Jumping Off the PrEP Wagon
I got to admit: I have been through the “let’s tell the doctor a little lie about my usage of PrEP” phase. When you’ve been taking it for a long time, you are going to have moments when you don’t want to take the pill. In my life, the biggest reason for not taking PrEP is when I am not engaged with anyone in sex for a long period. We’ve all gone through that dry spell whether we are single or in relationships. The wintertime for me is that moment.
Starting the conversation about my PrEP use
Looking back, those months of going to the doctor’s office and not being completely honest about my usage of PrEP was dumb. I felt like I was in the principle’s office or something. I felt really bad and disappointed in myself. I wanted to hide. At one of my check-in visits, I decided to come clean.
Shame in the doctor's office
I spilled my guts out to the registered nurse. I admitted to myself and her that I had not been taking my medication as recommended. She talked to me about how important it is to take Truvada every day in order for it to be effective. They mentioned the risks and the benefits I knew very well. I initially held my head down in shame as she lectured me. I then got the courage to simply say, “I’m not really having sex right now.”
My seasonal use of PrEP
This changed the whole conversation. It opened up a new avenue of thought that I had never heard before. She reassured me that if you aren’t engaged in sex for an extended ‘season’, you don’t have to continue to be on PrEP. She reminded me that if I just communicate that my risk factors are low, then you can stop taking PrEP when you don’t need too.
PrEP use based on risk factors
This brought a sense of relief to me because I truly wasn’t feeling into the sex mojo for the last couple of months. So I stop taking PrEP up until the summer hits. Summer is that time of exploration and adventure. People are out and about and I love to meet new people and form new relationships. I had a conversation with myself and I knew that it was time to get back on the wagon.
Back on the PrEP wagon
I made an appointment with my doctor and we got back on the medication. Now the lecture I got this time was simply this: it takes seven days of consistent medication-taking before the level of PrEP in your blood will provide you protection. They reminded me to wrap it up and use more caution until I'm back on my daily regimen.
Seasonal use is practical for my lifestyle
Knowing that I can use PrEP seasonally made it more practical for me and my lifestyle. I prefer medications to have purpose while I am taking them. And when I am more socially flirty, I know PrEP serves a great purpose to keeping me healthy.
How often do you explain U=U to others?