Ready for Vacation? New Study Puts the “PrEP” in “Travel Preparation”

It’s officially vacation season, and many people are off to seaside getaways and exciting new destinations. A vacation from work, however, shouldn’t mean a vacation from making smart decisions about your sexual health. According to a 2013 study of men who have sex with men (MSM), 25.6 % reported condomless anal sex with new male sex partners while vacationing, and 1 in 5 reported going on vacation with a main goal of finding new sexual partners.

From Provincetown to Fire Island, from gay cruises to circuit parties, LGBT safe spaces have always been spaces for freedom and sexual expression. Taking steps to ensure the sexual health of you and your partners helps keep these spaces safe for everyone. If you identify as a gay, bisexual, or queer man planning a vacation where sex with new partners may occur, please consider joining The Vacation Study. This innovative study of The Fenway Institute will examine shorter-term use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a daily pill and proven tool in preventing the spread of HIV.

Since PrEP entered the medical landscape in 2012, it has become a mainstay of HIV prevention, said Steven Elsesser, medical school student and intern at The Fenway Institute who is working with the biomedical team on The Vacation Study.

“This phase 4 trial is addressing the feasibility and acceptability of using PrEP, also known as Truvada, as it has previously shown to be effective – that is, as a daily pill – but adapted for shorter periods of risk,” he explained. “This open label study is exploring if PrEP can be successfully adapted to be compatible with how MSM vacation and reduce what appears to be a high level of risk many MSM have while away from home.”

By joining The Vacation Study, you may receive PrEP for the duration of your upcoming vacation, plus an additional two weeks. You may be eligible to participate in this study if you are an HIV-negative gay or bisexual male age 18 or older, are planning to take a vacation in the next few months, and have had unprotected anal sex in the last year.

Participants are compensated up to $100 over the course of the study.

For more information and to see if you are eligible please call 617.927.6384 or email vacation@fenwayhealth.org.

Want to receive email updates about what’s happening at Fenway Health? Sign up here.

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