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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Learning Lessons and Taking Action to Keep Myself Safe - Jermaine Brooks on PrEP

by Jermaine Brooks, via Positively Aware's recent "Let's Talk about PrEP" issue 

What would life be like if we didn’t make mistakes?

Many of us try to map out our lives in hopes that things will go according to plan. The truth is that no matter how hard we try, there will always be something that catches us by surprise. A surprise is what actually started my journey with PrEP.

It was 2009, I had just started college and was living on my own for the first time. So as not to get too personal, let’s just say that it was a time of “finding myself” and much sexual exploration. Things were going pretty well for me and, for the most part, I would say that I was growing into a responsible young man (especially compared to what some of my peers were doing). But no one is perfect, and occasional slip-ups with condoms led to an “STI scare” that completely changed everything for me.

I share everything with my uncle, Keith Green (well…almost everything). At the time, he was working on a study about PrEP at the county hospital. When I told him about my scare, he suggested that I consider taking part in the study.

"Just weighing the options can teach one how to relate to their body and treat it with respect."

Of course I had many questions about how this actually worked and if I would be in any danger if I did start taking the drug. My uncle told me what he knew about PrEP, all of the benefits and potential challenges, and suggested that I speak with the study nurses for more information. That led to even more questions!

Mildly apprehensive but very intrigued, I decided to enroll in the study and to continue to educate myself about PrEP in the process. When I first started, they were still testing the drug and some people were actually placed on a placebo. But I knew from the very beginning that I was actually receiving the real thing.

 Read the rest here.

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