"Permission to be female, please"

Published 12, Sep, 2014

From HIV Negative Spouses, a blog for HIV negative women that have HIV positive spouses and would like support around this issue, comes this entry about the issues women who want to use PrEP face.

I'm going to apologize now for this post...it is a rant. It is me venting and processing...it is the reason I started this blog. To share my journey of venting and processing. So....

A few weeks back, I was part of a TwitterChat, and @HeatherBoerner asked me if I considered Pregnancy and PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) to be a feminist issue. I was quick to respond that no, I didn't see it that way...for me it was a personal issue.

Well you know what? I changed my mind.  It IS a feminist issue. And the more I think about it, the more angry and offended I become.

When I think back on this journey of trying to get pregnant, my lowest point was the day my primary care doctor told me she would not prescribe Truvada for me, because it was an "unethical" thing for her to do, nor would she continue to treat me as her patient if I engaged in such "risky" behavior.

I now understand part of why that was my lowest point...being shut out because I am a woman.  I knew my anger had to do with the injustice of it all, but I thought the injustice was because I was at the mercy of a system that requires one to have a lot of money to conceive in a way they perceived as "safe."  I thought it was a human issue, an elitist issue, an insurance issue, a medical issue.

But it was a feminist issue. I was not being prescribed Truvada because of the fact that I was using it to try to conceive. I was being judged for my sexual choices, my maternal calling, for my own decisions about my own body. That's a bunch of bullshit.

How different things would have been had I told that doctor I was just trying to stay negative. She probably would have prescribed it because she would have agreed with that logic.  Or, what if I told her I had sex with my husband and the condom broke? She probably would have prescribed it, because it would have been "unethical" for her NOT to give me Truvada.

What the hell?! Here I am trying to be open and honest, trying to lower my risks, asking for help to stay negative, asking for help to get pregnant...pretty much asking for permission to be female...and the door is slammed in my face! So rather than lowering my risks, she increased them. How "UNETHICAL" is that?

I am beginning to think that honesty may not always be the best policy when it comes to my choice of marrying my husband, and having a baby with him.  People have asked the weirdest and most personal questions, as if they have a right to ask about my sex life just because I've shared with them that my HIV+ husband and I had a baby. And I've let them.  I've answered those weird and personal questions because I didn't want them to feel awkward with a response of "That's personal" or "How is that relevant?"  And isn't that the feminist issue...giving away our power, or having that power stolen, and as females, always fighting for our equality?

How does being a woman determine how I can feel about something...how you can feel about me...or how you can treat me?

Ugh.  I could go on about this, but you get the picture right?

I am not a human-sized uterus. I am a human sized HUMAN.  

This article from “poprock” first appeared on HIV Negative Spouses here. More to come. . .