This week, Attitude’s Editor in Chief Matt Cain shared his personal experience of going on PrEP.

The drug, which is currently only available on the NHS in Scotland, remains controversial among gay men. Whenever we publish a story about PrEP on the Attitude website, we are guaranteed to receive comments along the lines of ‘People taking PrEP give gay men a bad reputation’ and ‘Why can’t they just shut up and wear condoms?’

After sharing Matt’s piece this week – which is available in our July Issue now – our social media pages were flooded with slut-shaming remarks about the drug and its use, and frankly it has to stop.

This need some self-righteous gay men have to be shining beacons of hetronomativity, all while proclaiming that those who fit the false stereotype that all gay men sleep around are the reason why the straight community think we’re unable to have monogamous relationships, is beyond saddening.

As a community, we have spent decades fighting for the right to be seen as equals, and yet there’s a growing sense of hierarchy among gay men, which sees those adhering to heterosexual norms at the top, and those choosing to engage in casual sex at the bottom.

This culture of chastising those who refuse to abide by these heteronormative rules has bled into daily gay culture. How many times have you had to request a picture of someone’s face on Grindr because they refuse to show their face for fear of being labelled a whore? How often have you found yourself being shamed for the number of people you’ve slept with? This has to stop. Having a healthy relationship with sex is nothing to be ashamed of.

PrEP is a major step forward in preventing the meteroric rise of HIV infections in the gay community, and it’s already having an astoundingly positive impact. In 2016, there were 32% less new HIV infections in London than the previous year, and campaigners have at least partially credited that to the drug. So this idea that some of our community is choosing to shame other gay men for protecting themselves is utterly ridiculous.

For so long, the straight community has tried to persuade us that our sexual urges, which are completely natural, are twisted perversions that are the barrier stopping us from enjoying regular, traditional lives just like theirs. Sadly, the battle for same-sex marriage – while a truly wonderful thing – has only amplified this.

Now a traditional lifestyle is available to us, it’s only reinforced the idea that those who aren’t looking for that are somehow damaging both themselves, and the overall image of our entire community.

With a recent study finding that over 60 percent of gay men have neglected to use a condom during a casual hookup, is this not evidence that shaming people about sex is doing more harm than good? Wouldn’t an educational attitude toward PrEP, and a celebratory stance toward safe sex be better?