What to Do If Your Provider Says 'No' to PrEP
October 6, 2016
PrEP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is a once-daily pill regimen that can help you stay HIV-negative. When taken as prescribed by a knowledgeable healthcare provider, PrEP has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective against contracting HIV.
But one in three healthcare providers has not even heard about PrEP, which means you could encounter some resistance if your clinician doesn't have all of the facts. Here are some common misconceptions you might hear from a PrEP-skeptical provider and ways to address them using information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s 2014 Clinical Practice Guidelines (you may even want to print out the guidelines and bring them with you to your PrEP consultation/appointment):
PROVIDER SAYS: "I'm not an HIV specialist. You need to see an infectious disease doctor."
PROVIDER SAYS: "PrEP is only for [this type of person], and you're not one of them."
YOU COULD SAY: "While that may have been the conventional wisdom at one point in time, the CDC says anyone at substantial risk for contracting HIV may be a good candidate for PrEP. Can I walk you through some of the reasons I think PrEP might be right for me?"
PROVIDER SAYS: "We don't know enough about the long-term effects of PrEP."
PROVIDER SAYS: "You don't need PrEP. Condoms works just fine."
PROVIDER SAYS: "There has not been a lot of research done on transgender people and PrEP, so I'm uncomfortable prescribing it to you."
PROVIDER SAYS: "PrEP is prohibitively expensive."
Seeking advice from a knowledgeable healthcare provider is crucial as PrEP may not be right for everyone. Entering the conversation with an open mind and the proper information will go a long way toward getting the care that you need. Be sure to check out our other resources on talking to your provider about PrEP, while keeping in mind that if your provider doesn't meet your needs, you're always free to find one who will. You can also contact Lambda Legal's Help Line if you continue having difficulty accessing PrEP.
This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Visit www.hrc.org/HIV for additional resources -- including HRC's What Do I Do? A Handbook to Understanding? Health & HIV.
This article was provided by Human Rights Campaign. Visit Human Rights Campaign's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
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