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HIV prevention: new podcast brings stories from the PrEP generation

Tuesday, May 28, 2024
  • The Love Tank and Queer AF launch The Other Blue Pill podcast, with support from National AIDS Trust
  • Tales from the historic battle to make PrEP pill free on the NHS
  • Six part series speaks to experts, activists, and those directly affected, out every Wednesday during Pride Month
  • Podcast launches 29 May and available for review or feature

A new podcast will tell the story of the “other blue pill” – Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, more commonly known as PrEP – that revolutionised how people have sex.

The Other Blue Pill tells the phenomenal, and largely unknown, story of how a community campaigned and fought to gain access to the life-saving HIV prevention drug in the UK across six fascinating and inspiring episodes.

The podcast starts with the history of early queer activism and the first HIV treatments, like AZT. The listener is then taken through the years to the arrival of PrEP as a treatment in the early 2010s, and what that meant for the community. Later episodes detail the long fight – through the courts and beyond - for fair and free access to PrEP in the UK. In each episode, we hear not only from the key experts and activists of each era, but also from the people who were, and continue to be, most affected by the still-unequal provision of PrEP.

People such as Alex Craddock, who tells of his experience moving from New York to London in the podcast and how that inspired him to get involved in HIV activism at a time PrEP was available there but not here:

“I Want PrEP Now came to be because it came out of a lot of very angry conversations from people within the community. And basically, I had just moved back to London at this time and I was fresh off the plane from New York. And so I just had it where PrEP was now not available to me.”

Phil Samba, who co-created the podcast from The Love Tank, narrates.

He says: “What I found interesting about making this podcast was seeing how we haven’t learned from our past. History is repeating itself. In the fight to get PrEP on the NHS the HIV and sexual health sector said it was reminiscent of fighting for HIV medication in the 90s. We have all the tools to better our sexual health but we’re not using them, we’re seeing this happen right now with DoxyPEP and before that with how MPOX was handled. To know where we can go in the future and to avoid repeating the same mistakes we must learn from our past.”

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of National AIDS Trust, features in the podcast.

She adds: "The story of PrEP - past, present and future, is a fascinating one. A transformative medication that has changed the face of HIV prevention, getting access involved activism, legal action and more. Even now, access is so limited that many who need PrEP can't get it, and its benefits are often not felt by those who need it most. This amazing podcast shares the inside story, and lays out the challenges ahead if PrEP is to make the impact it is capable of."

The Other Blue Pill episodes 1-6 will be available from 29 May. Watch the trailer here.