What meaning do gay men on PrEP make of their sexuality: a phenomenological investigation

Ebbini, Rami Phoebus (2020) What meaning do gay men on PrEP make of their sexuality: a phenomenological investigation. DProf thesis, Middlesex University / New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC). [Thesis]

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This study aims to explore what meaning gay men on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) make of their sexuality. PrEP is a medication that was approved in 2012 by the US Federal Drugs Agency (FDA) as an effective means of prophylaxis against contracting HIV.

Eight gay men in London who have been on PrEP for at least 6 months, and who do not participate regularly in chemsex were interviewed, and the data was analysed using a hybrid method, relying mainly on Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA), in addition to a heuristic first step. The results revealed how the participants made sense of their sexualities through lenses of being and doing something sexual, often through the identity and acts of sexual roles. Speaking about their sexualities and PrEP showed to be important to the participants, not only as a means of communication, but also as a manifestation of their sexualities. Despite the notion that PrEP neutralises the threat of contracting HIV, the fear of HIV was still prevalent amongst the participants, and casual sex was still perceived to be potentially dangerous. Finally, the results reveal how these participants constructed and valued ideas and fantasies of ‘good’ and ‘natural’ sex, which PrEP seems to help them uphold.

This study can contribute towards a deeper understanding of gay sexuality, particularly given the context of rapid changes in technology in the fight against HIV. The clinical significance of this research, especially for existential therapists, lies in the importance the participants placed on speaking about their sexualities, the insights gained from how these participants navigate their sexual lives, and the challenges and dilemmas they face regarding the choices they make and the risks they are willing or not willing to take as part of their sexuality.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling (NSPC)
Item ID: 35860
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2022 15:33
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:11
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/35860

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