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Monday, August 12, 2013

From Personal to Professional: Alan Johnson writes about his PrEP experience

 by Alan Johnson, MPH, excerpt from Positively Aware's recent "Let's Talk about PrEP" issue  

"I attribute my high adherence rate to knowing that PrEP will only work if you take it. I always carry a few doses with me and my iPhone alarm always reminds me to take my medication."

Editors Note by Jeff Berry

I first heard about PrEP at a community meeting a couple of years ago, after it was shown to be an effective prevention method in human studies. I decided to look into PrEP further when the FDA approved the prescription drug Truvada as prevention for those who are at high risk for acquiring HIV. In yet another community meeting soon after FDA approval, I learned that some insurance companies were planning to cover most of the cost for treatment. I also learned that patient assistance programs from the maker of the drug, Gilead Sciences, have been extended to those taking Truvada as PrEP. 

Though I have a background in public health (primarily sexual health research and direct prevention and care services), I found that the more I heard about PrEP, the more questions I had.

If I was interested in actually taking PrEP, how would I afford it?

Was I even truly at “high risk” for acquiring HIV?

Would I have adverse reactions to the meds?

How would I overcome my internalized fear and the stigma associated with actually reaching the pharmacy counter and receiving the prescription?

What if someone I know sees the Truvada label laying around my apartment and Googles it?

Would they think that I was HIV-positive?

Read the rest here. 

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