Your Experience is a Gift

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Anon in WeHo - "Being on PrEP put the control in my hands."

I'll never know if being on PrEP prevented me from contracting HIV, but I'll always be grateful that I made the decision to start taking it.

by Anon, West Hollywood

Here is my PrEP experience.

I started taking Truvada about six months ago. I'm single for the first time in 13 years, and sexually active. I did a lot of research, through the internet, mostly through the "PrEP Facts" Facebook group. My general practitioner is also a specialist in the treatment and prevention of HIV, and was able to help me navigate through the information.

I've had virtually no side effects taking the drug. Some mild nausea, in the beginning. I've followed through with regular HIV testing, as well as kidney tests.

I've participated a great deal online in discussions involving PrEP, pushing back agains the "slut shamers" and conspiracy theorists who think its a bad idea.

I had no problems getting this covered by my insurance, and my out of pocket cost is nothing, because of the Gilead co-payment assistance program. I changed insurance providers in January (to United Healthcare), and had to order the drug through their specialty pharmacy. But this has been fairly easy, and it is always sent within 2 business days. It did require pre-authorization from my doctor and a little bit of red tape with the pharmacy to set this up.

About a month ago, I was on my first gay cruise. I went home with a couple who told me they were positive, but undetectable. We were all intoxicated. In the middle of it, I was being topped by one partner, when the other one looked down and told us both that he wasn't wearing a condom. We started with one, but it slipped off, and I didn't notice. We were having condom-less sex for about a minute. Maybe it wouldn't have happened if we were all sober. But this is an example of how things can happen (my first ever), and even a person who vows to use condoms 100% of the time could have an experience like this.

This gave me a level of anxiety the next morning, but I felt assured that everything would be OK because I decided to use PrEP. The couple both indicated that they were undetectable, but I never know who I can trust, or what to believe.

Being on PrEP put the control in my hands.

I waited the requisite three weeks and went in for a NAAT test, which came back negative.

I'll never know if being on PrEP prevented me from contracting HIV, but I'll always be grateful that I made the decision to start taking it.

 [EDITOR: If you have a personal PrEP experience you would like to share, send it to Words or video.]

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