Who Are You? And What Is PrEP?

Hello everybody and thank you for reading the very first entry in my blog, "Let's Talk About PrEP," a blog chronicling my experiences using Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. Through this blog I plan to cover several topics including: Why I chose to go on PrEP, The process of attaining PrEP, the stigma that goes along with being on PrEP, and my own personal journey as I use PrEP. I also would love for this blog to be a resource for others. I have decided to begin this blog right from the very start of my journey so I can create the most complete picture of the PrEP experience possible.

But this is day one, so let me start with a simple introduction to myself as well as an introduction to PrEP. My name is Phil Gill and I am currently an unemployed theatre person. I graduated in December of 2013 with an M.F.A. in directing. I live in St. Louis, Missouri with my partner and our beagle. I am the HIV negative part of a serodiscordant or magnetic relationship, where one member of the relationship is HIV negative and the other member is HIV positive. It is very important to me that the serodiscordance of our relationship is not the defining factor in our relationship. This is where PrEP, comes in for me.

PrEP is short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis. It is a medication that someone who is HIV negative can take to help prevent infection. The only drug that is approved for use as PrEP at this time is TRUVADA (tru-VAH-dah). Now TRUVADA is used with other antiviral medications to treat HIV positive patients, but has also been found to be effective in reducing the risk of getting HIV in men who have sex with men as well as heterosexual couples where one partner has HIV and the other does not. The medication guide continually states that TRUVADA does not cure HIV infections. For more information about TRUVADA as PrEP go to http://start.truvada.com/individual.

PLEASE NOTE: Nowhere in my introduction to myself does it at all say anything about me being a medical professional. I am not anything close to a medical professional, I've never even played doctor. I am simply a man who has decided to talk about his experience using PrEP in order to get the word out about it, to document my experiences and to potentially help out anyone who might be interested in learning more about PrEP. Odds are if you have medically specific questions, I'll direct you to a website or to your doctor. I might not have your answer, but i will try hard to guide you to someone who does.

Also know that since PrEP is designed to help prevent the spread of a sexually transmitted disease, there may be times my sex life is discussed. If you do not care to know about my sex life, this might not be the blog for you to read. I will try not to be too explicit and I will try to warn you if something like that is contained in a post.

So that's all I have for you right now, but please feel free to leave me feedback, what topics would you like me to discuss? Are you currently on PrEP? How is your experience with it?

Also please share this with anyone you think would be interested in this blog. Thanks for reading.

[Editor's note: This blog was originally written on Thursday, Dec. 26, 2013, Phil Gill's first day taking PrEP for HIV prevention.]

Read Phil's blog, Let's Talk About PrEP.