About two weeks ago, I went to an appointment to see about getting a prescription for PrEP. I kept putting it off, thinking that if more time went by, I would become comfortable with the idea of unprotected sex to conceive without PrEP. But I couldn't get comfortable with it, so to the appointment I went.
I was scared that I'd have another experience of the doctor refusing to prescribe it, and then hurling ignorant judgmental statements at me for even considering having unprotected sex with my husband...PrEP or no PrEP. But if we want to have another baby, then I'd just have to deal with whatever came up at the appointment. So, I called and the woman who answered seemed a bit rushed...I told her I'd like to make an appointment with the Dr. She asked what was the nature of my wanting an appointment. I said, "I'd like to get a prescription for PrEP."
Suddenly I was aware of my pounding heartbeat, and held breath, waiting for her response. She said, "Oh, you can see the Physician's Assistant (PA) for that, we can get you in sooner that way." Oh my goodness. The relief. The acceptance. The lack of judgement.
As the appointment date drew closer, I began to have a fear that I would seem out of place in the waiting room. You see, this doctor treats many HIV (and non-HIV) patients in the Castro District of San Francisco. I thought I'd be sitting in a room full of burly men with large mustaches, tight leather pants and studded black boots. And they'd all look at little ole' me and wonder what in the hell I was doing there.
But, the patients in the waiting room all looked "normal." And I realized...how judgmental of me! What is "normal" anyway?
Needless to say, the PA ordered some blood work and then told me if all is normal on the blood work, she will send the prescription electronically to my pharmacy. She made sure I knew to take it every day, get blood work done every three months, and to be aware of side effects.
As I walked out of the office, I felt relieved that it went so well, and once again realized that the fight to have a baby with my husband was behind me...
This article previously appeared in Poppy’s own blog HIV Negative Spouses here.