Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has so far emerged as a reluctant object in much gay community discourse, primarily because of its association with the supposed excesses of unbridled sex. Its approval in the United States sparked bitter debate and a new round of sexual health moralism issuing mainly from gay community-based commentators, with initial uptake much slower than expected. This article considers early gay community responses to PrEP and connects them to the failure of existing HIV scientific practices to produce inhabitable sexual pedagogies. The controversy surrounding PrEP speaks to how condoms have been a way to manage communal fears about sexual excess in the era of AIDS, providing not only a latex barrier but also symbolic reassurance that gay sex might in some way be made “safe.” Another mode of attending to what is risky and exciting about sexual and scientific encounters might be possible in conceiving them as events.
Kane Race; Reluctant Objects: Sexual Pleasure as a Problem for HIV Biomedical Prevention. GLQ 1 January 2016; 22 (1): 1–31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-3315217
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