HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Online Course at Coursera Review. Day 5 of 42.
On this day, the lecture was held in the form of a dialogue on the topic “Why did I decide to take PrEP?” between two guys — Shima and Yusuf. Below is the translation of the dialogue with a few abbreviations.
“How did you first heard about PrEP?”, Shima asks.
“I was first introduced to the word PrEP through Jack’d, — a mobile online dating application for gays. I noticed that many people with whom I communicated through the application wrote that they were on PrEP and even were putting on their profile that they were PrEP users. It was about three or four years ago. Then I roughly realized that PrEP, it’s something about HIV care, but that was my first introduction to it. ”
“Cool,” — answers Shima, — “so at one point did you think, maybe this is something I would be interested in?”
“Let me say I was 19 or 20; going onto my sophomore year in college. And so far in the United States, PrEP was seen as something new for LGBT people, for men who have sex with men (MSM). A few years ago PrEP perceived as a peculiar originality. At that time I had a boyfriend, he was my first boyfriend and was a little older than me. The beginning of our relationship was magnificent, but over time, I began to notice that his health was not perfect. He was kind of always in and out of the hospital. But he wasn’t always kind of truthful about it, which was no issue. But I did not consider this a problem because at this age you do not think about HIV. ”
“But you know that this is not so,” Yusuf complained.
“You think that you are invincible. That you will not be affected by HIV.”
“Towards the end of our relationship, one story happened. He again got to the hospital, I ran into one of his friends, and they told me. I was waiting for him at the club, and my friends told me that my friend was in the hospital. From the club, I immediately went to him, got to the nurse department, and accidentally saw his medical history. I should not have done this, but I looked it — there was a diagnosis.”
“Yes, AIDS. Just imagine, I was still very young and did not fully realize what I see. I knew that something appalling was happening. As for me, too. My boyfriend slept, and I did not want to wake him up to ask questions. Friends who came to the hospital with me urged me to go to the emergency and take an HIV test. I did not do the test that night and did not try to talk to my boyfriend about what I saw because I saw something that I should not have seen. ”
“Yes, but this experience has given me an understanding that I’m vulnerable and that HIV and AIDS can hit everyone. From the outside, you can never understand this; my boyfriend looked healthy. It took me a while to decide, but in the end, I still passed the HIV test, despite the fact that I was frightened, as most of us are afraid. Before the test, I prepared for a long time; it took a lot of mental preparation for me to get tested. And even the providers that I got tested at my college, the University that I was going to at that time. And I feel that they understood and they knew my anxiousness, and they gave me all the information that I needed before the testing, which was great. It made me feel a lot more comfortable. The test result was negative. The medical specialist was an outreach worker, and she noticed that there is a PrEP. My mind works so that as soon as I hear something new, I start to study the question. So I learned what PrEP is and even learned that my insurance company has programs for PrEP and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). At that time, PrEP was still a whole new practice, and the program was provided by the Kaiser Foundation, offering free STI treatment if you perform PrEP. So I started PrEP, and this continues until now, I’m doing a lot of PrEP advocacy and outreach. Recently, many new programs have appeared in various US medical institutions, and all of them offer PrEP programs that support people’s adherence to taking drugs during PrEP, to visit the therapist once every three months. The incentives for participants in such programs are always different.And so that right there was one. I don’t have to pay copays for my insurance because I am on PrEP with them.”
“Yes, but it does not always happen. Incentives are different everywhere. But the main impetus that moved me — the understanding that many of my friends died of AIDS, I have a lot of friends and a lot of people that are close to me that are HIV infected. Therefore, this is a serious thing, people do lose their lives, and it’s unfortunate because it’s unnecessary for especially youth. So if you do not have HIV, taking one tablet a day can protect you from HIV. ”
“Yes, for sure,” Shima assists.
“Or I can choose the path of risky behavior, get HIV and be forced to take all the same pills throughout my life, and if I don’t, it could lead to untimely death. Therefore, my decision is to take PrEP. I accept PrEP for about two years, during this time I took a short break. And the practice of pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis has become part of my life; it’s part of me. ”
“It is precious that you share your story! Probably, many people have a similar experience,” Shim summed up.
This was a Yusuf’ personal experience of starting pre-exposure HIV prophylaxis. If you have any questions, ask them in the course forum. Thank you for your participation and thank you, Yusuf!"
We will join the recommendation of Shima to ask questions — if you have any, feel free to sign up for an online course PrEParing at https://www.coursera.org/learn/prep and ask questions on the forum!
Stay with us, tomorrow we will sum up the results of the first week and will prepare for the test of the first week.