Your Experience is a Gift

For questions about PrEP in general, and for a Chicago/Illinois specific provider listing, visit

Monday, July 29, 2013

PrEP Demo Project for Black Men Who Have Sex With Men - LEARN MORE

Today, after a great deal of advocacy, planning, and preparation, the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) has begun the process of screening men for potential enrollment in the landmark study, HPTN 073. 

HPTN 073 is a demonstration study evaluating pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) Initiation and adherence among HIV negative Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) at three of the HPTN’s United States research sites.

Men in the Chapel Hill, NC area will be enrolled through the University of North Carolina (UNC), in Los Angeles, CA through the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and in Washington, DC through the George Washington University (GWU).   


Twitter Chat and Webinar August 14

There is a Twitter chat scheduled for Wednesday, August 14, 2013 to learn more. The event will start at 1PM ET with the chat hosted on HPTN’s @HIVptn Twitter page. That same day, at 2PM ET, there will be a webinar on this topic as well. Register for this free webinar here.

Watch a short video about HPTN 073 here.

You can also read the fact sheet on HPTN 073 embedded below.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

(Part One) Can gay men involved in HIV work ever imagine using PrEP?

via Positive Lite, by Marc-André LeBlanc

"Past, present and future! In the past, going through particular 'slutty' phases, serodiscordant relationships, and 'party' phases could definitely been safer with the addition of PrEP. The anxiety of near misses and testing around those periods would also have been toned down substantially. Presently, and moving forward I am considering PrEP as another tool in my arsenal of safety that will also take away from testing anxiety in the future, especially if I partake in occasional high risk activities."

In this article, I focus on whether gay men involved in HIV could ever imagine using PrEP. In my next article, I will focus on their concerns and hopes for PrEP. This article presents gay men’s opinions about PrEP. It does not claim to present facts about PrEP. As such, factual errors might be included in the opinions expressed, so check out the resources listed at the end of the article for more information about PrEP.

These are all gay men that I know, so they are mostly from Canada. Many people would have different answers, I imagine—gay men in other countries, gay men who are not involved in HIV, and people other than gay men. But since the guys I asked are more likely than most to know about PrEP, I was curious to know their thoughts.

I was quite amazed at the response—half of the 60 people I approached responded to my brief three question online survey, including 17 HIV-negative guys and 13 HIV-positive guys. I told them they could respond anonymously or let me know that they had responded to the survey. Among the 30 guys who responded, 19 agreed to have their names mentioned (see below). I have no way of knowing who wrote what unless they included identifying information, which in any case I have removed from this article.

Originally, I had grandiose plans of distilling their thoughts, outlining the key themes that emerged, and using a couple of quotes here and there to illustrate those themes. However, my plans changed once I read the responses. These guys were so articulate; I decided the best approach was to let them tell their stories in their own words. So this article is almost entirely made up of quotes. As far as I’m concerned, it reads like a storybook read to me by 30 guys I love and admire very much. I hope you agree.


Here is what I asked, and how guys responded.

My question to HIV-positive guys: “If PrEP had been available when you were HIV-negative, do you think you would have taken it? Why? Why not?”
The guys who responded were evenly split—half said yes, half said no. A couple of guys didn’t know. In fact, a few guys said that thinking back, it was really hard to know whether or not they would have taken PrEP.
“Yes. It could have prevented me from becoming infected.”
“Probably yes, given some of the risky sex I was having at different periods in my life.” 
“Since this was [over 20] years ago, I'm not sure. I was very successful with condom use at the time so I think it was a very different environment. If you changed the situation to today, I think (to the extent any long term survivor can imagine being HIV-negative) that I would use Truvada for PrEP periodically.”
“It is hard to look back and think ‘Oh, I would have done X or Y.’ How does anyone REALLY know? I would LIKE to think I would have considered it, especially since the time I seroconverted was in the context of a relationship where/when we stopped using condoms. We never discussed the fact that the condoms ‘disappeared’, but having had PrEP available, AND on my radar, it may have appealed to me—or at least gotten me thinking more about the absence of condoms from my sexual behaviour.”

