Don't Forget Your Pill
One of the most frustrating things can be missing your PrEP and having someone call you out on it. During my PrEP visits the common question I get asked every time I see the doctor is, “How many times did you miss?” So at this question, I always cringe while having to think if I skipped a day.
Feeling embarrassed about missing PrEP
I also worry about the look on their face as I am thinking about the answer to this question. I totally don't want to lie, but I do feel extra embarrassed when I have to report that I had a rough week and wasn’t completely adherent.
Combine that with a period of having sexual activity and that visit to the doctors' office can be a scary thing. I know that before I receive my new PrEP prescription that they are going to run an HIV test. It brings me back to that feeling in school when you’re waiting for your grade. Except, in this case, not passing this test could change my life forever.
Setbacks with PrEP adherence
Navigating these moments of fear and disappointment can add a bit of a set back to my day. It’s an accountability thing. I want to be compliant and I recognize that life happens. So I guess I need to try harder to maintain consistency.
On the flip side, I need to also be kind to myself in the process and know that this is far from the end of the world. I sometimes lean on friends to cheer me up. Other times, I dive into work or my music to take my mind off of it. When I don’t meet my own expectations it hurts, but it also motivates me.
Managing setbacks with PrEP
I first have to stop focusing on what I haven’t done so intensely. I think it is okay to be upset. My problem is that I stay upset and focus on my shortcomings. Sometimes this can get in the way of me making progress toward consistency.
The reality of the situation is that I missed one pill that day. It also means that I have another day to prove to myself I can be consistent. There is always another day, another moment to live and be better for myself and for my health.
Be encouraged to move on and be better
I know my body the best and I have a high standard of health for myself. But sometimes, I still have to humble myself and realize when I have slipped a little and find a path forward. I have to realize there is always a path forward from any situation that I put myself in. Sometimes it takes extra effort to kick the funk and move on. Who wants to stay in a funk anyway, especially over just one part of my whole life.
By moving past this initial moment of disappointment, I have an opportunity to recommit to living a happy life. My goal is to go into the doctor’s office as an expert on my body and my sexual behavior. PrEP is a tool that helps me do this.
Let me know your experiences with PrEP so far? What are some of your biggest challenges? Thanks for reading!
At what age were you diagnosed with HIV?