Are women prepared for HIV PrEP?

Published 05, May, 2017
Author // Guest Authors - Revolving Door

From KALW.org, Chloe Lessard: "some women and trans folks are wondering why a drug that could potentially save their lives hasn’t been aggressively promoted in their communities."

Are women prepared for HIV PrEP?

To read the complete article by Chloe Lessard, visit KALW.org, here.

Did you know that you can take a drug to reduce your risk of getting HIV? If you’re a gay man, you’ve probably heard of it. It’s a daily regimen called PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis. Maybe you’ve even seen ads for it on BART trains or clinic brochures, usually targeting men who sleep with other men. But PrEP doesn’t only benefit men, and some women and trans folks are wondering why a drug that could potentially save their lives hasn’t been aggressively promoted in their communities.

Tamia Green lives with her seven-year old daughter in West Oakland. “I give her medicine like everyday so that she won’t get sick. She has asthma, eczema, allergies, all types of stuff,” Green says, “And something just clicked – why can’t I do that for myself?” Green’s in a monogamous relationship and takes a pill called PrEP once a day to prevent HIV. She says it wasn’t a small matter to start taking it last September.

“It was a very big decision,” Green says, “For the simple fact that, you hear the stipulations of, they’re going to give you HIV, you’re going to die, you’re in this study, you’re part of an experiment – why would you do that? Something’s going to happen to you.” The history of unethical medical experimentation on African Americans can make pushing a new drug into the community challenging. People are suspicious. At the same time, among women, African Americans have the highest rates of HIV.

Green does community PrEP outreach. Basically, she talks to friends, family, and strangers about the drug. She thinks that women respond differently to PrEP than men. “Because when I talk to women, I think some women are shy. Some women don’t know how to approach the situation. Some people feel kind of like, do they have that right?” Green says.

PrEP contains Truvada, a drug also used to treat HIV. It can reduce the risk of contracting the disease from sex by 90 percent. But early on, it wasn’t entirely clear whether PrEP was as useful for females. The first PrEP study that showed the drug to be effective was published in 2010, but it focused solely on gay males. The studies on females didn’t come out until 2011 and 2012, and had mixed results.

To read the complete article by Chloe Lessard, visit KALW.org, here.

About the Author

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

Guest Authors - Revolving Door

The Revolving Door is the place where we publish occasional articles by guest writers. If you would like to submit an article for publication, please contact editor Bob Leahy at editor@positivelite.com