Your Experience is a Gift

We feature real stories from people who have chosen to use PrEP as one way to protect themselves from HIV. If you have used or are using PrEP, we invite you to share your PrEP experience via audio, video, or in writing. Send video or audio links and/or text to myprepexperience@gmail.com and we will post them here. You can include your name, or you may contribute your story anonymously. This blog also contains helpful information on PrEP for users, potential users, and providers. Look for the links in the sidebar.

We have not heard of any insurance company or any Medicaid program outright denying coverage of Truvada as PrEP. Some companies and programs are requiring prior-authorization, however, which requires paperwork to be filled out. And the type of insurance coverage you have, including prescription drug benefits, will determine the cost to you as the consumer. To date, we have seen the biggest barrier to obtaining PrEP from providers who are unwilling to write a prescription.

If you have trouble getting a prescription for Truvada as PrEP from your provider, or getting a PrEP prescription covered by insurance or Medicaid, we are happy to troubleshoot with you. Send us an email to myprepexperience@gmail.com.

Monday, December 1, 2014

NEW RESOURCE - Learn About PrEP Coverage on the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace

Check out this fantastic new resource - "PrEP Coverage on the Illinois Health Insurance Marketplace" published by AIDS Foundation of Chicago - home to My PrEP Experience.

The document summarizes the monthly out of pocket cost a person can expect to pay for Truvada under each of the plans on the Illinois health insurance marketplace.

To learn more about the marketplace and health coverage, get started at www.GetCoveredIllinois.com.

Chicago doctor: "I don't always use condoms. And I don't always top. I will not give this up."

I have  a few young guys who need me, who engage me, and it feels so wonderful to be alive now.


via Chicago doctor

I am a 51 year old HIV negative gay infectious disease physician. 

When I began having sex at 19, I bottomed bare from the start with a few guys.  Then at 21 (in 1984), in one of my med school classes, the lecturer said that the development of an HIV test had allowed researchers to discover that for every one AIDS case in New York there were 100 infected.  I suddenly realized that there were more than 3 cases in Michigan, and that the bathroom stall at Mason Hall was not a good idea any more. 

So I tried to marry a guy, as I was kind of like that anyways.  That went 3 years.  Then I got dumped.  I tried Catholic celibacy for a year, then started going to bathhouses twice weekly to watch other guys fuck, but I was too frightened to do anything but oral. 

At work, I watched crop after crop of patients my age die.  Shocking horrible deaths.  Old college crushes one by one were memorialized, and then slowly forgotten   I went to therapists to try to control my behavior.  It worked well enough. 

I tried to marry a guy again at 30.  At 34, I found him crying in the bedroom, having just got his HIV diagnosis that day.  So, I learned we were not actually monogamous, and my escape-the-epidemic strategy had failed.  But it hadn't.  He had made me a top, and I was OK--negative despite the worst sore throat ever that week.  I helped get  him to an  undetectable viral load, took him to my best friend colleague, who put him on crixivan, zidovudine and lamivudine.  He is healthy, and with me, now for 21 years. 

Since I was 35, I have not used a condom when I fuck him, and he has never had a detectable viral load.   I let him come in my mouth, because I want that.  But we stopped having sex when I was 48.  I don't know why.  We love each other.  He is my mate in life.  He bakes me raisin bread, washes my clothes, lies beside me sleeping when I come back at midnight from hospital rounds. 

When I was 48, I saw the "monkey PrEP" data.  I began taking Truvada then, on my own. I took a half pill every day.  I did not tell my internist.  She refers patients to me, and is like a second mother.  I got labs for my cholesterol.  I took  leftover meds that had been returned, as there was always enough, because I take care of hundreds of HIV patients.

I discovered the internet at 49, and Grindr at 50.  I have more sex now than when I was 19.  I have  a few young guys who need me, who engage me, and it feels so wonderful to be alive now.  I don't always use condoms.  And I don't always top.  I will not give this up. 

Each of these relationships (ok some of them are, at best, encounters) makes me feel something-- vital.  I can't suppress these needs through work any more.  I am now officially on PrEP.  I am still negative.  I so hope the miracle of 2012 (when the FDA approved Truvada as PrEP) will save me, just like the miracle of 1996 saved the last few of my college friends. 

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pozilady - "Since knowing about PrEP, I have been able to help my son's father remain healthy"

by Pozilady
Washington, DC

I am in my mid 30's and have been diagnosed since I was 18. I've been undetectable for many years now. I've had quite a few relationships since my diagnosis. Some rejections as well due to my status, but my disclosure allowed me and those individuals to remain very close friends with an insurmountable amount of respect for one another.

Nevertheless,  the delight of my story is I have birthed a son who is over a year old now and HIV negative.  His father remains negative as well due to Truvada! (And prayer!!!)

Originally,  we used Truvada for him as post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) due to a failed condom,  but as our relationship grew stronger we mutually decided to PLAN to have our miracle child. See, my "Inf. Disease" doctor would always encourage me to have a child, stating "you are healthy,  what are you waiting for?" So, my partner and I talked it over with my OB/Gyn doctor and asked his advise on what to do in case of a mishap and/or when trying to conceive.  They both led us to Truvada.

Since knowing about PrEP, I have been able to help my son's father remain healthy,  it's is absolutely wonderful for many reasons.  It decreases the burden of possible guilt should one become negative on a count of me. Also, if we decided not to stay together as a couple we both could move on with our lives, and not feel forced to stay together because of a status.

Disclosure is hard, but it is a MUST. Having knowledge of your status, regular doctors visits and labs, keeping up with your numbers, staying on your meds and finally educating your partner is empowering!

 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

VIDEO: "Love somebody" - Dakota is back with a vid on his first PrEP day

[Read Dakota's blog from yesterday - Alabama firefighter, paramedic and "pitcher" goes on PrEP.]

In the video, Dakota talks about all kinds of stuff regarding this first day on PrEP. Including having a rather "invasive" checkup before hand - with swabs going in all kinds of orifices. He complains about awful PowerPoints used for patient education. (can we get an AMEN?)  And he talks about how he has always made decisions that were appropriate to him and his life - not paying heed to the judgments of others.

Thanks for sharing Dakota! We look forward to following your journey ;)

video

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Alabama firefighter, paramedic and "pitcher" goes on PrEP

by Dakota
Birmingham, Alabama
(with a shout out to the UAB 1917 clinic

I have often felt that I am missing the opportunity to have a full sex life and "catch" when the time is right.


About 2 years ago I started hearing about PrEP. I only gave it passing interest. As a health care provider (I'm a firefighter and paramedic), I was educated on PeP and even had to go through a course following a needle stick.

But for some reason didn't look into PrEP very much.

Recently I began thinking about it and finally made an educational appointment to learn more. After about an hour and half with a health educator I found out that my insurance does cover it and it's really not even very expensive. I have my first clinic appointment in a few days to be tested for HIV and will go to a group education session and then see a provider to get my prescription.

I'm really looking forward to the security this will provide. Candidly I will admit that I do not use condoms. As a "pitcher" I've always considered it a safer practice but have often felt that I am missing the opportunity to have a full sex life and "catch" when the time is right.

My decisions about condoms are personal and appropriate to myself, I make no apologies for my decisions and I respect opposing decisions. PrEP makes it possible to still have a layer of protection without the layer of latex.

I'm also looking forward to being able to help spread education about PrEP. I hope that everyone can find a strategy that works best for them.

 

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