I sat in my medical supplier’s workplace on April twenty ninth, exasperated. I had known as upfront in regards to the objective of my appointment. In a couple of month I used to be touring to Senegal with Tastemakers Africa, a Black woman-owned journey firm to have a good time one in all my good friend’s life achievements and to fulfill somebody I’d been speaking to on-line for years. It had turned romantic within the final yr and I knew that I needed to have intercourse after a yr and a half hiatus. I’m over forty, we love one another, have the mutual need to conceive and know my organic clock is ticking. I knew that we’d doubtless have unprotected intercourse and I needed some assurances. I inquired with my supplier about Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the medicine that stops contracting HIV. I had learn from the Centers for Disease Control web site that “these medicines can work to keep the virus from establishing a permanent infection in populations at high risk by up to 92%” and that I wanted to take it for at least 20 days to be efficient. I knew that individuals in my demographic (assigned as Black girls) at beginning are one of many quickest rising populations of recent HIV infections as “more than 90% of women diagnosed with HIV in 2016 were Black and Latina. But surveys show only 21% of sexually active Black and Latina women know about PrEP, compared to 85% of gay and bisexual men.” Our suppliers have to know this and help us in getting the care we want.
My previous associate and I had final seen this nurse practitioner a yr and a half in the past when she confirmed our optimistic being pregnant take a look at. That relationship of six years ended dramatically and tragically after he spent Christmas with one other lady whereas I bled out that being pregnant within the emergency room on my own. He had advised me he was spending the vacation together with his mom, whom I’d taken per week off work and traveled to assist him look after by and after open coronary heart surgical procedure simply the month earlier than. I later discovered the girl he was with was additionally his girlfriend on and off of practically twenty years. We had all gone to the identical school. I assumed she was an ex. The miscarriage was the final straw for me after six years of confusion and emotional abuse, the sum of which landed me in twelve weeks of inpatient and outpatient trauma rehab. I defined to my supplier that his stage of disregard for me left me unable to ever belief mutual monogamy once more, regardless of how a lot I like somebody or consider that they love me. She nodded sympathetically and stated, “That’s completely understandable. The doctor and I take a conservative approach to PrEP. It’s not for you.”
I texted my good friend who had talked about being on PrEP. She advised me that there are actually advertisements on the perimeters of buses in NYC encouraging Black girls to take it.
I simply wish to thank #blackwomentwitter for educating me that after I go to the Dr. & request testing or medicine & they are saying no, ask them to doc refusal within the chart. I simply tried it & IT WORKED. Provider got here again & stated, “I’ve reconsidered” you already know your physique/life finest.💯
— yamani yansà hernandez (@yamaniyansa) April 29, 2019
I used to be shocked to listen to this from my supplier and requested to know extra. I stated, “Really? There’s a whole public health campaign in New York City for straight Black women to take PrEP.” She didn’t appear to know something about it and replied, “PrEP is not for straight women.” I used to be flustered. I remembered that I had seen somebody write on Twitter concerning the Black maternal mortality disaster to ask for medical suppliers to doc once they refuse drugs or therapy. I stated, “Are you denying me the medication?” She stated, “Yes.” I stated, “Can you please document that in my chart?” And she stated, “Yes, but it’ll take me a minute to write my notes.” I stated, “I’ll wait. You’ve made assumptions about my sexuality. I’ve been coming here for nearly ten years. I am not straight. Sex and gender do not determine my attractions.” She replied, “So you would have sex with a woman?” I stated, “I have, and would have sex with a person of any gender I choose.” She apologized and left the room. When she returned she stated, “You’ve made me reconsider. I didn’t mean to disregard your sexuality and I will write the prescription.” While I waited for her to put in writing it, I despatched my good friend a textual content and wrote a Tweet that may go viral earlier than speaking over the professionals and cons of the medicine.
“As we have done for generations, Black women taught me how to get what I need.”
The prescription alone didn't imply I obtained the medicine. I had one final hoop to leap by: cost. With “good insurance” the co-pay price of PrEP was $1K. I known as my insurance coverage firm as a result of I used to be positive it was some type of mistake. They knowledgeable me that it was no mistake however that the producer has a co-pay help program that pays for as much as $7K of the medicine per yr and it applies towards the insurance coverage deductible. I used to be capable of obtain the coupon for this on their web site and acquire the medicine with none private price. I discovered by this episode that almost each drug producer has an analogous co-pay help program and nobody ought to ever have issue paying for drugs.
I ran a youth sexual well being training and advocacy group for 4 years. I do know the stigma about intercourse and sexuality begins practically at beginning. There shouldn't be sufficient intercourse training and it's laborious for many individuals to speak about intercourse, what they like, what they do, what they want. I've tried to domesticate an area for honesty in my relationships as a result of I might a lot quite have conversations about what is de facto happening and have alternative and negotiation in it quite than be an unknowing and unwilling sufferer of lies and non-consensual publicity. I do know people who find themselves HIV optimistic and dwelling a wholesome life with the advances in medicine and that I might be a type of folks if I have been ever to turn into HIV optimistic. In the meantime, I really feel actually good about being on PrEP. It offers me some sense of management over my well being.
As we've achieved for generations, Black girls taught me how one can get what I would like.
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