PrEP Is Not A Condom Substitute

A report back on Garry Kuchel’s presentation ‘Syphilis in Gay/MSM in WA - Epidemiology & Emerging Trends’ 

Garry was a friendly, passionate and entertaining presenter who set out to stir the pot and drive home the worrying message that men who have sex with men (MSM) may not be taking STIs seriously anymore. He emphasised the alarming trend of an increase in condomless anal sex, as well as a blasé attitude amongst some members of the MSM community towards STIs, which are now being widely considered “easily treated” and therefore nothing to worry about.

As a result, syphilis is on the rise in the metro area, with MSM making up 66% of all notifications. The situation is likely worsened by the widespread use of misinformation and skewed data on posters and other media promoting the use of PrEP. This is certainly an issue to address, as precautionary measures to prevent STIs are clearly a more sensible approach than the recently popular habit of frequent STI testing and subsequent recurrent treatments.


Author bio: 
Christopher Marr is a clinical pharmacist with a Bachelor of Pharmacy from Curtin University, a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Pharmacy from the University of Tasmania, and a background in both hospital and community pharmacy in Perth. Currently he works closely with General Practitioners in a non-dispensing role at View Street Medical as a consultant pharmacist. The practice specialises in sexual health and delivers an optimised and collaborative healthcare service to our patients through our dedicated multidisciplinary team.