The PrEP Project Reminds Us It’s OK to Laugh at Gay Sex

The PrEP Project Blooper Reel

Gay sex has been a serious, clinical subject filled with frightening data for generations. But Chris Tipton-King’s new series The PrEP Project heralds a new era in the gay sex discussion. We can start laughing at gay sex again.

The four-part YouTube series takes a blunt, real-world, irreverent approach to the use of Truvada as a once-daily HIV preventative for HIV-negative guys — that is, as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Available entirely on YouTube and on its own home site, The PrEP Project been lauded across queer media as being the first sexy — and funny — PrEP info video. At the time of this writing, the first video has nearly 50,000 views on YouTube.

Avoiding the dense medical jargon and stock photography found in so many queer magazines about PrEP and the latest antiretroviral treatment, The PrEP Project opens with a confetti-filled condom blowing up like a balloon with the narration: “Condoms” — here the condom balloon pops — ”they stink!”

Narration is delivered by Eric Paul Leue, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a national advocacy group for the adult industry, and longtime campaigner and speaker on PrEP.

“When Chris contacted me, I don’t think either of us knew where this project was going to take us,” Leue tells The Advocate. “But from our very early Facebook conversations it was clear to me that Chris really wanted to do something different.”

Leue narrates the series in his distinctly blunt, funny manner. The result? A series that discusses a confusing topic in a way that is conversational and conscious of PrEP’s vocal detractors — most notably Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The video achieved its comedy by happening completely without grant funding from Gilead, the maker of Truvada, which is the only drug approved so far for use as PrEP. Because of this, filmmaker Tipton-King was able to talk openly about why condoms stink and shift focus away from the decades-old message that you should use a condom every time.

“As far as condoms go, we’ve been trying that for 30 years,” Tipton-King says. “I think it’s time to admit that it isn’t working — or at least a toolbox that only includes condoms won’t address the needs of the community. What kind of condom messaging have we not tried yet? I hear the argument that younger gays aren’t as afraid of HIV as they used to be — and thanks to the reality of modern medicine, that’s not an irrational attitude. HIV-positive men live healthy lives on medication, and they’ve suffered enough from fear-based campaigns that demonize them, so I think it’s time to stop with the ‘scare ’em straight’ strategy. It just doesn’t feel relevant to 2017.”

Watch the Advocate exclusive debut of the PrEP Project blooper reel below!

 

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