Wednesday, September 17, 2014

You Know What I Did Last Summer

It has been quite a summer! For those who don't know, I have been working/volunteering in HIV Prevention for most of the past 23 years.  But not until this summer have I seen such global interest in this subject, with the focus on a prevention strategy called "PrEP" (pre-exposure prophylaxis).   This is a daily medication that has been shown to prevent HIV by up to 99% if used consistently.  Yet many oppose this option, and most still don't know about it.  I've had the opportunity to take part in some very interesting, and often heated, forums about this method:

So what does this have to do with relationships? Quite a bit.  It is now understood that most new HIV infections in the U.S. occur in the context of a "main" relationship with a presumed HIV negative partner, who is usually unaware of their own HIV status.  One of the primary themes in my book "Rational Relating" is examining how shame prevents honesty and integrity in relationships.  When people are too ashamed to communicate openly about their sexual activities with different partners, that is when HIV and other STI's are more likely to be transmitted. But when people learn to relate to their own desires with compassion and responsibility, it allows for partners to create sexual negotiations and compromises that can serve their relationship, and reduce adverse consequences.

My therapy work focuses on helping individuals and couples create and maintain the relationship "structure" that works best for them.  For some, that includes arrangements for sexual and emotional expression with multiple partners.  For others, it means focusing on exclusivity.  For all, it involves reducing the shame and fear that restrains honesty and integrity in relationships, so they can experience enhanced joy, intimacy, and pleasure with others.  

For more information about PrEP, feel free to check out What Is PrEP? and/or my FaceBook Group, "PrEP Facts: Rethinking HIV Prevention and Sex." 

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in New York who has helped hundreds of couples and individuals create joyful, peaceful, and pleasurable relationships. He is the author of the books, “Rational Relating” and “Absolutely Should-less.” His trainings have helped thousands to learn practical skills for living an empowered and fulfilling life. To speak with Damon about counseling, speaking engagements, or media appearances - please contact him at, call 347-227-7707, or visit