Read the rest.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Page - "Truvada Track" monitors insurance and Medicaid coverage of Truvada for PrEP

My PrEP Experience is pleased to launch a new informational resource called "Truvada Track - monitoring insurance and Medicaid coverage of Truvada for PrEP."
This page - accessible via tab at the top of this blog -  monitors insurance and Medicaid coverage of Truvada as PrEP . It will be updated frequently. The most current update is always at the top. If you have information about insurance of Medicaid coverage of Truvada for PrEP - including pre-authorization requirements or denials - please share this information with us by sending an email to

Here is our first update.

July 1, 2013 update

Letter from United Healthcare regarding pre-authorization requirements for Truvada as PrEP.

Pre-authorization requirements for Truvada as PrEP from United Healthcare.
• United Healthcare (commercial insurance): Prior authorization required, consistent with indication on label, triggered when Truvada is prescribed without a third agent or in the absence of code for HIV infection (see pictures above)
• Aetna (commercial insurance): Prior authorization required, consistent with indication on label, triggered when Truvada is prescribed without a third agent or in the absence of code for HIV infection
• Florida Medicaid: Prior authorization required, consistent with indication on label, triggered when Truvada is prescribed without a third agent or in the absence of code for HIV infection
• New York Medicaid: Prior authorization requires documented HIV- test result; triggered when Truvada is prescribed without a third agent or in the absence of code for HIV infection
• Catamaran (pharmacy benefit management – select clients only): As of 6/25/13 – reports from health care providers of prior authorization impacting new starts on Truvada to confirm diagnosis (treatment vs. PrEP). Appears to allow PrEP use when consistent with label.


  • Up to July 1, we have not heard of denials of coverage. But pre-authorization requirements, many of which are just starting on July 1, could potentially lead to denial of coverage for Truvada as PrEP. 
  • "Without a third agent" - Truvada is a combination of  2 drugs, and appropriate treatment for people living with HIV consists of 3 or more drugs. So, when Truvada is prescribed and a third "agent" is not, this signals that Truvada is being prescribed as PrEP.
  • United Healthcare is the largest insurer in the U.S., and we understand that approximately 300 of their members (out of a total in the millions) are currently taking Truvada without a third agent. A very, very small percentage of HIV-negative people for whom they provide insurance.

Questions, concerns, or clarifications - send email to


#TruvadaWhore (2) access (2) advocacy (6) Affordable Care Act (2) AIDS Foundation of Chicago (4) Alan Johnson (1) antiretroviral therapy (10) Atlanta (1) AVAC (1) ball (1) Bangkok (1) Bangkok Tenofovir Study (1) bareback (2) billing codes (1) black gay men (13) black MSM (2) bottom (1) ButtaFlySouL (3) Canada (7) Cape Town (1) CDC (6) Center on Halsted (8) Chicago (18) clinical (2) clinical trial (2) clinician (2) co-pay (4) community forum (7) control (1) CORE Center (1) CROI 2015 (1) Damon L. Jacobs (3) David Dodd (6) demonstration project (1) Derek Brocklehurst (1) doctor (14) drug coverage (3) gay (44) Gilead (9) Give Out Day (1) guidance (2) Gustavo Varela (1) health insurance (24) heterosexual (5) HIV (16) HIV prevention (112) HIV-negative (45) HPTN (1) IDU (1) Illinois (1) injectable PrEP (1) injection drug use (1) Ipergay (1) iPrEx (6) Japan (1) Jared Baeten (1) Jean-Michel Molina (1) Jim Pickett (1) Ken Like Barbie (9) Len Tooley (3) Los Angeles (4) Magpie Suddenly (1) maraviroc (1) Marc-Andre LeBlanc (4) Mark Hubbard (1) Medicaid (1) Mitchell Warren (1) My PrEP Experience (49) Myron Cohen (1) Nashville (1) Next-PrEP (2) Nick Literski (1) Obamacare (2) porn (1) Positively Aware (4) PowerPoint (3) pre-exposure prophylaxis (106) pregnancy (4) PrEP (122) PrEPception (4) prescription (11) Project Inform (3) Project PrEPare (3) Project RSP (7) protection (1) PROUD (1) provider (2) raw sex (1) Raw Sex Just Got Safer (2) receptive (1) relationships (15) research (14) safer sex (89) San Francisco (5) sex (12) sexual health (25) Simon Collins (1) Singapore (2) South Africa (1) Spanish (1) stigma (3) Sybil Hosek (2) talk show (1) tenofovir (1) Tokyo (1) training (2) Truvada (99) Truvada Track (1) USCA2014 (1) video (24)