Spreading the Word: PrEP Is Right for Me
I remember seeing billboards about PrEP, and underneath, it said HIV. It was misleading; I didn't realize it was for negative people. Then I remember taking a survey asking me did I know what PrEP was, and now I can admit, I had no clue what it was for. Now I know it can help me to not get HIV. I must say, in the beginning, I was scared and nervous about PrEP. Now I'm confident and assured that this is right for me, and others as well. I know and believe that someone has felt the same as me, or is feeling the same as me, and now, the more information I can share, the more I can help spread the word about PrEP, the better.
As of this morning, I'm now on PrEP. So this is day one for me. In the beginning of my process, I was not taking PrEP. I went through the thought process of, if I'm going to be sharing information with different communities, I felt I should be on the product. I'm a firm believer in "practice what you preach." Yesterday, my doctor called me and gave me the OK to take PrEP, so as of today at 6:44 a.m., I am a PrEP user.
One of the main reasons I'm using PrEP now is about prevention: I believe in preventive care. If I can do something to better protect myself, then I should take that opportunity. I love life, and I want to live life to the fullest. I really heard about PrEP when I went to take a survey. In the survey, they asked me a lot of questions and wanted my candid, honest opinion. I gave it to them, I was real and honest. Then, at the end of the survey, I found out what PrEP is really all about. I got offered to be able to take it for 14 months for free at Lifelong in Oakland.
I went through the process of blood work appointments for the next month, and that's about it. I am now an official PrEP user. I feel that PrEP is very beneficial and safe. I'm ready and able to spread the word and to hopefully educate more people about it.
I feel that, in this day and age we live in, a lot of people don't know their status or are afraid to know. I'm a person who would rather know than not know. See, the fear I have of getting HIV, I'm sure a lot of people have it as well. PrEP can help take away the fear, because it protects against HIV.
But if you have HIV or AIDS, it's not a death sentence anymore. A lot of people are living healthy, productive lives with the illness. They are thriving. I feel that the more people can accept and really know about it, that will help more people in the future to understand it and not be afraid. It's 2016. Something has to change, in order for a shift to occur and I'm going to play a part in the shift to help educate and get the word out about PrEP. I hope that what I say and share can be useful.
Tamia Green is 35 years old. She has one child, two dogs, one cat, one rabbit, and one leopard gecko. She lives in Oakland, CA. She chooses to use PrEP because she will be talking to the community about it and she believes in preventive care.