I have a gay doctor. I came in with the face of shame, and he immediately reassured me, and said, we all make mistakes, I have before, and you're going to do what I did, and go through PeP treatment.
Before I know it, I'm at the pharmacy. The Doctor had written PeP on my prescriptions. The pharmacy said it would take two hours to fill- I did like my Doctor said and showed them the word PeP on it and all the sudden they told me it would be ready in 15 minutes.
I took my first dose of Truvada and Isentress before 24 hours of exposure had passed.
Baseline bloodwork has already come back - everything looks good. Taking these drugs has given me a new respect for people who must take them everyday for the rest of their life, of which I hope to NOT become one.
The first week was nasty, my stomach was bloated and all upset and my body generally just felt ran-down. After a week, those side effects have mostly subsided, of which I am very thankful. I've been on treatment for two weeks and am proud to say I have not missed a dose.
I feel extremely lucky. Lucky that I had good friends who insisted that I go to the Doctor. That I have a Doctor who is gay, knew what PeP was, did not judge me, but empathized, and put me on a course of treatment immediately. That I had a Doctor who knew the Pharmacy well enough to get me bumped to the front of the line, all by putting PeP on the script.
I wonder what would have happened if I had of gone to a doctor in a rural area. Would they have known the appropriate course of treatment? Would they have given it to me?
I have two more weeks of these drugs to take. Then get tested in the following month. I am very hopeful that things will work out for the better- that I will remain HIV-negative. The experience has taught me that I need to value myself more, and not allow myself to be put into dangerous situations, out of depression and self-hate. It has taught me that I love myself enough to protect myself, no matter what the other guy says.
It has also taught me that these HIV-drugs are no panacea. They side effects suck and they definitely change your quality of life. I have so much more respect for people that are HIV-positive. I've sometimes thought, what is the big deal if I become positive, I'll just pop a couple of pills a day. Well, it is a big fucking deal.
I feel blessed that I live in a time where PeP is known about and available. Every gay man living has made a mistake when it comes to sex. I'm just glad there is an option now to hopefully make those inevitable mistakes that will happen, a thing that you can learn from, and not something that will plague you for the rest of your life.
In all my relations.
What say you, Projectors? Are HIV-negative men worthy of praise as brave, or not? Does it take courage to maintain an HIV-negative status, or not?