Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Five Minutes to PrEP: Even without Insurance, Getting the HIV Prevention Pill Takes Just Minutes

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Five Minutes to PrEP: Even without Insurance, Getting the HIV Prevention Pill Takes Just Minutes

Article excerpt

I LOVE SEX. And I'm unashamed to say I have a lot of it, and with various men and women, many of whom are HIV-positive. However, I only feel comfortable having sex with HIV-positive folks because I strictly adhere to my daily Truvada as PrEP regimen in addition to using condoms (as an additional layer of protection from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections). I would be way too nervous to have sex with a poz person, even with condoms, if I wasn't on PrEP.

But, I'm not perfect I get too drunk, I can't maintain my erection with a condom on, or I get lost in the heat of the moment and say, "Screw it Let's go raw!" Shit happens, and I'm not going to shame myself--or anyone else--who periodically goes condomless. We're all human.

Still, we want to do our best to mitigate risk. We also want to be fully immersed in the moment. There's nothing worse than losing your erection right as things are getting hot and heavy, because the thought enters your head that this could be the time you contract HIV.

This is why I take PrEP and have been doing so for over a year: So I can have this peace of mind. So I can be empowered sexually. So I can live my life without fear while dating and sleeping with people regardless of their status.

That's why I was devastated when I learned, after days of researching insurance plans, that I couldn't afford PrEP this year. I was sitting at my desk, taking deep breaths, attempting to calm myself down. Telling myself that I'll just have to be 100 percent on it with my condom use. Telling myself that my life won't change that drastically. Telling myself I'd be OK.

But I knew they were all lies. I know me. I make mistakes, and without PrEP, I wouldn't be able to have the unabashed sex life that I've grown accustomed to--and love. I also knew that I'd have to stop seeing a specific HIV-positive guy because I couldn't psychologically handle sleeping with him without PrEP.

But I didn't want to admit defeat. Staring at my laptop screen, I started considering other options. I suddenly remembered reading that Gilead Sciences--the pharmaceutical company that makes Truvada--has a patient assistance program.

I did a quick search, which took me to the Gilead Advancing Access Co-pay Program. …

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