The PrEP Study
Hey! My name is Emmit and I am a Toronto local. Alongside being a ProCom student at X Uni, I am also the Project Coordinator at The healthcare User Experience (HUE) Lab. The HUE Lab is a creative research space that uses human-centred principles of innovation, design, and strategic communication to make the healthcare experience better for both patients, and practitioners. My time at the HUE lab has allowed me to refine my skills developed in the ProCom program, and apply them in a professional context.
When I am not tucked away working behind my computer, you will most likely find me at Earls King Street where I work as a server. I LOVE my serving job. I have a passion for people, and after long days of Zoom calls I am always excited to hop into the fast-paced hustle of the downtown restaurant scene to meet some new people in exchange for some hard cash.
When I’m not at school or work you will probably find me at the gym, laying in my hammock in a park, listening to really good music, cuddling someone’s dog, or fast asleep.
After I finish this degree I am going to take a long vacation where my computer *will* be left at home. Following this, I plan on continuing in my position at the HUE Lab as the research space continues to rapidly grow.
I want to take a second to say a couple of thank-yous here as well. Directly prior to starting my undergrad I was in a very precarious living/financial situation. For me, presenting this research and finishing my degree is a really big deal and it feels very surreal to have made it this far. I owe it all to my support systems along the way. Thank you to OSAP for helping me pay for this education – I am very privileged to have access to such financial support, though I am a bit bitter about this debt repayment plan. Thank you to my close friends from this program (you know who you are) for ALWAYS being a shoulder to lean on. Love you all. Thank you to Jessica Mudry for being such a fantastic professor, mentor, and supervisor. You added so much value to my degree. Thank you to Robert Clapperton for guiding my research and standing by me with encouragement (even in times of doubt). Finally, thank you to my partner Dylan for encouraging me to persevere through these tumultuous years. I really don’t think I would have made it this far without you.
This research study examines the behavioural effects that Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) uptake has had on Queer individuals in Ontario.
PrEP for HIV are drugs that can be taken every day to effectively prevent HIV contraction. In recent years, PrEP accessibility has dramatically increased, with many funding options making PrEP free or low cost for those who choose to use it.
Stigma surrounding PrEP uptake exists due to the association of PrEP use with the same “socially unacceptable behaviours” that would supposedly otherwise lead to HIV contraction. Through my review of literature and online discourse, I’ve observed varying opinions about the drug. Some examples of contrasting points of view include:
- PrEP gives individuals an invitation to partake in risky sexual behaviour
- PrEP may erode prevention responsibilities (like condom use) among its users
- PrEP is important because it allows high-risk individuals to have agency over their sexual health
- Thinking that PrEP gives its users an invitation to partake in risky behaviour is rooted in homophobia and can be tied back to stigmas generated during the AIDS crisis relating to shaming queer sex
With this in mind, the goal of my research project is to understand from an objective lens whether PrEP uptake is related to any behavioural change, and if it is, whether or not that change is entirely “bad”.
Please check out my lightning talk and my website to learn about some of my findings!
prevention; Queer; sexual; health