Source: CDC.gov
Source: CDC.gov

A Valentine’s Day event at the Saloon will spotlight Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as an HIV prevention tool. Hosted by organizations from the leather and kink communities, the educational talk and discussion aims to dispel stigmas about anti-HIV drugs as a prevention tool and help people learn about the facts, risks, and benefits of PrEP.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, PrEP is “a way for people who do not have HIV but who are at substantial risk of getting it to prevent HIV infection by taking a pill every day. The pill (brand name Truvada) contains two medicines (tenofovir and emtricitabine) that are used in combination with other medicines to treat HIV. When someone is exposed to HIV through sex or injection drug use, these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection.”

The event is a collaboration between the Twin Cities Boys of Leather and Kink U-Titans of the Midwest. It’s one of a series of events for Twin Cities Leather Weekend.

Joshua Conrade is serving as moderator for the PrEP discussion.

“The event came about because of a collaborative effort between Twin Cities boys of Leather and Kink U-Titans of the Midwest to produce a monthly discussion group on a variety of topics for people to come together and provide mentorship, education, guidance and exchange of views and experiences to better learn from each other, but to also come together more as a community,” he told The Column.

“ The topic of PrEP came about after inspiration from seeing what Eric Paul Leue, Mr LA Leather 2014 and Director of Outreach and Advocacy was doing throughout the world with various events and panel discussions and articles,” said Conrade. “After that I started hearing more and more people going on it and more and more comments being said about it. It was then we felt that it would be good for people to have an outlet to comfortably talk about the subject, especially since it pertained to sexual health.”

He added, “We thought we could provide an environment for this which people may be more willing to bring up questions or discussion points that they may not otherwise say at a clinic.”

Though the event is hosted by groups in the leather and kink communities, and occurs during Leather Weekend, anyone who is interested in attending is welcome, Conrade noted.

“Anyone can definitely attend,” he said. “We welcome anyone to any of the Twin Cities boys of Leather and Kink U-Titans of the Midwest Discussion Series.groups we have. As long as they are open, accepting, and respectful of others we definitely welcome anyone regardless of personal knowledge or experience, identity, sexual identity, sexual orientation, etc.”

The event will have plenty of experts on hand from the HIM Program with Red Door Services, the Positive Care Clinic at Hennepin County Medical Center, Fairview, Youth and AIDS Projects, and representatives from the leather and kink communities, as well as a sex and relationship therapist.

“I think regardless of your experience or knowledge of PrEP everyone will walk away with something,” says Conrade.

[sws_blue_box box_size=”100″] Details
Title: Let’s Talk About PrEP
Date: Saturday, February 14 at 1pm
Location: The Saloon, 830 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Admission: Free
For more information, visit Facebook [/sws_blue_box]

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Andy Birkey

Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.

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