From training wheels to chemical condoms: exploring the narratives of PrEP discontinuation

Jaime Garcia Iglesias

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This paper explores experiences of PrEP, a HIV-prevention intervention, among bugchasers, gay men who eroticize HIV. While PrEP has been hailed as a “game changer” in HIV-prevention, little attention has been paid to why and how some people may discontinue it in the face of HIV risk, such as bugchasers do. This paper relies on interview data with bugchasers themselves to discuss the process of discontinuation and its effects. The paper argues that, for these men, discontinuation is a fluid, complex, and sometimes contradictory process. It also describes how participants perceived themselves as being at different stages of discontinuation. The paper also analyzes how these men see PrEP as a barrier to intimacy, risk, and a tool to negotiate their desires and identity: through discontinuing PrEP, these men are able to reflect on and build their identities as bugchasers.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Journal Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine
Early online date24 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Mar 2021


  • HIV
  • PrEP
  • adherence
  • discontinuation
  • sexual health


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