How to Talk About PrEP With Partners

Brad Tiller

Taking PrEP is a great way to prevent HIV transmission through sex. When taken daily, PrEP is 99% effective at preventing HIV transmission. And getting PrEP in Canada is now easier than ever, thanks to provincial health programs and services like Freddie. Despite all the upsides, not everyone is aware of what PrEP is and why people take it. This article covers why taking PrEP is important, and how to talk about it in the relationships in your life!

Talking about PrEP while dating

Letting partners know that you’re on PrEP can provide them with peace of mind, as it means you’re protected against HIV and regularly getting tested for STIs.

Many dating and hookup apps, such as Grindr, allow you to include information on your profile such as your HIV status and last tested date. Some apps will allow you to select “Negative, on PrEP” as your visible HIV status, so you can easily let potential partners know you’re being proactive about preventing HIV — great for you and for them.

One of the pros of being on PrEP is that you don’t have to worry about someone else’s HIV status. Even if you meet someone who has detectable HIV, you can connect with them – PrEP will keep you protected.

Don’t forget that while PrEP protects you from HIV, it doesn’t prevent other STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. The best way to prevent STIs is to use condoms in tandem with taking PrEP.

Remember, your health and safety should always come first. If you don’t know a new partner’s STI status, make sure to ask before you have sex. While conversations about STIs and sexual health with new partners can often feel awkward or scary, it’s important to have all the information you need to make informed decisions about your sex life. Plus, it signals to partners that you take sexual health seriously.

Here are some common questions you might be asked when you let people know you’re on PrEP, and how you can respond:

  • Q: “What is PrEP?”
    A: “It’s a pill I take once a day to prevent HIV.”
  • Q: “Why do you take PrEP?”
    A: “Since I take PrEP, I don’t have to stress about getting HIV!”
  • Q: “Should I take PrEP, too?”
    A: “If you want another way to prevent HIV, then yes!”
  • Q: “How do you get PrEP?”
    A: “There are online services like Freddie that let you get PrEP delivered discreetly at home — often for free! You can also talk to your doctor or a sexual health clinic about starting PrEP, too.”
  • Q: “Since you’re on PrEP, we don’t have to use condoms… right?”
    A: “PrEP only prevents HIV, so if we want to prevent STIs using condoms is a good idea!”

Learn more: Grindr 101: 11 Tips for Staying Safe on Grindr

Talking to your HIV+ partner about PrEP

One common question we hear is: “Should I take PrEP if my partner is HIV+?”

To be clear, if your partner is HIV+ but is on effective treatment and has an undetectable viral load, you don’t need to take PrEP to prevent HIV transmission from them. That’s because people who are HIV+ but have an undetectable viral load cannot transmit HIV to others.

However, if you have an HIV+ partner that does have a detectable viral load, PrEP may be a good option for you.

If you have — or are considering having — other partners outside that relationship, be sure to talk to your partner about what safer sex practices work best for you.

Learn more: HIV 101: What To Know About Having an HIV+ Partner

The power of PrEP knowledge

While PrEP has become much more popular and accessible in recent years, many people still lack information about what PrEP is, how effective it is at preventing HIV, and how to get it. Many patients who get PrEP from Freddie first hear about Freddie or PrEP itself from a friend or partner. While you should always be as discreet as you want to be, if you feel comfortable talking to others about PrEP, it can make a huge difference!

Know someone that wants to start PrEP, or is looking for more info? Share our PrEP Explained page with them to help them make more informed decisions about their sexual health.