I finally got up the courage to seek PrEP in April 2013.
There's a lot of detail I'm going to spare you, but essentially in 2013 I moved to a different group practice in Austin, TX. I established care with a new Doc at the beginning of 2013. PrEP started to come into focus for me as I discussed it with friends and did a lot of research. I finally got up the courage to seek PrEP in April 2013.
I look back 11 months ago, and realize how difficult it was for me to do this. It was nearly on par with coming out to my family in 2005.
So I called to make an appointment with my new Doc and the nurse immediately shut it down, said I'd probably do better to find a specialist. I asked for a referral within the group, and was told they didn't have an HIV care specialist. Lovely.
The nurse did me a favor. I went back to my old group practice, researched their website and booked an appointment with a new Primary Care Physician, w/ HIV Speciality. One week later, sitting across from my new Doc, he looked at me and said "You're number 2"... meaning, I was the second to request PrEP. He began the discussion of all that was involved and quickly realized I'd done my homework. That was it, pending labs results, my Rx was written.
What prompted me to share this with you?
It's been nearly a year- and to my knowledge, my old group practice lost (first hand knowledge) 4 patients over denial of PrEP. Today I called the Administration office of my old group practice to share my story. Somehow the phrases "Issues regarding your Standard of Care" and "Possible Denial of Care" got my phone call forwarded to a very interested party on the other end of the line.
I was forgiving, and spoke highly of my previous Doctor. I framed this as a "missed opportunity" x 4 for very well established Clinic that prides itself in it's depth and breadth of services. The person taking down my information said the Medical Director will probably be calling me back.
So please, if you hit a road block, do what you can to get your doc in the loop.
[EDITOR: If you have a personal PrEP experience you would like to share, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Words or video.]