significant decline in condom use amongst individuals aged 35-64.
The result of this widespread disuse of condoms amongst different age groups is an uncharacteristically high prevalence rate of HIV and STIs observed throughout the UK. For instance, the highest rate of new HIV infections can be found amongst people aged between 24-49.
Why no condom?
Why are people choosing to have unprotected sex at such a high rate? The most common reasons given for not using a condom every time include:
- Getting caught up in the moment without having the condoms at hand
- Having sex with a partner who absolutely refuses to use condoms
- Being drunk or high on a substance that clouds judgement
- Assuming that a sexual partner is HIV negative
- Difficulty in maintaining an erection when condoms are used
The reasons vary from one person to the next, but the consequences of not using condoms during every single sexual encounter are the same. The individual is putting themselves under immense risk of acquiring HIV by not using a condom every time.
A safer way
The solution would be to ensure that condoms are used every time, but the reasons listed above point to why this might prove difficult to many people each time they engage in sexual intercourse.
This is where other HIV prevention methods such as PrEP come into play. When you buy PrEP in the UK and use it as regularly as possible, alongside regular condom use, you are minimising your chances of getting HIV to almost zero.
Both prevention methods can act as a backup plan for one another to guarantee that there is absolutely no way that you will get infected by HIV. They are considered backup plans for one another because using PrEP alone without condoms will protect you from HIV but will not protect you from STIs such as gonorrhoea and Chlamydia or unwanted pregnancies.
On the other hand, as seen from the reasons listed above, relying on condoms alone to protect you from HIV is not a fail proof plan because there are several circumstances you might come across where you will be reluctant to use them. To be on the safe side, buy PrEP and use it regularly so that it can protect you even during those sexual encounters when you regrettably do not use condoms.
Hence, PrEP and condom use need to go together in order to guarantee optimum sexual health.