You may have noticed on social media or at the Breeding Zone forum that I was involved in some conversations three weeks before the end of 2021 about taking my last PrEP tablet on December 31, 2021, which would have meant I would have started 2022 being “unprepped”. I won’t make you read several paragraphs to find out what happened, but in a nutshell, I did run out of PrEP (because I gave my January supply away as part of the process), but I discovered I wasn’t ready yet, so I sourced a new supply of PrEP and will continue taking it for the time being. I guess you could say that I was unprepared for taking the next step on my first attempt.
Even though I have only been thinking about bug chasing more seriously for about six months, this was my first attempt at stopping PrEP and while some may consider this attempt to be a failure, I see it as something else. It’s true that I wasn’t able to go through with stopping PrEP this time around, which would have removed the layer of protection against HIV transmission and opened me up to the possibility of becoming infected with HIV. But it’s also true that I learned a lot from this experience and I want to share some of my thoughts with you, because it helped me identify some of the areas I still need to work on.
I decided to give myself a deadline to see whether it would help me process the remaining concerns I still had in the back of my mind more quickly and part of this involved removing the temptation to return to using PrEP, which is why I gave my last remaining bottle of PrEP to a friend. In the past, I have mentioned that I believed I was 99% ready to take the next step, with only 1% hesitation remaining. What I discovered after my first attempt at stopping PrEP is that the percentage of doubt is actually higher than 1%, although I don’t know what the actual number is. Perhaps it’s 10% and maybe it’s more or perhaps slightly less, I’m not really sure.
What I can say is that when I made the decision to stop taking PrEP, as the time reached closer to the December 31 deadline, the thoughts and emotions inside my head became extremely intense and were swirling around like crazy, which was an experience I was unfamiliar with. It was like I was in fight or flight mode and I felt like I knew which decision I wanted to make, but as I was getting closer to reaching the deadline, my mind became overwhelmed with emotions and it created confusion inside my head. From what I have heard whilst discussing my this with others, this is a perfectly normal reaction and not everyone will be able to take the next step on their first attempt.
There were also a couple of other factors that resulted in this hesitation based on the timing. I had someone who was a big influence on me suggesting I was ready to take this step (based on me thinking that I was) and even though I’m sure he didn’t mean to, he created this overwhelming pressure inside me that was making me feel like I had to do this, because I didn’t want to disappoint him. The important thing to remember is that this must be a decision that is right for each of us and the timing must also be made based on our own schedule and not a timeframe set by someone else.
At the same time I was processing these thoughts, someone I have been chatting with had just taken the next step in his chase and had met up with a gifter, because he had made the decision to get converted and found someone who could infect him with the virus. After the encounter with his gifter, he became very sick and was explaining some of his symptoms to me, which left him feeling extremely unwell for quite some time. This is all I can say about this, as it’s not my story and I’m unsure whether he would even want me saying this much, but I have not identified him and this is part of what made me reach my current decision to stay on PrEP for the time being.
If you are wondering what some of the concerns are, I’m happy to share them with you. One of the first things I couldn’t get out of my head was my parents. I have other family members I am close to as well, but as my parents age, I know they are going to need me to help them at some point in the future, so I don’t want to disappoint them by being unable to help them in their hour of need, whenever that might be. My parents are getting older, but they aren’t that old and are still independent and probably will be for a long time, but this is a thought that’s in the back of my mind. Another thought is my dog, every time I look at him and think about doing this, it upsets me, because I know my dog and my other pets are dependant on me and need me to survive and take care of them.
Something else that’s a really big issue is that I’m worried that if I do become infected, then it might unnecessarily accelerate an underlying medical condition that I’m not even aware of. There is also the guilt of those who passed away from AIDS in the early days when no medication was available to help them. This decision makes me feel selfish, because I know for a fact that even though many people passed away from AIDS complications over the years, they would jump at the chance to be in my shoes right now and have a second chance at being HIV-negative if they could. In addition to this, where I work deals with unwell people, so I interact with sick people who are suffering from cancer or who have family who suffer from cancer, so it’s devastating to see some of them terminal and about to leave this life, with me standing in front of them perfectly healthy contemplating this decision.
These are only some of the thoughts I’m processing in my mind, but most of these concerns could be eliminated by doing just one thing, which would mean the issue about being unhealthy or no longer independent might not actually exist. A lot of the concerns I have in relation to the health aspects could be resolved by taking antiretroviral medication to ensure my CD4 count remains high and my viral load remains low, which would mean I could be HIV-positive and not get sick and live a regular life. But then I think to myself, is there a point to this if I just start taking medication to suppress the effects of the virus when I could just take a different pill to avoid the virus altogether.
You might be thinking that I am abandoning becoming an active bug chaser based on what you have just read, but this is not the case. I have been having these bug chasing thoughts for about 15 years, when I was about 20 and they haven’t gone away since then, the feelings have only intensified. It was in 2021 that I started thinking more seriously about these thoughts and that’s when I decided I wanted to understand myself better, which is when I started researching bug chasing and HIV more seriously. That’s why I reached the point in my life where I figured if this is a part of me, then I should embrace it and here we are.
So even though my first attempt to take a step forward didn’t eventuate in a full step towards becoming an active bug chaser, I do feel as though I have still moved forward a little bit, because this experience has given me insight into the areas where I have concerns and I know some of these concerns can be alleviated through other options, such as antiretroviral medication when the time is right. This experience also made me appreciate the fact that this needs to be done when the time feels right, so don’t ever feel pressured or influenced by anyone else, as this is a massive decision that has lifelong effects. HIV is permanent and it won’t go away, the virus will continue to live inside you for the remaining time you are alive, so this is something you always have to think about.
What also helps me with the decision-making is removing any excitement or fantasy from the equation. If you’ve got your hand on your dick watching poz porn and you are thinking about becoming an active chaser when you are in this state of mind, your mind will not be in the right place to make such a serious decision. You need to think about it when you have a clear mind from a health, financial and social perspective, by pressing the fast forward button in your head to thinking you are HIV-positive right now and what life might be like for you. Do you like how it feels or would you rather not go there yet or even at all?
Bug chasing is extremely complicated and a massive percentage of bug chasing involves thoughts and emotions, which happens before the act of bug chasing commences. It has helped me to talk with others about this and I am grateful I have been able to chat with people online about this, as it has helped clarify my thinking and if you wondering where I am at right now, I am happy to tell you. I am still interested in moving forward, but the time must be right and everything must be clear in my mind. Once I am in the right place and I have fully accepted the consequences, only then can I move forward by taking the next step.
Featured Photo: Betomiranda1 from Pixabay.
Article ID: CC024
Version Control: 1.0 – January 7, 2022: Original article published.