New Mr. Fetish Finland advocates better sexual health in Finland and pushed PrEP here and helped to find ways to access to it. In a pic: Mr. Fetish Finland 2019 – Tom (left) and Mr. Fetish Finland 2018 – Petri (right).
Mr. Fetish Finland 2019 competition was held in a Hercules night club at Helsinki on Friday 15th of February. It was a part of WINTERIZATION 4 Fetish Weekend, organized by MSC Finland. There were 3 contestants for the new Mr Fetish Finland. One of the candidates was Tom, leather, uniform and sports gear fetishist guy originally from New Zealand. Since moving to Finland 6 years ago he’s helped kickstart bringing PrEP to Finland, ranted until ball-gagged about the need for better sexual health services. Tom was chosen as the winner of the competition by audience voting and an international judging panel.
Tom has been advocating of better sexual health in Finland and pushed PrEP here and helped to find ways to access to it. There are three things about PrEP that he would say which are the main obstacles: Awareness, accessibility and affordability.
“If we talk about awareness, we are meaning awareness of PrEP within the medical profession, awareness of PrEP as an option within the MSM and LGBTIQ+ community, and awareness of the need for sexual health services targeted to our community”, says Tom.
“Awareness within the medical profession is improving thanks to the work of Hivpoint, but it will always be limited to a certain point by the lack of cases doctors in your local health centre might have, which is why we need these targeted health services to make sure we are getting relevant information, testing and treatment to our community”, he will continue.
That leads on to the next point: accessibility. “With a lack of knowledge and awareness comes fear and suspicion, and this is stopping doctors prescribing PrEP. A regime that has been in use for over 8 years and has proven to cause dramatic drops in new HIV infections and because of the compulsory regular testing a drop in other STI’s. Accessibility is getting better and there are doctors out there who aren’t afraid to help the community, but again it has a way to go,” Tom finished.
And then the affordability of PrEP medication. “Once you manage to get a prescription and go to your local pharmacy, it will cost you over 2400 € for 3 months’ supply. If you go to Sweden it will cost you about 60€, in Germany, about 150€. Why the difference? Because the Finnish marketing court has, rather oddly, ruled against the EU marketing court to let Gilead keep one of the patents, and prevent generic versions entering the Finnish market. And until locally affordable medication is available, accessibility and awareness will always be hindered,” tells Tom.
Tom points out next steps for PrEP in Finland. “The biggest one is sorting out affordability. Once we can get affordable medication, the demand will grow as it truly becomes an option and will force both awareness and accessibility,” Tom put together his thoughts.
During last 2 years Tom has been cooperating also with Hivpoint’s Checkpoint services to develop STI testing and access for PrEP. He has brought ideas to Checkpoint’s sexual healthcare professionals and also he has been seen in many Hivpoint’s sexual health and PrEP promoting materials.
Tom has done sexual health promoting photoshoots for Hivpoint’s materials.
Hivpoint and Checkpoint services congratulate Tom and wish him awesome year as a Mr. Fetish Finland. Cooperation with Checkpoint staff continues and there is already plans for next steps how to improve sexual health and PrEP access together for our community.
Checkpoint express clinic offers STI tests once a month in Helsinki. Also kreatinine test available for PrEP users.